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Thread: The odius Niall Ferguson and his defence of Pinochet

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    Default The odius Niall Ferguson and his defence of Pinochet

    Did anyone else have the misfortune to watch Niall Ferguson on Channel Four last night?

    He appeared to be defending the Pinochet Junta's brutal regime (and the overthrow of the Allende government) on the grounds of their sound monetary policy which was influenced by a group of Chilean economists who had been educated at the University of Chicago...

    Was I imagining this?

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    i doubt it. its the sort of idiocy he revels in (everything 'free market' america, land of truth and justice does = GOOD)

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    what a disgusting enterprise.

    Ferguson is, often, a malign presence politically, even if his powers as a historian are, i gather, formidable.

    this line of 'understanding' sounds a lot like some of the British Tories that wheeled out all-too predictable choruses about the great man's qualities when he was detained in London, typically based on his economic chops and alliance with Thatcher.

    moral pygmies.

    i've long suspected Ferguson has a genuine, atavistic problem with Islam. in a digression in a Telegraph column of his once, he mentioned something that appeared to exercise him: the possible appearance of a minaret that might soon be enriching (that wasn't his take on it, of course..) the Oxford skyline.

    (the correct word for that would be bigot but as i say, it's a hunch, so i shall not mention it again.)

    incidentally, somewhat off-topic, but the single greatest ever speech bubble cartoon for my money in the pages of Private Eye has your man clambering across the Santiago tarmac, and the bubble reads
    I'm so senile I've forgotten I can't walk!

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    I've enjoyed "The Ascent of Money" so far. Didn't watch last night's episode, so I don't have an opinion on whether he was defending Pinochet (why would anyone do that? You don't have to think that communist dictatorships are a good idea to think that Chinese development policy is (well, more probably was) working), but I do think that the series is rather less ideological than, say, "Empire". For one thing, The Ascent of Money is also about the descent of American capitalism into the big bloody mess of today.

    What was he saying, exactly?

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    some of his past Telegraph columns have been quite interesting, where he writes a general layperson column about world affairs, money and so on.

    he appears to combine a fairly realist take on international relations (a bit Bacevich i guess) with occasionally sensible thoughts on general anti-Americanism and such.
    though i just dismissed him as someone whose politics and mine are sometimes irreconcilable there are enough hints to suggest this would not always be the case.

    the timeline of the link from up-thread shows how the narrow concern on money in the programme indicates it won't be winning any Amnesty Film Festival awards..

    Vim
    For one thing, The Ascent of Money is also about the descent of American capitalism into the big bloody mess of today.
    fair enough, i didn't know that.
    that sounds intriguing.

    i haven't seen any of it.

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    the timeline of the link from up-thread shows how the narrow concern on money in the programme indicates it won't be winning any Amnesty Film Festival awards..
    That's like complaining that your bike won't make toast and the wheels only go in two directions! All probably true I'm sure, and I've hardly read many of his columns (a few interesting papers though), but I like The Ascent of Money. It's all on 4OD. I forgot about it last night (too busy reading), but I'll have to watch it now to find out what he said! He was on NPR last week and that was good as well....

    Bacevich is another interesting (and v. smart) character. I'd have put him on the other side of the (conservative) spectrum from Ferguson, but perhaps that's just a measure of my ignorance. Isn't Ferguson a kind of neocon and isn't Bacevich an anti-war paleocon?
    Last edited by vimothy; 09-12-2008 at 12:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettysnake View Post
    He appeared to be defending the Pinochet Junta's brutal regime (and the overthrow of the Allende government) on the grounds of their sound monetary policy which was influenced by a group of Chilean economists who had been educated at the University of Chicago...
    Isn't this basically the South American version of "Well say what you like about the Nazis, but they made the trains run on time"?
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 09-12-2008 at 02:14 PM.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

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    I almost choked on that last night. Shame, as I've been really enjoying it and had almost managed to froget that he's a tory bastard.

    What was he saying, exactly?
    Ferguson's defence would be that he was defenid the Chilean Chicago Boys and Friedman for dealing with the Pinochet regime, rather than the regime itself. But, coupled with the way he treated Allende (economicaly disastrous, no doubt, but no mention of the fact that he was subject to a campaign of deliberate destabilisation from within and without, or that Allende's party iincreased its vote shortly before the coup) he crossed the line into apologia.

    The gist was, nice coup, shame about the torture.

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    Vim
    That's like complaining that your bike won't make toast and the wheels only go in two directions!
    ahem

    sorry Vim!
    i was being, er, drily witty (i thought: always get the ellipsis in...) with my mischievous Amnesty shout.

    i think you may be hitting Ferguson right there with the neo-con thing, although you'd really need Craner to weigh in, he's the man for that.

    Bacevich i don't know. (i do have his American Empire here, incidentally.)

    though, yes, i do think he perhaps wants to draw up the gates somewhat.

    P.S.:
    'Son of professor opposed to war is killed in Iraq'

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    i'm de-railing here somewhat so crackerjack and Mr Tea OTM

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    one of the weirdest aspects of the programme overall is its sponsored by caiman islands tourism, surely a cold joke?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdisco View Post
    ahem

    sorry Vim!
    i was being, er, drily witty (i thought: always get the ellipsis in...) with my mischievous Amnesty shout.[/URL]
    Ah. Right you are.

    Bacevich is really pivotal, IMO. Perhaps in a figurative sense as much as anything else, but I think you've got Nagl on one side and Bacevich on the other. Nagl is winning at the moment, but for how long is it that going to be the case?

    Shame, as I've been really enjoying it
    Me too. What a tit.

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    Ferguson takes a pretty dim view of the neoconservatives.

    I reread Empire recently and I didn't think it was that ideological. It's an excellent book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post

    The gist was, nice coup, shame about the torture.
    What I was wondering about in particular was his idea that the dismantling of the welfare state in Chile - with people given the option to pay into into private pension plans had led to greater prosperity and security for older people (cue shot of older Chileans dancing around looking glossy). Can we assume that these pension plans are now shot to pieces?

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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    Ferguson takes a pretty dim view of the neoconservatives.

    I reread Empire recently and I didn't think it was that ideological. It's an excellent book.
    This is probably knee-jerk, but I got the impression that Ferguson was a neocon insofar as Colossus and Empire are both somewhat partisan from the perspective of Anglo-Saxon power. Full disclosure: I haven't read either of these two books, but saw bits of Empire on tv. By neocon, I mean, of course, only the pejorative alternative to 'liberal interventionist'. I didn't know he was critical of the neocons. Anyway, I might get hold of Empire, see for myself.

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