Di bawah ini adalah kutipan dari wawancara panjang antara Amy Goodman dan
Naomi Klein, penulis buku laris, “Shock Doctrine. The Rise of Disaster
Capitalism.” Wawancara ini diadakan dalam rangka menentang berdirinya Milton
Friedman Institute di Universitas Chicago, karena Friedman lah penggagas
neoliberalisme, yang ternyata ambruk pada hari-hari ini. Para pendukung
neoliberalisme sudah dikalahkan oleh realitas, kata Klein. iww
October 06, 2008
*Wall St. Crisis Should Be for Neoliberalism What Fall of Berlin Wall Was
As the world reels from the financial crisis on Wall Street and the
taxpayer-funded $700 billion bailout, we spend the hour with Naomi Klein on
the economy, politics and “disaster capitalism.” The Shock Doctrine author
recently spoke at the University of Chicago to oppose the creation of an
economic research center named after the University’s most famous economist,
Milton Friedman. Klein says Friedman’s economic philosophy championed the
kind of deregulation that led to the current crisis.
AMY GOODMAN: The credit crunch is spreading to financial markets around the
world. Nearly 160,000 jobs were lost here in the United States in September.
That’s not including losses directly resulting from the financial meltdown.
Wall Street might be breathing a little easier since Congress passed the
more-than-$700- billion bailout plan Friday, but there are no signs of an
easy or quick recovery.
Today we take a look back at the economic philosophy that championed the
kind of deregulation that led to this crisis. We spend the hour with
investigative journalist and author Naomi Klein, bestselling author of The
Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.
Naomi Klein spoke at the University of Chicago last week, invited by a group
of faculty opposed to the creation of an economic research center called the
Milton Friedman Institute. It has a $200 million endowment and is named
after the University’s most famous economist, the leader of the neoliberal
Chicago School of Economics.
NAOMI KLEIN: When Milton Friedman turned ninety, the Bush White House
held a birthday party for him to honor him, to honor his legacy, in 2002,
and everyone made speeches, including George Bush, but there was a really
good speech that was given by Donald Rumsfeld. I have it on my website. My
favorite quote in that speech from Rumsfeld is this: he said, “Milton is the
embodiment of the truth that ideas have consequences. ”
So, what I want to argue here is that, among other things, the
economic chaos that we’re seeing right now on Wall Street and on Main Street
and in Washington stems from many factors, of course, but among them are the
ideas of Milton Friedman and many of his colleagues and students from this
school. Ideas have consequences.
More than that, what we are seeing with the crash on Wall Street, I
believe, should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for
authoritarian communism: an indictment of ideology. It cannot simply be
written off as corruption or greed, because what we have been living, since
Reagan, is a policy of liberating the forces of greed to discard the idea of
the government as regulator, of protecting citizens and consumers from the
detrimental impact of greed, ideas that, of course, gained great currency
after the market crash of 1929, but that really what we have been living is
a liberation movement, indeed the most successful liberation movement of our
time, which is the movement by capital to liberate itself from all
constraints on its accumulation.
So, as we say that this ideology is failing, I beg to differ. I
actually believe it has been enormously successful, enormously successful,
just not on the terms that we learn about in University of Chicago
textbooks, that I don’t think the project actually has been the development
of the world and the elimination of poverty. I think this has been a class
war waged by the rich against the poor, and I think that they won. And I
think the poor are fighting back. This should be an indictment of an
ideology. Ideas have consequences.
Now, people are enormously loyal to Milton Friedman, for a variety of
reasons and from a variety of sectors. You know, in my cynical moments, I
say Milton Friedman had a knack for thinking profitable thoughts. He did.
His thoughts were enormously profitable. And he was rewarded. His work was
rewarded. I don’t mean personally greedy. I mean that his work was supported
at the university, at think tanks, in the production of a ten-part
documentary series called Freedom to Choose, sponsored by FedEx and Pepsi;
that the corporate world has been good to Milton Friedman, because his ideas
were good for them.
But he also was clearly a tremendously inspiring teacher, and he had a
gift, like all great teachers do, to help his students fall in love with the
material. But he also had a gift that many ideologues have, many staunch
ideologues have–and I would even use the word “fundamentalists” have–which
is the ability to help people fall in love with a perfect imagined system, a
system that seems perfect, utopian, in the classroom, in the basement
workshop, when all the numbers work out. And he was, of course, a brilliant
mathematician, which made that all the more seductive, which made those
models all the more seductive, this perfect, elegant, all-encompassing
system, the dream of the perfect utopian market.
Now, one of the things that comes up again and again in the writings
of University of Chicago economists of the Friedman tradition, people like
Arnold Harberger, is this appeal to nature, to a state of nature, this idea
that economics is not a political science or not a social science, but a
hard science on par with physics and chemistry. So, as we look at the
University of Chicago tradition, it isn’t just about a set of political and
economic goals, like privatization, deregulation, free trade, cuts to
government spending; it’s a transformation of the field of economics from
being a hybrid science that was in dialogue with politics, with psychology,
and turning it into a hard science that you could not argue with, which is
why you would never talk to a journalist, right? Because that’s, you know,
the messy, imperfect real world. It is beneath those who are appealing to
the laws of nature.
Now, these ideas in the 1950s and ’60s at this school were largely in
the realm of theory. They were academic ideas, and it was easy to fall in
love with them, because they hadn’t actually been tested in the real world,
where mixed economies were the rule.
Now, I admit to being a journalist. I admit to being an investigative
journalist, a researcher, and I’m not here to argue theory. I’m here to
discuss what happens in the messy real world when Milton Friedman’s ideas
are put into practice, what happens to freedom, what happens to democracy,
what happens to the size of government, what happens to the social
structure, what happens to the relationship between politicians and big
corporate players, because I think we do see patterns.
Now, the Friedmanites in this room will object to my methodology, I
assure you, and I look forward to that. They will tell you, when I speak of
Chile under Pinochet, Russia under Yeltsin and the Chicago Boys, China under
Deng Xiaoping, or America under George W. Bush, or Iraq under Paul Bremer,
that these were all distortions of Milton Friedman’s theories, that none of
these actually count, when you talk about the repression and the
surveillance and the expanding size of government and the intervention in
the system, which is really much more like crony capitalism or corporatism
than the elegant, perfectly balanced free market that came to life in those
basement workshops. We’ll hear that Milton Friedman hated government
interventions, that he stood up for human rights, that he was against all
wars. And some of these claims, though not all of them, will be true.
But here’s the thing. Ideas have consequences. And when you leave the
safety of academia and start actually issuing policy prescriptions, which
was Milton Friedman’s other life–he wasn’t just an academic. He was a
popular writer. He met with world leaders around the world–China, Chile,
everywhere, the United States. His memoirs are a “who’s who.” So, when you
leave that safety and you start issuing policy prescriptions, when you start
advising heads of state, you no longer have the luxury of only being judged
on how you think your ideas will affect the world. You begin having to
contend with how they actually affect the world, even when that reality
contradicts all of your utopian theories. So, to quote Friedman’s great
intellectual nemesis, John Kenneth Galbraith, “Milton Friedman’s misfortune
is that his policies have been tried.”
“Economically, politically and technologically, the world has never seemed
more free – or more unjust.” (UNDP Report, 2002, p. 11)