Thursday, November 21, 2013

Naomi Klein v Joseph Stigliz

One of my colleagues (an historian) was given a copy of Naomi Klein's, Shock Doctrine, as a read to critique neo classical economic reasoning, by an economics faculty in my department.

Below is the e mail I sent to that colleague.

Glad to work with you on the scholarship for our department.

I apologize for this intrusion - I am delighted you are reading a critique of neo classical economic analysis - although I would have recommended Joseph Stigliz, nobel winner, rather than the Canadian journalist. Stigliz is more critical than Klein and Globalization and its Discontents, one of his excellent books, is as accessible as her work and grounded in real economic science. Stigliz has the advantage of restraint and a great deal of economic knowledge in his critique of capitalism and neo classical economic reasoning and of Milton Friedman. There is a substantial cost in reading a text by a seasoned and talented journalist who possesses a limited knowledge of the the topic that is under attack.

On the opposite side of the debate, a great book by William Baumol is much more nuanced and, in the end, effective in the critique of market theory and neo classical economic reasoning. To steal from Churchill, neo classical economic analysis is incomplete and poor social science, it is just much better than the alternative.• •Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity, co-authored with Robert Litan and Carl J. Schramm, 2007.

This blog post is also a swell way to balance the rather vitriolic prose of Klein.

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