lördag 14 juni 2008

Naomi Klein om Johan Norberg och fattigdom

Dick Erixon skriver att Ekot agerat undfallande mot Naomi Klein. Jag håller inte med - Naomi Klein är tydligt frustrerad och ovillig att svara såväl på vad tycker om aktuella händelser som vad hon tjänar och ifall hon har några exempel på där hennes filosofier fungerat väl, och hon verkar förvånad över att han inte kommer fullständigt oförberedd till intervjun - hade han pressat henne hårdare hade hon gissningsvis avslutat intervjun.

Nå, Johan Norberg nämns, och jag antar att det kan finnas någon som är intresserad av vad hon hade att säga gällande det.

Så, från ~16 minuter in i intervjun (stamningar, upprepningar, tvekande osv helt bortplockat):

Anders Holmberg: You're familiar with a bit, I think, of the critique against your book - The Shock Doctrine - your critics say that your view of world development is not supported by statistical facts. They say for example that facts show that countries who have more economic freedom also have more political rights and civil liberties. What do you answer to those critics.

Naomi Klein: You know, I have read Johan Norberg's report.

AH: You know his name, yeah?

NK: Yeah, he's gotten himself quite a lot of mileage out of it. He's actually simply not engaging with the thesis of the book. The thesis of the book is that if you look at the big bang moments - the moments when this ideology has leapt forward - the official story that we get from places like the Cato Institute, where he works, is that this ideology triumphed because people wanted it to, because it was embraced by the people of these countries. And I'm telling an alternative history, where these ideologes have relied very conciously on exploiting moments of shock and crisis. And he has not engaged with that material, has not really dealt with that thesis. So he's talking about a different book - he's talking, maybe, about a book he'd like to write, but it's not about the book I wrote.

AH: And what about the figures that he produces?

NK: I don't accept the figures. What I see is that the most successful capitalist economy in the world is China. And China, by any traditional capitalist measures, is by far the most successful capitalist economy - ten percent growth rates per year. And it has done this in a climate of enormous repression. It is a Stalinist style police state, which is increasing its level of repression as we speak. And in fact, if you take China out of the picture, then all of the claims for progress for this economic model disappear, because almost all of the people who have been taken out of poverty are in China.

AH: Or India, I...?

NK: No, it's China. If you take China out, according to the UN, then you actually have a net decrease.

AH: Because there's also a picture that millions of people in India have left poverty during the last ten-fifteen-twenty years.

NK: Well, first of all, India has been something like a social democracy. Its most successful province is Kerola, which has a socialist government, and had many policies that were outside of the neo-liberal consensus - an incredible education system which has played a key role. The embrace of neo-liberalism in India is a fairly recent phenomenon. You know, you can cook these figures however you like, but I haven't heard a sufficient explanation for the fact that China is the most successful capitalist economy in the world. And a huge part of that success, I would argue, has to do with the fact that it lacks political freedoms, that its workers in the Pearl River Delta - making almost half of everything we own - aren't allowed to form independant trade unions. And that when people complain about the government they get thrown in jail. And that you don't have a free media. So these Freedom House freedom measures and economic freedom indexes are products - the measures that he's using come from the movement themselves. It's the Fraser Institute, which is a Friedmanite think-tank in Canada, which is a Canadian equivalent of the Cato Institute, that collects these figures - I don't think they're legitimate figures, they're very ideological figures.

AH: There are also figures from the UN, saying that extreme poverty has been reduced from...

NK: Yeah, but what the UN says is that the legacy of the past 30 years is enormous income inequalities. These are UNDP figures - what they show is that the sort of golden age of capitalism, from the 1930s through the 1960s, that's when you had the rise of the middle class, and from the 1970s onwards - what you have is a legacy of massive inequality. You have huge winners and you have big losers. That's what has happened in all the countries that have embraced these policies - at the same time. Then you have the extreme poverty measures, which are looking at people living on a dollar a day and whether you can get them up to two dollars a day. What makes somebody go from a dollar a day to two dollars a day is not whether or not that country has free trade, it's whether or not there was a World Health Organization program that had direct poverty alleviation. Because when you're dealing with people at that income level you're not dealing with jobs, you're dealing with aid.

AH: So just looking at that is not enough?

NK: Extreme income inequality? There's no correlation. I've had extensive discussions with the head of the UNDP's research department. He's the one who says that if you take China out of the picture, you can make no claims that this era has made net gains of poverty elimination. And that this concentrating on the poorest of the poor is actually just an advertisement for direct aid. Because when you're talking about people on a dollar a day, you're talking about alleviation through direct aid. Which, I'm sorry, free trade advocates can't take credit for.

Det finns en del att anmärka på, men angående fattigdomen så har just nämnda UNDP ett fattigdomsdiagram i sin årsrapport (pdf) från 2007:

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