Monday, August 24, 2009

Naomi Klein on Adam Smith

Salt Lake Tribune: Many people who've read Adam Smith, capitalism's
greatest proponent, are struck by how far his original ideas are from
those who espouse markets completely free of interference. Smith
supported progressive taxation, central bank control and was skeptical
of taking labor off shore. Why do you think Friedman and the Chicago
school of economics you criticize took a divergent path?

Naomi Klein: Smith was abused by [Friedrich von] Hayek and Friedman,
really. My book quotes a letter written by economic historican [Andre]
Gunder Frank, who studied under Friedman, where he complains about the
narrowness of their education at University of Chicago. They only read
Hayek and the first two chapters of Wealth of Nations . To understand
the Chicago school of economics, you have to understand it along with
the rise of fascism and communism. A lot of these people, such as
Hayek and Ayn Rand, were personally scarred from their experiences.
Rand's father lost land to the communists.

The rest of this interview: