It’s getting dark earlier every day…

It’s been fascinating watching the economic crisis (why is this always the proffered term?) and realizing how abstract the superstructural/specific components of global finance have become. I’ve been obsessively reading up on all of this- with a kind of crazed glint in my eye- and while I seem to think I get it- my general understanding is no where near a 1-1 mapping of what the fuck is really going on.

Lebbeus Woods, Lower Manhattan, 1999


[image: Lebbeus Woods, Lower Manhattan, 1999]

Trickle down economics didn’t work so well on the ascent- but we sure will be joining everyone on the ride down.

Back to Crisis- it comes from the Greek ‘krisis’ – a “turning point in a disease”- which seems perfect the more one explores the viral and ever adapting state of capitalism- with its imperative of growth and profit and ability to sneak into every corner of life with more oozing dripping efficiency then even traditional state-power.

One of the best pieces of media I’ve consumed dealing with any of the above is Naomi Klein’s recent speech at the University of Chicago – which was broadcast by the often annoying as hell, but sometimes amazing Democracy Now- you can watch the video at the DN Website.

I had the honor of hearing Naomi speak in Austin on Sunday- and she was one of the most powerful, informed speakers I have ever seen.

Here is the mp3 of her University Of Chicago lecture


I listened to this late one night mixed with Flying Lo‘s latest on Warp- Los Angeles– It was perfect and beautiful, but im sure some other glitchy idmy shit would work just as well…….

[image: artist unknown, class warfare]


  1. YOW! Great post Tally, I LOVE that Lebbeus Woods image. He is an absolute genius. Naomi Klein is great too, and a smart nice lady, I had the opportunity to see her once and was also very
    impressed. And she’s only a little older than me, which is scary, in a good way.

    Class warfare indeed. I watched the recent prez debate and McCain starts going going on and on about ‘spreading the wealth’ and ‘class warfare’ and I was thinking YEAH!

    Broke people, let’s get it.

  2. Naomi Klein is right to draw attention to the influence of Milton Friedman’s theories on The State of the World. I can definitely say that, thanks in large part to him, economists have taken over the social sciences and you can’t really get published in academic journals if you don’t pretend to include some element of his worldview.

    Have y’all seen that Adam Curtis documentary for the BBC called The Trap ? It’s really good! Not that that’s a surprise, but it does a lot to expand on Klein’s criticism of Friedman, and shows how the concept of freedom drawn up in the Ivory Tower has pushed societies towards an alienating type of freedom in which we are individualized points on a line being fucked with to ‘improve’ (Orwellian for ‘justify’) their models of human behavior.

    Here’s part one of that, it’s called Fuck You Buddy:

  3. sorry to rain on your lefty coffee table party/discussion, but i ride with Johan Norberg on the Naomi Klein issue. Norberg’s politics leae a lot to be desired, but on economic I think he’s infinitely sharper.

    (disclaimer- before you get all crazy, I think Klein is brilliant, and I’m voting for Obmama)

    Economically, I think we need to listen to the Swedes. Protectionism will never work, or even get off the ground. 100 years too late.

    And, read this NYTimes thing about Sweden and economics:

  4. dre-thanks for the heads up on Norberg-

    his video polemic didnt seem particularly strong- but I also havnt read the entire shock doctrine…

    i generally find my economic feelings are more politically inclined then math based- but thats just my own lack of understanding… id like to hear johans competing explanation for the reasoning behind something like the war

  5. Dre-

    I agree that Klein demonizes Friedman, quite a bit. And mostly through caricature. But Norberg’s defense of Friedman is also weak, because it only points to context insofar as the things Friedman has written will permit. While Norberg is right to say that Klein takes his statement out of context and that Friedman never explicitly says that these crises should be provoked by an external agent, what he fails to mention, and in fact actually
    downplays, is the fact that Friedman was an advisor (THE major advisor, when you get down to it) to several U.S. administrations.

    Further, watch out with Sweden as a model to follow for countries like the U.S. It all sounds really good, except when you realize that it’s a model that has only been applied to smallish, demographically homogeneous countries. Also, Sweden’s impressive Gini coefficient (which measures inequality of income distribution) is increasing pretty rapidly these days.

    Btw, for the record, I do respect Friedman’s academic work and theory and all that and get irritated at Klein’s use of shit like “Friedman and his disciples,” but I think he’s an important guy to highlight and I don’t mind if it’s done negatively. First because his readers don’t really tend to question his ideas (like Marxists do w/Marx), and just like that parenthetical includes a label, I think it’s time we labelled this worldview. And second because today, if you were to say something like “Friedman’s influence on the direction of globalization has been huge,” most listeners would think you’re talking about Thomas Friedman, the NYTimes douchebag.

  6. Ah, also Taliesin, no prob! Just chippin’ in to make the Dutty Artz crew as inefficient in the Work World as y’all’s great discussions have made me :P

  7. Some defend Friedman because of his theories, while others criticize him based on the simplified versions of his arguments.. but as Carlos rightly points out it’s Friedman himself who has been responsible for spreading those simplified models.
    And Friedman did have disciples – the religious/culty overtones of that word describe the religious attitude many had : faith in the invisible hand and the power of privatization, plus he was perfectly happy to take a lot of the power he was offered, and take credit for whatever worked. Even though I have some vague idea that recently even he has spoken out against some of the most outrageous things done in his name, this is pretty much too little too late after their failure in Russia and other places. bloody, terrible failures.

    and if his theories can’t be successfully put into practice (because of institutional/real world factors that aren’t included in his models) then how good, really, are the models?

    i.e. the criticism that moderately thoughtful folks aim at communism works just as well in this regard for Friedman. (again, what Carlos said!)

    ps. and if we are basing our evaluation of the model on something other than success in the real world (which may be important), then it’s worth including the vision of humanity that the model presupposes, as something to be evaluated.

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