Naomi Klein: Are markets taking on traditional government functions?
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In 2008 it won the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year and is longlisted for the inaugural 2009 Warwick Prize for Writing (UK). The six minute companion film, created by Alfonso Cuaron, director of Children of Men, was an Official Selection of the 2007 Venice Biennale and Toronto International Film Festivals and was a viral phenomenon, downloaded over a million times.
Her first book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies was also an international bestseller, translated into over 28 languages with more than a million copies in print. A collection of her work, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate was published in 2002.
Naomi Klein writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s Magazine won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Also in 2004, she co-produced The Take with director Avi Lewis, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories. The film was an Official Selection of the Venice Biennale and won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.
Question: Are markets taking on traditional government functions?
Naomi Klein: I think it’s more complicated than simply that markets are usurping the role of government. I think what we’re seeing is a merger between big government and big business. And I think that’s part of the reason why it’s a little bit hard for people to understand because they know corporations have a great deal of power. But at the same time states seem more important, right? We’re seeing more active military intervention, more intervention in our lives in the form of surveillance. And so we’re seeing very active states, and we’re seeing big spending states – what used to be called military Keynesianism – and certainly a willingness to spend a huge amount of money, to take very bold policy measures. But I would argue in the interest of multi-nationals, not in the interest of people, and that’s the pattern that recurs. So it isn’t . . . It isn’t that states aren’t important. They’re crucial to this process. But the question is in whose interests are those states working? So it isn’t about the end of the nation state or the end of the government. It’s about this very dangerous merger between big government and big business.
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There's been a fusion of big government and big business, says Klein.
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