Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Everybody! Over here! Look at me!

Remember that system of freewheeling global capitalism Thomas Friedman spent the better part of his career championing? Well, it recently drove the world economy off a cliff. So what's the solution? Did you guess fundamental reform of global finance? Good work — but that's only half the answer. What's the other half? Well, it's none other than the same set of environmental policies Friedman has been peddling in his books, columns, lectures and neighborhood grocery store (probably) for the last five or six years.

Yes, in a clever sleight of hand in his most recent column, Friedman manages to recast the financial meltdown as a desperate plea from Mother Nature to reduce carbon emissions. Don't get me wrong — I'm a firm supporter of reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment. But in the true Friedman spirit of colorful if tortured analogies, isn't this a bit like KFC trying to convince us that the economic crisis is a clear indication that we all need to be eating a lot more fried chicken, or Billy Blanks trying to convince us that the only road to economic recovery is for everyone to start doing Tae Bo?

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