Friday, 25 January 2008


A few weeks ago, my brother sent me this article about Facebook (he is extremely anti-Facebook himself):

Now I have many problems with this article, which I'm not going to go into here. For the most part I think the writer's own extremely subjective, perhaps Marxist worldview has got in the way of objective reasoning, not to mention he completely discounts human autonomy and our ability to think and make choices for ourselves. But now is not the time. Paul has blogged about some problems with it and there is some more discussion on the Guardian here.

Despite my criticisms of the article, though, I have to admit that today Facebook has deemed itself guilty of some of the author's accusations. Each day on Facebook there is a new 'gift' you can give to one of your friends. When you first join FB, you get one gift you can give for free, and thereafter they cost $1 each, some or all of which goes to charity. They come up with all sorts of bizarre pixellated presents, such as Santa outfits, piles of turtles and cakes.

Today's gift is a 'Fat Tax Return'. This would be suspicious enough given the leanings of FB's board, but what is more, you don't have to pay for it today: it is FREE!

You may be shocked; you may be scandalised. I think it's quite amusing as it is so blatant. But then again, it's no surprise that the world's most powerful people like money is it? and I don't think it should be any reason to stop using Facebook, when the rest of our lives are run by corporations like Microsoft. Okay,I don't agree with the neo-liberal politics behind it, but that doesn't mean that because I've seen that Fat Tax Return on Facebook I'm going to rush down the street and pick up a copy of Hayek. And neither should you...


Anonymous said...

"doesn't mean that... I'm going to rush down the street and pick up a copy of Hayek. And neither should you..."

Why not? Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom' is a devastating critique of Socialist economic theory. It dramatically exposes the fact that centrally planned economies are deeply illiberal.

Whilst you're at it you might want to check out Friendman's 'Capitalism and Freedom' which convincingly argues that free market capitalism is a pre-requisite of a free and wealthy society.

If you remain under any illusions by this stage the next step would be to read Simon Cox eds 'Economics' which debunks a lot of the myths propagated by left wing nutters who have no real grasp of how the world works!

Rebecca said...

Hello boris,

Thank you for visiting and commenting.

I was in no way meaning to defend socialist economic theory; I agree that it is open to devastating critique. The point of my post was more to suggest that the author of the Guardian article, Tom Hodgkinson, did have some valid points to make underneath the polemic that governed most of his article.

In fact I believe my post was more cynical about left wing nutters than right wing economics.

I confess that my last remark was somewhat tongue in cheek... whether the reader wants to go and buy a copy of Hayek is of no concern to me, as long as we read things with a degree of engagement.

I don't agree with you that Hayek and Friedman have it right, but then that wasn't the point of the post. I think that argument is best saved for another time and place.

Thanks for your input,


P.S. You are obviously interested in these things so may I suggest reading 'Globalization and its Discontents' by Joseph Stiglitz to get a different, yet balanced, view. Although you may well already have!