What Makes Someone Anti-Capitalist?

Since I’m working on a review of Naomi Klein’s new book The Shock Doctrine, I’m trying hard not to tip my hand. But there’s been a lot of specious reviews of the book and I just want to make one small point. In his review today in the New York Sun, Tyler Cowen (who actually, god bless him kind of likes the book in spite of himself) calls the book “anti-capitalist.” Likewise in this review in the Guardian, William Hutton writes that Klein believes that ”[n]othing good can ever come from globalisation, which is just more capitalism.”

This is a pretty serious distortion of Klein’s argument. She never opposes “globalisation” as such, indeed, she’s a Canadian who writes in the US, lived in Argentina and is publishing her book in four countries simultaneously! And I think it’s really hard to interpret Klein’s book on an attack on capitalism per se. It’s very clearly an attack on a certain kind of capitalism, known most commonly as neo-liberalism and supported by men like Von Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Becker, etc. But attacking Pinochet’s CHile, where they privatized social security is not attacking capitlasim in general. If that’s true, then the Democrats are socialists. Norway is a capitalist country, and Klein isn’t directing her rhetorical fusillade towards the kindly Scandanavians. She isn’t a Marxist, she’s a social democrat and it’s an old, old slander to conflate the two.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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