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December 29, 2008


This is from a new interview with Thomas Friedman in Scientific American:

Q: Is it a good idea to meddle so extensively with the free market for energy?

FRIEDMAN: [Laughing] Oh, yeah, a totally free market dominated globally by the world’s biggest cartel, dominated domestically by fossil-fuel companies who have written all the rules in Congress—pages’ worth of depletion allowances and tax shenanigans that these guys have written in to give themselves advantages. We wouldn’t want to upset that free market, would we? There is no such thing as a free market, no more than there is a farm or a garden that grows without fertilizer, without proper plowing, without intelligence brought into it. Markets are shaped by rules, incentives and disincentives, and right now our market is shaped by the dirty fuel system.

Wow, there's no such thing as a free market! Heresy! I just hope this guy never runs into New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman!

April 3, 2005:

I am talking about the people of China, India, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Central Asia. Their economies and political systems all opened up during the course of the 1990's so that their people were increasingly free to join the free market.

June 1, 2003:

During the 1990's, America became exponentially more powerful -- economically, militarily and technologically -- than any other country in the world, if not in history. Broadly speaking, this was because the collapse of the Soviet empire, and the alternative to free-market capitalism, coincided with the Internet-technology revolution in America.

September 15, 2002:

[W]hat gives America its unprecedented power and influence today is the fact that, more than at any time in history, the world has come to accept the Western values of peace, democracy and free markets...

June 1, 2001:

Environmentalists refuse to sit on their hands anymore. Instead, the smart ones are mobilizing consumers to fight multinational polluters on their own ground. You have to admire it. It's so Republican -- using the free market. 91 more references to the non-existent "free market" by Friedman in the New York Times in the past fifteen years.

(To be fair to Friedman, during the same period he made 108 references to "America's commitment to magik faeries," with the same unspoken understanding that his readers would know he was talking about something imaginary.)

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 29, 2008 08:12 AM

nice interview.

Posted by: wallpapers at December 29, 2008 11:15 AM

So, it’s not just win-win. It’s win-win-win-win-win.

That's five wins, people. Obviously, the guy is on to something.

Posted by: SteveB at December 29, 2008 11:44 AM

Damn, I want to smack that self-righteous SOB every time I see him on TV. I just avoid the Times, and get my Krugman somewhere else.

Maybe if I were a little better at BSing my way through life and being wrong about nearly everything while living off my rich wife, I could be the person people want to smack.

Posted by: Christopher Wing at December 29, 2008 02:59 PM

now that its obvious to absolutely everyone that unbridled capitalism, shorn of its regulations, is a necessary catastrophe waiting to occur (or not waiting, as they case may now be), people like friedman want to act as though theyve believed this all along.
which is to say, they want to trick those who they tricked into believing in the free market into believing that they never really believed in it (and maybe were even trying to warn them all along).
like WMDs.

Posted by: raincoat at December 29, 2008 03:17 PM

We shouldn't be to rough on the guy, after all he has finally seen reality and was able to recognize it. As for the harsh words some have to say about our friend or the NYT, I find it unnecessary and non constructive.

The NYT has several commentator that are simply terrible, Friedman is just mediocre and very simple minded.

Posted by: koshem bos at December 29, 2008 05:29 PM

I don't know Jonathan Schwarz, maybe he was, you know, lying or something.
Which time?
Both times, all the time.
One aspect of violence that's little explored by sensationalizing movie and TV crime celebrations, an aspect first made prominent by the Manson family back in '69 though it's been around since early days, is the use of patent absurdity backed up by an immediately obvious willingness to cause severe harm.
It takes out whatever faith the victim has in logic and order at the same time it asserts the assailant's complete mastery of the exchange from the ground up.
The Joker.
Friedman's teddy bear visage shouldn't mislead us as to his ability to carry the role. The man has unplumbed depths of fierce absurdity - you can see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice when he speaks, read it between the lines of his "work".

Posted by: roy belmont at December 29, 2008 05:32 PM

I guess the magic of the free marketplace fails to excite you quite so much when you're wife's formerly billion-dollar stock portfolio plunges 97%.

Posted by: missy at December 29, 2008 06:52 PM

GREAT while it lasted, wasn't it, seems everybody was making money till the ole money supply ran out. When Congress has acted as it has the last 8 years. KNOWING full well there usta was a Great Depression and that SOME people actually LEARNED from it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 29, 2008 07:57 PM

Friedman's a tart.

Always has been, by the way.

Posted by: Helmut at December 30, 2008 07:38 AM

You're a meanie.

Posted by: Thomas Freidman at January 2, 2009 04:22 AM