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October 01, 2007

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robertdfeinman

I think there is a place for polemicists. They paint things in black (seldom white) and hope to arouse the uninformed or unconcerned into paying more attention.

Once a topic is before the public others can provide better arguments. I think Zola and Tom Paine would agree.

If you think some of what she has to say is worthy of discussion, but you think her data is flawed then recast the discussion in more measured terms.

I think Stiglitz understands this that why he said:

"Klein is not an academic and cannot be judged as one. There are many places in her book where she oversimplifies. But Friedman and the other shock therapists were also guilty of oversimplification, basing their belief in the perfection of market economies on models that assumed perfect information, perfect competition, perfect risk markets. Indeed, the case against these policies is even stronger than the one Klein makes. They were never based on solid empirical and theoretical foundations, and even as many of these policies were being pushed, academic economists were explaining the limitations of markets — for instance, whenever information is imperfect, which is to say always."

David

Are you concerned in expressing you´re opinion on the most central flaws in the book?

David

Both questions to Rodrik.

Do you agree with anything she (or Stiglitz) says?

samson

in case you didn't read Tyler Cowen's thoughts on Klein's book...
http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/09/every-claim-is-.html


Mr. Todd

Klein's wiki bio says she was a former Miliband fellow at the London School of Economics. Does that mean she studied economics, i can't find anything else in her education background? The more I've read the more I've noticed the loudest critics of globalization are the ones who seem to understand the least about econ generally. Not to say economics is out of bounds for an intelligent generalist, but seriously, I'd be more inclined to listen to a creationist who happened to be a microbiologist than, oh I dont know, a journalism major. The lack of expertise is obvious to people who already know better, unfortunately not for those who don't.
Thats what really irks me: clownish caricatures of the global economy that she draws are seductive for people who don't know any better, since they assume that she must know what she's talking about.

dale

Myself, I'm glad that Stiglitz weighed in as he did. Too many respectable, academic types are reluctant to speak openly about economics and power.

If more social democratic leaning academic economists would speak openly and frankly in the public sphere about our current trade regimes and their underlying neoliberal philosophy then perhaps mere journalists like Klein would enter the fray more informed.

Emmanuel

Dr. Rodrik, thanks for the mention. To be fair, I'd still encourage those who are interested to read it and make up their own minds. Borrow a copy though from the local library for there are infinitely better ways to spend hard-earned money.

Also, you can read some excerpts over at the Guardian website:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/shockdoctrine/0,,2159184,00.html

corvad

please do weigh in Dani, on one or two specific things that make this a "bad book that needs to be trashed." I'm a little disappointed in this unconstructive engagement, it doesn't seem like you (or at least your blog entries).

myname

A fat-wa on the author?

Walt

Geoff, that blog post is an embarrassment. And I even think that Klein is an idiot.

gordon

Have you reviewed the book?

david

Second trashing of Klein I've read today (Cowen the other) which has precious little to say about the book, but instead mouths a bunch of pieties about "markets" with a loose enough definition to make the piety meaningless. If there's a bad review to make, make it -- wallowing is bad faith. Haven't read Klein, it may suck, but these two haven't offered much evidence.

On the point about shock therapy, well, it does sound like a bad metaphor. But Louis Menand hung his magnum opus on a flawed conceit about the civil war, and the Metaphysical Club remains a great book. Try harder, people.

corvad

"even as many of these policies were being pushed, academic economists were explaining the limitations of markets."

really? which academic economists were making these explanations, challenging Milton Friedman? and why, then, the subsequent disciplinary marginalization of heterodox economics?

these are genuine questions. I hope since dani doesn't seem inclined to respond to the invitations above, someone -- perhaps in the robertdfeinman camp -- could enlighten me.

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