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Forum Post: Noam Chomsky: "Democracy Under Capitalism"

Posted 1 year ago on Oct. 8, 2012, 10:56 p.m. EST by Krypton (73)
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An excerpt from his book, "Understanding Power", from a speech given in 1989...

"In our society, real power does not happen to lie in the political system, it lies in the private economy: that’s where the decisions are made about what’s produced, how much is produced, what’s consumed, where investment takes place, who has jobs, who controls the resources, and so on and so forth. And as long as that remains the case, changes inside the political system can make some difference – I don’t want to say it’s zero – but the differences are going to be very slight.

In fact, if you think through the logic of this, you’ll see that so long as power remains privately concentrated, everybody, everybody, has to be committed to one overriding goal: and that’s to make sure that the rich folk are happy – because if they’re happy, then they’ll invest, and the economy will work, and things will function, and then maybe something will trickle down to you somewhere along the line. But if they’re not happy, everything’s going to grind to a halt, and you’re not even going to get anything trickling down. So if you’re a homeless person in the streets, your first concern is the happiness of the wealthy guys in the mansions and the fancy restaurants. Basically, that’s a metaphor for the whole society.

Like, suppose Massachusetts were to increase business taxes. Most of the population is in favor of it, but you can predict what would happen. Business would run a public relations campaign – which is true, in fact, it’s not lies – saying, “You raise taxes on business, you soak the rich, and you’ll find that capital is going to flow elsewhere, and you’re not going to have any jobs, you’re not going to have anything.” That’s not the way they’d put it exactly, but that’s what it would amount to: “Unless you make us happy you’re not going to have anything, because we own the place; you live here, but we own the place….” Unless you keep business happy, the population isn’t going to have anything."

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2 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 1 year ago

Does anyone think Chomsky's off base?

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Pandering to the wealthy, you mean?

If not for religion, they would have been hunted down and maybe even eaten.

Who could say what the place would be like after that?