Friday, March 26, 2010

The Gospel of Innovation: A Skeptic's Take

A good friend of mine who works in business in Singapore (how's that for a Friedman-esque lead-in?) sent along this piece from The Washington Note, in which former IBM executive Ralph Gomory takes on the Friedmanian mantra that the United States has to build its economy around innovation and R&D, because we can't compete with low-wage countries such as India and China in manufacturing and low-level service industries.

Truth be told, Gomory's argument engages in a good amount of straw-manning, and unfortunately it's devoid of the snarkiness that Friedman critiques cry out for. Nevertheless, we at The Mustache of Understanding applaud all Friedman take-downs, no matter how flawed or how dull.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Contempt that Crosses Party Lines

As a hardcore liberal and unashamed Obama lover, it's not every day that I enthusiastically recommend an article from the National Review, the biweekly conservative political magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. However, a good Friedman take-down is a good Friedman take-down, regardless of where it comes from.

In "Friedman Aflame," Jonah Goldberg — the National Review editor best known for his 500-page bestseller calling liberals fascists — takes the mustachioed marvel to task for his mind-bending mixed metaphors, shameless self-promotion and barely concealed admiration for the Chinese Communist Party, among other things. The piece lacks the wit and pizzazz of Matt Taibi's pioneering works, but the underlying sentiment is the same.

Although the anti-Friedman polemics continue to pile up, it remains to be seen whether the collective scorn of the chattering class will do anything to knock Friedman off his perch as one of the nation's foremost opinion-makers. Nevertheless, word is out — the columnist has no clothes.

(Note: To those readers for whom the above analogy conjured up an image of Friedman naked, I offer my wholehearted apologies.)