“You can also construct models which have no relation to reality. Some free-market economic models, for example, abstract away from significant factors, such as state intervention or the fact that capital is mobile and labor relatively immobile and so on. They actually take you farther away from the way the world works.”—Noam Chomsky
“Markets also have a very bad psychological effect. They drive people to a conception of themselves and society in which you’re only after your own good, not the good of others and that’s extremely harmful.”—Noam Chomsky
“Nothing in these abstract economic models actually works in the real world. It doesn’t matter how many footnotes they put in, or how many ways they tinker around the edges. The whole enterprise is totally rotten at the core: it has no relation to reality.”—" [Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, pp. 254-5] (via betweenkittensnriots)
“Public education is based on a principle of solidarity. So, for example, I don’t have children anymore, I had them fifty years ago nevertheless I feel and I’m supposed to feel that I should pay my taxes so that the kids across the street can go to school. That’s counter to the doctrine that you should just look after yourself and let everyone else fall by the wayside… a basic principle of business rule.”—Noam Chomsky, @daily_chomsky (via heisey-newsbreak)
“The 1994 congressional election is a revealing example of the gap between rhetoric and fact. It was called a ‘political earthquake,’ a ‘landslide victory,’ a ‘triumph of conservatism’ that reflects the continuing ‘drift to the right’ as voters gave an ‘overwhelming popular mandate’ to Newt Gingrich’s ultraright army, who promise to ‘get government off our backs’ and bring back the happy days when the free market reigned.
Turning to the facts, the ‘landslide victory’ was won with barely more than half the votes cast, about 20 percent of the electorate, figures that hardly differ from two years earlier, when the Democrats won. One out of six voters described the outcome as ‘an affirmation of the Republican agenda.’ One out of four had heard of the Contract with America, which presented that agenda. And when informed, the population opposed virtually all of it by majorities. About 60 percent of the public wanted social spending increased. A year later, 80 percent held that ‘the federal government must protect the most vulnerable in society, especially the poor and the elderly, by guaranteeing minimum living standards and providing social benefits.’ Eighty to 90 percent of Americans support federal guarantees of public assistance for those who cannot work, unemployment insurance, subsidized prescription drugs and nursing home care for the elderly, a minimum level of health care, and social security. Three-quarters support federally guaranteed child care for low-income working mothers. The resilience of such attitudes is particularly striking in the light of the unremitting propaganda assault to persuade the public that they hold radically different beliefs.”
— Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism And Global Order (1999)
“Nixon’s moves were among several factors that led to a huge increase in unregulated financial capital and a radical shift in its use, from long-term investment and trade to speculation. The effect has been to undermine national economic planning as governments are compelled to preserve market “credibility,” driving any economies “toward a low-growth, high-unemployment equilibrium,” Cambridge economist John Eatwell comments, with stagnating or declining real wages, increasing poverty and inequality, and booming markets and profits for the few.”—Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism And Global Order (1997)
“The “corporatization of America” during the past century has been an attack on democracy — and on markets, part of the shift from something resembling “capitalism” to the highly administrated markets of the modern state/corporate era. A current variant is called “minimizing the state,” that is, transferring decision-making power from the public arena to somewhere else: “to the people,” in the rhetoric of power; to private tyrannies, in the real world.”—Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism And Global Order (1997)
“A few days after the NAFTA vote, the US Senate passed “the finest anticrime package in history” (Senator Orrin Hatch), calling for 100,000 new police, high-security regional prisons, boot camps for young offenders, extension of the death penalty and harsher sentencing, and other onerous conditions. Law enforcement experts interviewed by the press doubted that the legislation would have much effect on crime because it did not deal with the “causes of social disintegration that produce violent criminals.” Primary among those are the social and economic policies polarizing American society, carried another step forward by NAFTA. The concepts of “efficiency” and “health of the economy” preferred by wealth and privilege offer nothing to the growing sectors of the population that are useless for profit-making, driven to poverty and despair. If they cannot be confined to urban slums, they will have to be controlled in some other way.”—Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism And Global Order (1997)
“We’re supposed to believe that the US would’ve invaded Iraq if it was an island in the Indian Ocean and its main exports were pickles and lettuce. This is what we’re supposed to believe. Now the truth of the matter, obvious to anyone not committed to the party line, is that Iraq has huge oil resources, maybe the second in the world, mostly untapped, that it’s right in the middle of the main energy-producing region of the world and that taking control of Iraq will strengthen enormously the US’s control over the major energy resources of the world. It will, in fact, give the US critical leverage over its competitors, Europe and Asia, that’s Zbigniew Brzezsinski’s [President Carter’s national Security Adviser] accurate observation. That’s the reason. Now suppose that Iraq were to become sovereign and democratic, what would happen? Just think of the policies they would undertake. I mean, we can run through them, it would be a nightmare for the US.”—Noam Chomsky
“Most intellectuals are servants of power and counsel governments. They call themselves experts; they have sought prestige for centuries, not only today. However every society has critical intellectuals at its edges. Both types have influence: the servants of power and the dissidents.”—Noam Chomsky
“So maybe it’s a corporation or private business or something. First of all, internally, it’s essentially a totalitarian institution, almost necessarily. There’s a group at the top, maybe a person or a group, they make the decisions, they give orders, people down the hierarchy get the orders and transmit them. At the very bottom you get people who are permitted to rent themselves to survive, that’s called a job. Wage labor. And you get the outside community who’s allowed to purchase what you produce and of course they’re very heavily propagandized to make them want to consume it even if they don’t. So, that’s the nature of the system.
It’s kind of about as close to totalitarianism as you can imagine.”—Noam Chomsky
“You have to remember that stability is a cold code word. Stability doesn’t mean stability; it means obedience to US domination. So let’s go back to Kissinger again. He was the primary agent in, among other things, undermining the democratic regime in Chile. He later commented that “The US had to destabilize Chile in order to establish stability.” If you understand the terminology, that is not a contradiction. It means the US had to undermine, through Kissinger initiative, the parliamentary government in order to institute an obedient dictatorship and that is what he manes by stability. He doesn’t mean that things are calm and straightforward, he means they are under control. That of course it is inconsistent with democracy for the reasons I mentioned before. Just look at the studies of the public opinion.”—Noam Chomsky
“(The United States doesn’t) want democracy here, why would they want it in the Middle East? In fact, what’s going on in — you mentioned Wisconsin and that’s quite appropriate. The last thirty years have been a major assault against democracy here, and the governor of Wisconsin is trying to carry it forward. Finally there’s some resistance, but plainly elites here don’t want democracy. And why should they? Democracy is always harmful to elite interests. Almost by definition.”—Noam Chomsky
“So take the financial crisis. One of the reasons for it is that – there are several, but one is – say if Goldman Sachs makes a risky transaction, they – if they’re paying attention – cover their own potential losses. They do not take into account what’s called systemic risk, that is, the possibility that the whole system will crash if one of their risky transactions goes bad. That just about happened with AIG, the huge insurance company. They were involved in risky transactions which they couldn’t cover. The whole system was really going to collapse, but of course state power intervened to rescue them. The task of the state is to rescue the rich and the powerful and to protect them, and if that violates market principles, okay, we don’t care about market principles. The market principles are essentially for the poor.”—
“We’ve got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like ‘Support our troops.’ You’ve got to keep them pretty scared, because unless they’re properly scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous, because they’re not competent to think. Therefore it’s important to distract them and marginalize them.”—Noam Chomsky - Media Control
When a language disappears, a lot is lost.A language is a repository of cultural wealth. Each language is a way of understanding and interpreting the world.
It carries the wealth of tradition in history, oral history, which can be extremely rich. Take the Bible, for example. For thousands years, that was oral history, before anything was written down. Homer is oral history.
And that’s all over the world. And we’re losing those treasures every time a language disappears.
And for the people themselves, they’re losing their identity. If English disappeared, we would lose our cultural identity, and the same is true if it’s a small group somewhere.
“But this use of Smith to justify free market economics is just another distortion. Adam Smith would have hated the capitalism we see today. Smith is explicit about it. He was not in favor of free, unbridled, markets. Today he would be called a libertarian socialist. He understood, and stated it clearly in The Wealth of Nations. He argues that England could be “saved” from a form of neoliberal globalization by an “invisible hand.” There needs to be control — or intervention. Daniel Defoe, argued something pretty similar in the eighteenth century.”—Noam Chomsky
It is quite striking that propaganda is most developed and sophisticated in the more free societies. The public relations industry, which is the advertising industry is mostly propaganda, a lot of it is commercial propaganda but also thought control.
That developed in Britain and the US – two of the freest societies. And for a good reason. It was understood roughly a century ago that people have won enough freedom so you just can’t control them by force.
Therefore you have to control beliefs and attitudes, it’s the next best thing. It has always been done, but it took a leap forward about a century ago with the development of these huge industries devoted to, as their leaders put it, to the engineering of content. If you read the founding documents of the PR industry, they say: ‘We have to make sure that the general public are incompetent, they are like children, if you let them run their own affairs they will get into all kind of trouble.
