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Monday, January 26, 2009

Matt Bufton: Disaster socialism

Matt Bufton, director of the Institute for Liberal Studies (disclosure: I'm a director there as well), has a great piece up on C2C entitled "Disaster Socialism: The impact of the financial crisis on the future of conservative politics."

Writes Bufton:

In her best-selling book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein argues that times of crisis have been used to impose free-market reforms on an unsuspecting populace.

If we accept Klein’s premise, we should expect that the Harper government will use the ongoing global economic uncertainty as an excuse to bring in free-market reforms and shrink the size of government. Surely an unrepentant conservative like Harper is relishing this opportunity?

Actually, this is a nice way to test Klein's theory. Here we have a financial disaster, and an opportunity for right-wing governments to pass massive tax cuts and budget cuts as a way to stimulate the economy. If Klein's right, the U.S. and Canadian budgets should have all sorts of capitalist, free-market reforms and policies. Especially since the public, as Bufton makes plain, is receptive to a small government approach to addressing the economic crisis:

To make this situation even more tragic, it appears that many Canadians are open, perhaps even receptive, to the idea that increased government spending is not the answer to our economic woes. In a recent survey by The Canadian Press, pollster Harris-Decima found that 54% of respondents said they wanted government to spend within its means, while just 39% thought the government should go into deficit in order to stimulate economic growth.

Some organizations have actually proposed measures that are completely consistent with fiscal conservative principles. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons recently called for “getting government out of the way so they [seniors] can control their own lives and investments.” The Canadian Real Estate Association commissioned a study which identified cuts to sales and income taxes as being among the most effective ways to stimulate the economy. The Canada West Foundation released a poll of 25 leading economists, who overwhelmingly favoured the use of tax cuts over government spending as a means of economic stimulus.

Alas, the Conservative government is proposing to spend, rather than cut, and is threatening to make the government gargantuan. Disaster capitalism? No, Klein, disaster socialism.

Read Bufton's entire piece here.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 26, 2009 in Economic freedom | Permalink


Klein is your typical hard core socialist/communist and has not a clue about economics. As F.A. Hayek and others have noted communism/socialism is a religion which is anti-private property, anti-family and anti-religion (other than itself) and has proved to be a complete failure. Hayek goes on to state: "The decline of communism of which I speak is, of course occurring mainly where it has actually been implemented - and has therefore been allowed to disappoint utopian hopes. It lives on, however, in the hearts of those who have not experienced its real effects: in Western intellectuals.."

Socialism is always a disaster and now we have a so-called conservative government implementing more of the same disaster. It seems that PMSH is no more a conservative than Mulroney or Clark. What angers me is the total immorality of passing on to our children and grandchildren an unacceptable debt so that designated people can continue to live beyond their means and politicians can remain in office.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-26 7:17:09 PM

Klein and her ilk are the enemy.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-26 7:44:37 PM

Nice one Matt!! Excellent work!

Posted by: Lindy | 2009-01-27 11:29:18 PM

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