Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order
Noam Chomsky,Robert W. McChesney | 2003-07-01 00:00:00 | Seven Stories Press | 288 | Economics
In this thought-provoking new collection of essays, Noam Chomsky examines democracy in theory vs. democracy in action. The brilliant thinker reveals how the political and economic principles that have prevailed are far removed from those that are popularly proclaimed.
Chomsky is doing us a disservice by perpetuating false ideas that make it difficult to understand what is really going on. The lines are not where Chomsky draws them.
To clear up the confusion and get a sounder feel for the forces at play, there are books such as Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty or Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable (also at mises.org)
Has some devestating, well-argued and well-documented arguments against free market capitalism, and the level of violence, imperialism, poverty and exploitation that runs with this. Also good in articulating some of the grounds for confidence in challenging this, rather than merely casting doomsday scenarios. However, suffers from the classic structural problem of being a collection of shorter articles joined into one book, which causes a lot of redundnacy and a focus that's over-focused at points.
This was my first Chomsky book. I became interested in his work because my right-wing books bashed him & he was referenced several times in Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." I wanted to form my own opinion.
I was happily impressed. I have read all kinds of statements about him being anti-American, that he hates this country, etc. I didn't see that- if anything, I saw the opposite. I don't see him as anti-American at all. He is simply anti-Establishment, which is reality is the most pro-American stance we can have at this point. Our government, Democrat and Republican alike, is simply a show we watch from afar. We elect people that care more about Party lines and money than the people who voted them in. Chomsky simply demonstrates that point.
He is a bit wordy, and I found the millions of "quotations" around groups of words to be distracting. Once you get into the groove of his writing style and understand what he is saying, he makes a worthy read. He is biased, of course, and never mentions anything good that the government may have done, but you should know that coming into his work. It's kind of like reading a tabloid, albeit a well-written one, about the dirty laundry of our leadership. I was very happy with this book and will continue to read his writing in the future.
"Profit Over People" is very sobering work by McChesney and Chomsky about a topic that exists in virtually all aspects of our lives. However, it's rarely defined nor even mentioned in the American mainstream media. There are reasons for this. A lack of interest for details by the public and a mainstream media that doesn't cover the topic. In addition, the US was founded by and for the elitist oligarch minority that still runs the USA today. One powerful - yet peaceful - buffer to maintain power today, is by controlling of the mainstream media.
In the beginning stages of the United States as a nation-state, Madison wrote and voiced concerns over the masses participating in decision-making. He feared for interests of the small minority of aristocratic land-owners and wealth holders. This belief system and governmental structure continues to dominate, and is still reinforced by the mainstream media 235+ years later. The message is the same, but the medium of dissemination is different.
During the height of the Cold War, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles commented that the US is "hopelessly far far behind the Soviet Union in developing controls of the minds and emotions of unsophisticated peoples" (page 48). There are those who study media and propaganda who disagree with this statement. The US propaganda during the Cold War was very effective and comprehensive. But Foster's statement reveals how propaganda and manipulating "belief" is so important to the maintenance, growth, and utter survival of a nation-state. Especially if it's ideologically competing with a rival or enemy.
Today, Neo-Liberalism is a concept and contemporary policy composed of left, right, and center. Implicitly and explicitly influenced and controlled by, and motivated to focus on, benefiting the wealthy industries of less than 1,000 corporations. Ironically, as powerful a force as Neo-Liberalism is, this term is rarely if ever used in the the United States in the mainstream media.
One of the major points of Neo-Liberalism is the advocacy of free markets and "entrepreneurial drive" which ostensibly opposes bureaucracy and governmental interference, but in reality often does not. It depends to which interests are being catered to. Because of the massive financial backing, organization, and PR campaigns, few people in the United States question the motivations, the negative, the benefits, and results of Neo-Liberal policies. These policies have permeated into almost every level of political, economic, and cultural realms of US society. Again, Neo-Liberalism is not only an economic system but a cultural and political system as well.
All 3 are Intertwined. Enmeshed.
All of these 3 reinforce and support one another, and the economic, cultural, and political systems, are constantly reinforced by the mainstream media. One example among many, is the "NY Times" being consistently cited throughout this book, as being in support of Neo-Liberal policies and philosophies.
Question: who owns the top 5 media conglomerates in the USA?
Chomsky notes what more and more (but not enough) of the US public is starting to realize and believe according to polls, as of 2009: that politically, both political parties engage in trivial debates over minor, cosmetic issues. The 2 parties have the same interests, and the same supporters. It's only the packaging that's different.
Neo-Liberalism functions best when there are elections. The public is deluded into thinking they actually have a voice, and are actually participating in the falsehood of a "democratic" process that doesn't really exist.
Today in the year 2008 and beyond, these 1,000 organizations that run the US are more powerful, organized, and aggressive than ever. They are the masters.
This is where "democracies" inevitably lead, historically.
Apply "Profit Over People" to recent U.S. history and the last election cycle. The exclusive 2 parties: more similar that different. New faces, with basically the same policies and agenda. Both political parties lead the masses into the same direction, peppering us with the illusion of the two parties having differences with cosmetic and trivial sound-bytes.
As a distraction to occupy our myopic selves we have shopping malls, Costco, delicious foods, car payments, mortgages sports, Internet, and TV, to keep our minds occupied while the Neo-Liberal agenda progresses, solidifies, and expands worldwide.
"Profit Over People" is both informative and reader-friendly. Here is a historical quote about the phenomenon called "Bread and Circuses." It dates back to Roman times but is just as applicable today.
PANEM ET CIRCENSES
"The Latin "panem et circenses" (literally "bread and circuses") is a derogatory phrase which can describe either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment." --Unknown
Chomsky delivers yet again. There are a handful of books that come to mind when I think of books about Neoliberalism, Profit Over People is right on top of that list.
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