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by on February 25, 2011 at 1:36 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1 Andrew February 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

4.…oh wait, that's not right, I meant

2 joe February 25, 2011 at 9:55 am

Obviously there are many problems with Naomi Klein's book but Wisconsin really does seem to fit her thesis.

3 Andrew February 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

Try this: unions are no longer that important, therefore they don't really provide a large premium to members (do they not desire a premium), therefore it is easy for anti-union frontrunners to create political posturing opportunities.

4 Steve R February 25, 2011 at 10:23 am

Re: the circle drawing – I had a math teacher in High School who did the exact same thing – and he gave the exact same speech leading up to it saying that there is a world championship every year, and he won a few years ago and is invited back every year, but didn't get to go this year because his mom is sick.

So is it just a remarkable coincidence, or is did they both get that lead in from the same "how to impress high-schoolers with your circle drawing abilities" manual?

5 anonymous February 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

Re: 6, what's the occasion? Did I miss something? Any particular reason to dig up this intellectual corpse and put yet another stake through its heart?

How about a review of "The Moral Crusade Against Foodies"?

6 santa February 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

I think it's sad that we have virtually no metrics for comparisons of similar universities beyond measuring their inputs (entering student quality) and graduation rates. Even if you say that universities aren't just about job skills or what have you, it should disturb us that we have no way of even guessing whether (let us say) Columbia does a better job of producing scientists than Berkeley or whether Penn State does better than Virginia Tech at training writers or premeds or economists.

7 spencer February 25, 2011 at 11:02 am

I think that Leonhardt's point about the same college leading as 50 years ago is completely off base.

In most industries the leading firms today were also the leading firms several decades ago.Retail may be one of the exceptions, and it is an industry with no significant barriers to entry and/or economies of scale. New firms rarely emerge in existing industries. But for the entire economy the point is valid. The new software, computer, communication,etc firms are the leading engines of growth for the economy. But they are not displacing the old firms in old industries. Ford was a leader in the auto industry 50 years ago and today; Dow was a leading chemical firm 50 years ago and still is a leading chemical firm. The rise of Microsoft, or Dell created new industries and new sources of growth but they did not displace the old auto or chemical firms.

If you look at it this way the fact that Harvard and Yale were top schools 50 years ago and are leading colleges today is not at all unusual.

8 CBBB February 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

I've never read Klein's book, although I understand what her thesis is. In your review you state that:
"First, the reach of government has been growing in virtually every developed nation in the world, including in America, and it hardly seems that a far-reaching free market conspiracy controls much of anything in the wealthy nations"

I wonder if this is really a good rebuttal to her thesis. I think her argument isn't so much a free market conspiracy but a plutocratic conspiracy. In that case, growing government power is not really the opposite of growing plutocratic power – it depends how the government functions. If the growth in government is largely from expenditures on security forces to suppress populist movements then that might be a point for Klein.
In fact if you look at it from being a "plutocratic" conspiracy rather then a Milton-Friedman-Free-Marketeer conspiracy I think your review of her book is a lot weaker.

9 Ted Craig February 25, 2011 at 11:31 am

4. I really couldn't get past Leonhardt's claim that United Technologies no longer exists.

10 Andrew February 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Things I hate: "Distribution of Resources"

The implication being, the distribution resulted from a distribution.

11 efp February 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Re 1. I could never figure out why it is normal to drink a fluid from a cow teat, but gross to do so from a human teat.

Re 4. " the ideal system, up-front tuition costs would remain low, and students would pay back colleges with a percentage of their income."

Interesting. I like the incentives this would set up. This would "tie funding to performance — both graduation rates and measures of actual learning," without the intervention of "policy makers."

12 anonymous February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

The comments after #6 are hilarious.

Indeed. And yet the New York Sun was a conservative newspaper — pro-Israel, co-founded by Conrad Black as an alternative to the liberal New York Times.

How odd that all those Klein supporters somehow astrosurfed their way to a site they would normally never visit.

13 Ted Craig February 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

4. I really couldn’t get past Leonhardt’s claim that United Technologies no longer exists.

14 tkehler February 25, 2011 at 5:52 pm

"Clear"? For one thing I'm not sure she (NK) is clear. And for another, I'm not sure you can't be clear and utterly simplistic and wrong. What bothers me most about Klein and her epigones is that most of them will never bother to read her/their adversaries, let alone read them carefully and thoughtfully. Hence they don't learn that there are good arguments made by "the other side." (Perhaps they don't care about this. Klein herself takes her title "Shock Doctrine" from a most inaccurate, uncontextualized and tendentious (willful) misreading of Friedman.)

15 Bob Murphy February 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

To this day I remain mystified that "our side" hates Naomi Klein's book so much. I could not believe the awful things that she uncovered about the Canadian and US governments, and I had no idea of the support that Chicago-trained market-loving economists gave to Pinochet. (Note, I'm not saying Friedman himself, though if I remember correctly Klein had a lot more evidence than a simple Rahm Emanuelesque quote.)

In any event, does anyone else think it's weird that Tyler didn't quote a single word from the book in his review? He managed to quote a lot from Stiglitz talking *about* Klein's book, but not the book itself.

16 Careless February 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Seriously, why does anybody listen to her? She's a bitter malcontent.

She's the Ayn Rand of the left, if Rand were commonly taught in college.

17 Andrew February 26, 2011 at 12:48 am

4. "The cost of college isn’t nearly as high as is often suggested."

The cost of college is not the price students(parents) pay. The true cost is the opportunity cost. He says the overall cost to the student is less than zero, but what is the cost to the forgotten folks who don't go to college? What if all of college is just a weeding out tournament where we pay for the privilege of being sorted by innate ability? That is almost certainly what grad school is, and from the new data on lack of learning it is in large part what undergrad is. To the extent this is true, we could do away with the whole thing and just go to work and invest the savings in other stuff.

18 Eric H February 26, 2011 at 6:19 am

#1. What efp said plus, if roaches excreted something that tasted like candy, could you see your way to eating it? No? So what's the real difference between that and honey? And why is honey okay, but human <s>breast</s> milk is not?

Plus, your wife's, okay. What about your mom's? Your sister's?

19 Matt February 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

Is Naomi Klein embarrassed at all about the fact that the left-leaning government that just took power in the US had "never let a crisis go to waste" as their mantra and guiding political principle?

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