The world has to be run by the intelligent minority, and that’s us, therefore we have to regiment their minds, the way the army regiments its soldiers, for their own good.
“U.S. elections are run by marketing professionals, the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. They don’t believe in actual free markets or the nonsense taught in school about informed consumer choice. If they did, GM ads would say, “Here are the
models we are putting out next year. Here are their characteristics.” But they don’t do that, because their model is the same as the next company’s model. So what they do is show you an actress or a football player or a car going up a sheer cliff. They try to create an image that will trick you into buying their product.”—Noam Chomsky
The gross and ever-increasing degree of economic inequality in the United States has become a phenomenon that even the country’s elites can no longer ignore since the explosive publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century.
“Right before the election there were extensive studies released about voters’ attitudes and intent. It turns out that only about 10 percent of them were voting for what the studies’ designers called “agenda, policies, programs, and ideas.” The rest were
voting for imagery.”—Noam Chomsky
“Privatization has other benefits. If working people depend on the stock market for their pensions, health care, and other means of survival, they have a stake in undermining their own interests: opposing wage increases, health and safety regulations, and other measures that might cut into profits that flow to the benefactors on whom they must rely, in a manner reminiscent of feudalism..”—Hegemony or Survival - Noam Chomsky
“Those who are seriously interested in understanding the world will adopt the same standards whether they are evaluating their own political and intellectual elites or those of official enemies.”—Hegemony or Survival - Noam Chomsky
“The target of preventive war must have several characteristics:
1. It must be virtually defenseless.
2. It must be important enough to be worth the trouble.
3. There must be a way to portray it as the ultimate evil and an imminent threat to our survival.”—Hegemony or Survival - Noam Chomsky
Lets just start by asking the simple question. What are the major media? The television channels, the cable channels, the big newspapers and so on. The answer is very simple.
They are big corporations. Some of them are huge corporations
which are integrated into bigger conglomerates. Like all other
corporations, they have a product which they sell to the market. Well, what’s the market?
The market are advertisers. Media are not funded by people, they are funded by advertisers. Ok, for newspapers you might pay 50 cents, but that is not enough to keep them going.
It’s the advertisers that keep them going. So basically what you have is big corporations selling the product to other big corporations, and the product is audience.
“The problem isn’t “governments,” at least in the West. They are not much involved in doctrinal management (though there are exceptions, like Woodrow Wilson and the Reaganites, both of whom ran huge state propaganda systems - illegal in the latter case; there were no relevant laws in the Wilson era). Doctrinal management is overwhelmingly the task of corporate propaganda, which is extraordinary in scale and very significant in impact; and [it is also] the task of the general intellectual community, including the acceptable dissidents who perform a very important service by setting the bounds of discussion and thus entrenching the unspoken presuppositions of the doctrinal system. Governments are marginal, outside of totalitarian states, though attention is always focused on them, to direct it away from what matters.”—Noam Chomsky (via indizombie)
“The large part of the media is diversion. Also, there is isolation.
You wanna make sure everybody is alone. Each person is
sitting alone in front of the tube. You don’t support one another. You don’t have any organizations where you can get together and try to work things out.”—Noam Chomsky
What is called foreign aid is, in fact, mostly export promotion. In fact, the aid does not go primarily the poor and needy in the countries because they’re not good consumers. If you look at the way the aid works it is basically aid from the US taxpayer to US businesses, which enable the businesses to sell to the countries on money that the US taxpayer gives them. It’s very small amount I should say, but what there is turns out substantially to be export promotion. And in a realistic sense it doesn’t leave the country. It goes from one pocket into another pocket, from the pocket of tax payers into the pockets of the exporter. Now sometimes the population that receives it, has benefits, sometimes not, often it’s harmful to them, because of the way it is selected.
So for example, take the Food for peace, what could be more benign than that. Giving food to the third-world. Well, you know it’s not benign. I mean when you look at it, the effects are to undercut the native agriculture, to make people dependent on US agriculture businesses.
In fact it is designed for that purpose, it looks benign but it is hardly so you can see the way this work over decades.
“I personally did not change anything. I was part of a movement and this movement accomplished many things. The world today is fundamentally different from the world 45 years ago. The actions for civil rights, human rights, women’s rights and environmental protection, resistance against oppression and violence have substantially influenced the world.”—Noam Chomsky
“The general principles are clear and explicit: free markets are fine for the Third World and its growing counterpart at home. Mothers with dependent children can be sternly lectured on the need for self-reliance, but not dependent executives and investors, please. For them, the welfare state must flourish.”—Powers and Prospects - Noam Chomsky