Chomsky on the Contours of Global Order

By Jamie

21 April 2011

Noam Chomsky speaking in March:

Noam Chomsky in Amsterdam (13-03-2011) from Chomsky in Nederland on Vimeo.

TomDispatch has published a typically wide-ranging essay by Chomsky based on this talk, covering the ‘Arab Spring’, US foreign policy in the Middle East, neoliberalism, immigration and the inability of existing institutions to prevent catastrophic climate change, or indeed to do anything other than accelerate it. He concludes:

“I do not want to end without mentioning another externality that is dismissed in market systems: the fate of the species. Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed. That it must be destroyed is close to an institutional imperative. Business leaders who are conducting propaganda campaigns to convince the population that anthropogenic global warming is a liberal hoax understand full well how grave is the threat, but they must maximize short-term profit and market share. If they don’t, someone else will.

This vicious cycle could well turn out to be lethal. To see how grave the danger is, simply have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood.

If such things were happening in some small and remote country, we might laugh. Not when they are happening in the richest and most powerful country in the world. And before we laugh, we might also bear in mind that the current economic crisis is traceable in no small measure to the fanatic faith in such dogmas as the efficient market hypothesis, and in general to what Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, 15 years ago, called the “religion” that markets know best—which prevented the central bank and the economics profession from taking notice of an $8 trillion housing bubble that had no basis at all in economic fundamentals, and that devastated the economy when it burst.

All of this, and much more, can proceed as long as the Muashar doctrine prevails. As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.”

Key words: 


Leave a comment
Share this post

3 Comments on "Chomsky on the Contours of Global Order"

By george berreman, on 21 April 2011 - 22:42 |

 Muashar doctrine, what is it?

By JamieSW, on 21 April 2011 - 22:52 |

Hi George - from the piece:

“Elite contempt for democracy was revealed dramatically in the reaction to the WikiLeaks exposures. Those that received most attention, with euphoric commentary, were cables reporting that Arabs support the U.S. stand on Iran. The reference was to the ruling dictators. The attitudes of the public were unmentioned. The guiding principle was articulated clearly by Carnegie Endowment Middle East specialist Marwan Muasher, formerly a high official of the Jordanian government: “There is nothing wrong, everything is under control.” In short, if the dictators support us, what else could matter?

The Muasher doctrine is rational and venerable. To mention just one case that is highly relevant today, in internal discussion in 1958, president Eisenhower expressed concern about “the campaign of hatred” against us in the Arab world, not by governments, but by the people. The National Security Council (NSC) explained that there is a perception in the Arab world that the U.S. supports dictatorships and blocks democracy and development so as to ensure control over the resources of the region. Furthermore, the perception is basically accurate, the NSC concluded, and that is what we should be doing, relying on the Muasher doctrine. Pentagon studies conducted after 9/11 confirmed that the same holds today.”

By george berreman, on 22 April 2011 - 00:25 |

Thanks JamieSW, I read a short version.

Have your say...

All comments are moderated, and should be respectful of other voices in the discussion. Comments may be edited or deleted at the moderator's discretion.

(HTML allowed)

(required)

(required)

 

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?