Monday, June 16, 2008

Obama is a free-market guy after all!

US presidential candidate Barack Obama after all “loves the market,” contrary to his earlier posturing as a protectionist. On CNBC, courtesy of Paul Krugman’s blog “Conscience of a Liberal,” he said: “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market” to the dismay of globalization hater Naomi Klein who castigated Obama for appointing in his policy team Chicago School economists who are supposed to be disciples of free market guru Milton Friedman.

Says Klein: “Obama's love of markets and his desire for "change" are not inherently incompatible. "The market has gotten out of balance," he says, and it most certainly has. Many trace this profound imbalance back to the ideas of Milton Friedman, who launched a counterrevolution against the New Deal from his perch at the University of Chicago economics department. And here there are more problems, because Obama—who taught law at the University of Chicago for a decade—is thoroughly embedded in the mind-set known as the Chicago School.”

Politics and politicians—they are the same all over the world. I wonder if his sentiment extends to international trade, say the Doha Round of trade talks where American leadership is sorely needed. But who knows, he might just change his tune again once he feels it’s necessary to do so just to get the votes? It’s really all about political marketing, if ever there is such a thing. And by the way, if John McCain loves the market and Obama loves the market, will anybody tell me who is who?

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