Monday, July 14, 2008

Tom Friedman's heir apparent

Obama Needs a Better Reading List by Thomas Frank

Thomas Frank is writing for the Wall Street Journal now! This fulfills the prophesy I remember reading months ago (I think by Noam Chomsky) that if Murdoch bought the Journal, he might actually tone down the right-wing nuttery of its comics-I-mean-editorial page.

This piece is on Fareed Zakaria, about whom I know little, except that to be an editor at Newspeak-I-mean-Newsweek you must be, to a large extent, a geyser spewing the conventional wisdom. Seems like he's a young, hip Tom Friedman. Tom gets baby boomers to nod their heads to a stream of know-nothing drivel about flat earths, or laughably inappropriate anecdotes about how the successes of the Japanese protectionist state proves the wisdom of the exact opposite economic policies. Fareed's more for the younger crowd, but he's the same kind of self-deluded, economics-misinformed huckster for the masses.

For example: "One more reason to be leery of all this market idolatry: It's wrong. Take the aspect of the 'new era' that Mr. Zakaria most admires – 'the free movement of capital,' the international loans and investments he worships as 'globalization's celestial mechanism for discipline.' In point of fact, the rise of China and India – Mr. Zakaria's own paradigm cases – was possible only because those countries shunned global commercial credit markets in the 1970s, allowing them to avoid the interest-rate shock of the early '80s."

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