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    Thomas Friedman has read another book "Why Nations Fail". It's gotten him thinking. (Yes, that was the disturbance in the Force you may have noticed.) This is the key argument that caught his attention:

Co-authored by the M.I.T. economist Daron Acemoglu and the Harvard political scientist James A. Robinson, “Why Nations Fail” argues that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

“Inclusive economic institutions that enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few,” they write.

Putting aside Friedman's ponderous ponderings for the moment or the book, the real fun is in the comments. Mr. Friedman seems to have wandered into No Mans Land, and is taking heavy fire from all sides. Take a look - it's a great cross section of the American political Id unleashed today.

The last paragraph really seems to have hit a nerve:

And America? Acemoglu worries that our huge growth in economic inequality is undermining the inclusiveness of America’s institutions, too. “The real problem is that economic inequality, when it becomes this large, translates into political inequality.” When one person can write a check to finance your whole campaign, how inclusive will you be as an elected official to listen to competing voices?
My goodness! Is it possible OWS pranked Friedman and got their propaganda into the Times? As I said, take a look at the comments. You may want to have some popcorn handy. The Times will probably close comments shortly if they haven't already. Pity - this looks like it could become a major on-line brawl. If you want to make a drinking game out of it, see if you can find how many commenters refer to Atlas Shrugged as the book Friedman really needs to read.

And if you've got any books you think should go on Friedman's reading list, feel free to bring them up in comments here. I've already brought up The Spirit Level (Wilkinson & Pickett) and Collapse (Jared Diamond).

A sampling below the Orange Omnilepticon.

11:54 AM PT: UPDATE extra fun bonus. If you find any comment that strikes your particular fancy, why not share it here? They're crawling out from under the rocks today on this one over at the Times.

Here's a few:

New York libs like Friedman and Duranty want to concentrate power in the hands of a few government elitists, while demagoguing the imaginary "1%".
So that means only the 99% are real?
...The .1% might be called "the Hamster Class" because they eat whatever is in front of them, leaving a trail of waste behind. As a result, they make such a mess that their cage (society) has to be cleaned out periodically; either by a benevolent human (in the case of hamsters) or by a social cataclysm (in the case of the .1%).
Except hamsters are at least cute, fuzzy, and entertaining. And they don't want to conquer the world. Unless you mean Snowball...
"When one person can write a check to finance your whole campaign, how inclusive will you be as an elected official to listen to competing voices?"

Just curious....are you speaking about George Soros?

Haven't you been paying attention? Bill Maher got the exclusive this time.
This article is a perfect example of what is happening to America. Look at all of the centralized power that our federal government has upon itself and look at all the freedoms that have been taken away from the individuals. People blame the 1% but they are only working within the framework that has been created by the people who are in power. Look at all the programs that have been established in the name of goodness only to have those institutions fail. Education (controlled by the NEA and unions), health care(now controlled by the governemnt), Commerce (now micromanaged by Washington). All of these and more all are exlusive institutions and take power away from the people
Because nothing says freedom and power to the people like getting the government out of educating the populace or trying to make sure they can have healthcare.
You should read 1 more book - it might help you to think more clearly - here's a sample quote:

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you... you may know that your society is doomed.” -Ayn Rand. author, "Atlas Shrugged".

That's one - everybody have a drink.
"When one person can write a check to finance your whole campaign, how inclusive will you be as an elected official to listen to competing voices?"

So... What? The solution is to suppress wealth creation & accumulation? Gee, that's worked so well before.

The solution isn't to demonize / suppress / confiscate wealth - because nobody every woke up POORER because Bill Gates made $100k in interest last night - the solution is to "make the rules fairer" as the President says.

You don't want some rich guy financing a politician? Fine. Then fix the system that provides the network of camoflage that launders the money, like... gee... lemme think... Center for American Progress, Media Matters, Tides, Joyce, Apollo...

Ah yes, the usual suspects. Thank God we have selfless altruists like Rupert Murdoch using his vast fortune to peel back that camouflage with his media truth campaign...

So many comments, so little time. That's just a sampling.



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