Sunday, November 30, 2008

NYT's Thomas Friedman Equates Nature with "The Market" by Louis Evan Palmer

Andy Barry, CBC Radio's morning host, recently quoted Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, in another of an increasing number of live-radio faux-intellectual moments. Mr. Barry's efforts were directed at sharing what to him seemed to be observations that verged on the transcendent. (One can tell as much from who one quotes as what one quotes) In this case, Andy quotes from one of premier apologists of the American Imperium. Even some 3 decades removed, perhaps Mr. Barry is still too much of an ex-pat American to be hosting the flagship show on the flagship Canadian network and he can't help but drag us into the pontifications of one of America's key propagandists.

In the article from which Mr. Barry's reads, "The Post-Binge World", Thomas Friedman quotes from his friend, the head of EcoTech International, certainly as ominous & threatening of a corporate name as one can imagine. The head of EcoTech equates "Mother Nature" to bits of science and nothing more. "Chemistry, Biology & Physics" to be exact. There is a simple name for this way of looking at things and it is neither new nor obscure - it's called the mechanistic view. To be sure, there is no "Mother" in this "Mother Nature".

It's at this point that Thomas starts drawing parallels. In Mr. Friedman's world, a contrivance called "the market" not only exists but exists on the same scale & majesty as "Mother Nature" and with as mechanistic a heart as well. There is no deliberate mis-reporting in Thomas' domain, no skewed inflation rates or GDP or dubious debt & deficit figures. There also is no realizations or actions on the part of the largest investment banks that they could use interest rate derivatives to manipulate national and international rates. Sure, millions of small-time lemming investors can be jerked into a cascade of selling and buying, but the surreptitious suppression of commodity or gold prices is ignored. Thomas also willfully neglects to allude to the rampant conflicts of interest rotting through the whole system and the ethics-destroying complicity it not only fosters but insists upon.

Mr. Friedman's naive adherence to a mythic "market" is merely cant, a vicious ideological cant, the same kind that can refer to a million dead children as an "acceptable" loss. He may not have said that particular statement but he apologized for it, maybe even as an unstoppable force of nature. Again, Thomas is merely asserting another mechanistic viewpoint. This time he elevates this sorry patchwork of agreements and debts and contracts and a myriad of goods and services and den-of-thieves stock & commodity exchanges that we call "the market" onto the same level as his un-motherly Nature. What others call the "globalization of poverty", Thomas calls the "democratization of finance".

Thomas and his ilk offer prosperity but deliver a vast casino economy where the game is rigged in favour of the super-wealthy and their lackeys. Friedman asserts "The World is Flat" and it certainly is in the sense that it has lost its diversity and depth as it is distorted by a new-conservative house of mirrors. In this world, torture is used to protect freedom, and freedom is taken away to protect law and order and Mother Nature is the same as "The Market".

NYT's Thomas Friedman Equates Nature with "The Market", Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


1 comment:

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