Naomi Responds to the Economist Cover

September 7th, 2001
By Naomi Klein

Actually, I don’t have time to respond to all the distortions in this week’s Economist but I couldn’t let this one stand. Here is a letter to the editor I just sent.

To the editors of The Economist

In your happy little leader "Brands are good for you," you quote a passage from my book No Logo referring to ours as "a fascist state where we all salute the logo and have little opportunity for criticism because our newspapers, television stations, Internet servers, streets and retail spaces are all controlled by multinational corporate interests." By taking these words out of context, you have intentionally distorted my meaning to suit your own weak argument.

As I pointed out to your reporter, the very next sentences in the book directly refute this vision of brand totalitarianism. The passage goes on to say: "there is good reason for alarm. But a word of caution: we may be able to see a not-so-brave new world on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean we are already living in Huxley’s nightmare… Instead of an airtight formula, [corporate censorship] is a steady trend, clearly intensified by synergy and the mounting stakes of brand-name protection, but riddled with exceptions. the shift that is taking place is at once less totalitarian and more dangerous."

When asked by your reporter whether ours is a corporate fascist state, I replied that I am too optimistic to take such a view: if humans being really are compliant brand drones, why are they taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands, from Seattle to Genoa? Your publication, on the other hand, appears to believe that political activism is unnecessary since we apparently can rid the world of corporate abuses simply by shopping for better brands. Sorry, but I’m afraid I’m not quite *that* optimistic.

I never expected The Economist to provide a nuanced or even accurate portrayal of the political ideas in No Logo—or, for that matter, of the goals of the global movements against corporate-driven globalization (of which I am not the "spokesman" as you absurdly claim). However, I hope you will correct this one glaring distortion for your readers.

Naomi Klein