[OPE] Friedman and crises

From: Dave Zachariah (davez@kth.se)
Date: Mon Aug 11 2008 - 04:31:18 EDT

Friedman's quote is a Marxist, or at least Leninist, political strategy.

Would the Bolsheviks have been anywhere near power if it were not for 
the social crisis that resulted from WWI? Similarly, the demographic 
crisis of the 1930s in Sweden paved the way for social-democratic family 

I think the underlying theory of Friedman's quote is correct. During 
crisis the institutional barriers to social change are weakened. 
Moreover, the material practices that affirm and sanction the dominant 
ideologies are weakened. Therefore new ideas that address the crisis can 
win ground.

This is a fact that can and has been exploited by both the Right and the 
Left. When crises occur there are political forces ready to seize the 
opportunity of radical change. Of course, their methods of political 
mobilisation for change differ. Unlike the Age of Catastrophe (1914-47) 
the Left is no longer in the forefront with concrete proposals for change.

//Dave Z

> Dogan asked:
> Dave Z wrote: 
> I have a comment rather than a proper topic. I recently listened to a 
> talk by Naomi Klein on her theory of "shock doctrine". The central 
> argument rests on a quote by Milton Friedman:  
>   "Only a crisis --- actual or perceived -- - produces real change. 
>   When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the 
>   ideas that are lying around. . . . Our basic function [is] to 
>   develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and 
>   available until the politically impossible" 
> Doesn't this strike you as a very Marxist theory of crises and 
> political action? 

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