Noam Chomsky spoke at Third Boston Symposium on Economics on February 10, 2014. He argued that certain factors, among them cutting federal funding for research and development and the growing gap between the richest 1% and everybody else, have led to the country’s current economic climate.
"The system is so dysfunctional that it cannot put eager hands to needed work using the resources that would be available if the economy were designed for human needs," Chomsky said. "These things didn’t just happen like a tornado. They are the results of deliberate policies over roughly the past generation." WATCH VIDEO
"There is a middle ground which I would like to occupy, and I think people are going to have to find ways to occupy: namely, to try to keep up a serious commitment to the intellectual values and intellectual and scientific problems that really concern you and yet at the same time make a serious and one hopes useful contribution to the enormous extra-scientific questions. Commitment to work on the problems of racism, oppression, imperialism, and so on, is in the United States an absolute necessity. Now exactly how one can maintain that sort of schizophrenic existence I am not sure; it is very difficult. It’s not only a matter of too much demand on one’s time, but also a high degree of ongoing personal conflict about where your next outburst of energy should go. And unless people somehow resolve the problem I think the future is rather dim. If they do resolve it I think it might be rather hopeful."
Noam Chomsky, ‘Language and Politics’ (via indizombie)
The number of people in Colombia killed by U.S. tobacco is way beyond the number of Americans killed by Colombian cocaine… Okay, do they have a right to come to the United States and carry out chemical warfare in North Carolina and Kentucky because they have a tobacco problem and it’s coming from here? You can’t even speak the words it’s so outlandish.
"You can’t get anywhere if you just copy what somebody told you. You have to be challenging things all the time, challenging everything, thinking new thoughts. And there you’ve got a real contradiction. It’s hard to train people to be creative and challenging and yet to ensure that somewhere else in their lives that they’re conformist and obedient"
"I am frankly surprised that there is even a debate. States are not moral agents. They are systems of power, which respond to the internal distribution of power. Human beings, however, are moral agents, and can impose significant constraints on the violence of their own states, particularly in societies that are more free. They may fail to do so; the international behavior of classical Athens was hardly delightful, to mention one case, and we need not speak of the examples of modern history. But they can do so, and often do. Of course, virtually every system of power describes itself as deeply humane and pursuing the highest values, and a primary task of elite intellectuals is to lead the chorus of self-acclaim, as they commonly do."
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"Going back to markets — if you take an economics course, they tell you markets offer choices. That’s partly true, but very narrowly. Markets restrict choices, sharply restrict choices. Mass transportation is an example. Mass transportation is not a choice offered on the market. If I want to go home today, the market does offer me a choice between a Ford and a Toyota, but not between a car and a subway. That’s just not one of the choices available in market systems, and this is not a small point. Choices that involve common effort and solidarity and mutual support and concern for others — those are out of the market system. The market system is based on maximization of individual consumption, and that is highly destructive in itself. It’s destructive even for the human beings involved — it turns them into sociopathic individuals."