counter create hit Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order

Availability: Ready to download

In Profit Over People, Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide. By examining the contradictions between the democratic and market principles proclaimed by those in power and those actually practiced, Chomsky critiques the tyranny of the few that restricts the public aren In Profit Over People, Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide. By examining the contradictions between the democratic and market principles proclaimed by those in power and those actually practiced, Chomsky critiques the tyranny of the few that restricts the public arena and enacts policies that vastly increase private wealth, often with complete disregard for social and ecological consequences. Combining detailed historical examples and uncompromising criticism, Chomsky offers a profound sense of hope that social activism can reclaim people's rights as citizens rather than as consumers, redefining democracy as a global movement, not a global market.


Compare

In Profit Over People, Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide. By examining the contradictions between the democratic and market principles proclaimed by those in power and those actually practiced, Chomsky critiques the tyranny of the few that restricts the public aren In Profit Over People, Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide. By examining the contradictions between the democratic and market principles proclaimed by those in power and those actually practiced, Chomsky critiques the tyranny of the few that restricts the public arena and enacts policies that vastly increase private wealth, often with complete disregard for social and ecological consequences. Combining detailed historical examples and uncompromising criticism, Chomsky offers a profound sense of hope that social activism can reclaim people's rights as citizens rather than as consumers, redefining democracy as a global movement, not a global market.

30 review for Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    This book didn’t quite do what I was hoping it would do. I was hoping for a more or less comprehensive left wing critique of neoliberal economic theory. What I got was a critique of the effects of neoliberal economic theory. Those are two quite different things. Let me explain. Neoliberalism (and I have to say that I find it remarkably amusing that my spell checker does not recognise the term – what would Chomsky have to say about that little factoid?) holds that anything that hinders the free o This book didn’t quite do what I was hoping it would do. I was hoping for a more or less comprehensive left wing critique of neoliberal economic theory. What I got was a critique of the effects of neoliberal economic theory. Those are two quite different things. Let me explain. Neoliberalism (and I have to say that I find it remarkably amusing that my spell checker does not recognise the term – what would Chomsky have to say about that little factoid?) holds that anything that hinders the free operation of the market is by definition counter to the effective development of the economy and also anti-democratic. Because hindering freedom of markets makes markets less efficient (the proof offered for this is generally either the Soviet Union or rent control laws) this means that the economy does not produce as much as they otherwise might – putting a fetter on production reduces people’s living standards by as much as those productive forces have been hindered. Progress – economic progress, that is – is the core requirement for social progress and therefore anything that hinders economic progress also hinders social progress. It is taken for granted that free markets are always the most productive economic formation. In the long line of equalities free markets are the core and they can be translated as ‘free trade’ or even ‘democracy’ as the mood takes you. There are two ways that the ideas of neoliberalism can be attacked, I think. ‘The first is by challenging its fundamental assumptions, by questioning such ideas as the complementary nature of international trade or the invisible hand and optimally efficient nature of free markets. Much of this work has been done by Galbraith in his The New Industrial State– and although a fascinating book, one that was written a long while ago and so neoliberals can find ways to squirm out of some of his conclusions. The other way to criticise neoliberalism is how Chomsky attacks the subject here (and I have to say that I would have preferred him, at least in part, to have approached the subject more from the first line of attack). Chomsky shows, and quite convincingly, I feel, that whether or not the neoliberal assumptions are right or wrong, the one thing that can be said with certainty is that no one, particularly no one with any power, is seeking to introduce anything like free markets in anything other than words. This is particularly true in the United States, which Chomsky points out is one of the most protected economies in the world. In fact, the most interesting thing that can be said about neoliberalism is that it is remarkable in its ability to so completely act and speak in ways that are opposite to each other. All of the talk is of free markets; all of the actions are protectionist. This book was worth reading as much for the discussion of US involvement in Haiti as anything else. He makes the interesting point that if you are a third world country and you want to develop the last thing you need is a superpower showing any interest in you. The US has had intimate involvement in Haiti for a century and this has only assured Haiti became the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, sucked dry by US investment. As Chomsky makes plain, aid is never about helping the poor, aid is about expanding the reach of local and transnational corporations at the expense of local communities. The increasing poverty of the vast majority of citizens in countries such as Haiti and Colombia make fascinating case studies. However, the discussion on the victory of people over the attempted secret implementation of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) saves this book from being a chronicle of despair and offers hope where you might think none was likely. I’ve always thought it a little ironic that Mai is Italian for ‘never’… Hard to think of a better acronym. There are important lessons to be learnt from the failed implementation of this most potentially evil of all agreements. The first is to do the with the secrecy that surrounded its negotiation. It is clear from Chomsky’s book that even members of the US government did not know that it was being negotiated, even though negotiations had been going on between international governments for three years. It is also clear that the only reason why anyone knew about the negotiations before the MAI would have been introduced was because people had somehow gotten hold of a copy of the draft agreement and made it available on the internet. The agreement sought to make it illegal for national governments to create any barriers to foreign investment. The MAI sought to allow investors the right to sue governments if they introduced policies that adversely affected their investments. For example, if a company invested in a local fishery and the national government introduced fishing quotas to avoid over fishing then the company would have been able to sue the government. Naturally, the government would not have a reciprocal right to sue the investors. The effect would have been a reduction of all environmental and labour laws to the lowest common denominator. The other thing that is of interest about MAI is that it was the Clinton Administration that sought to introduce it. As my mate Gore Vidal once said, the eagle that symbolises the United States is a bird with two right wings. MAI was not discussed in the press until the press was forced to talk about it by a popular movement of environmentalist, trade unionists, church groups and concerned citizens who simply would not accept that their government, acting solely in the interests of corporate America, should be allowed to take away citizen’s rights in secret. The mass movement that started because of the MAI finally killed off this agreement. Early in the book Chomsky quotes Hume who wondered at the odd fact that those who are ruled put up with their rulers when clearly in anything like a fair fight the rulers wouldn’t stand a chance. The point is that rulers make sure the fight is never fair. The media referred to the mass movement against the introduction of the MAI as hordes of vigilantes – actually, they were people like you and me – the overwhelming majority of the citizens of a country. But as Chomsky points out elsewhere, the best way to suppress an idea is to marginalise it. The lesson that should be drawn from this victory is how much can be achieved when people say ‘enough’. Perhaps a natural disaster in Haiti will be enough to ensure that people do not allow the economic disaster Haiti has had to suffer for over 100 years to continue. If things go as they normally do in these cases the opposite will be the case and yet more will be taken from the poor. ps I read the kindle edition of this book, and must say that the index was a waste of space. A linked index would have been a useful thing - something for the people at Amazon to think about, perhaps.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Shepherd

    It is astonishing to see how remarkably similar America’s two political parties actually are once the platitudes of pretense are stripped away. I found that realization to be a tough pill to swallow, especially now when polarization and tribalism seem to be at historic highs, but no one articulates an “inconvenient truth” better than Noam Chomsky. Speaking to us from the relative calm of 1999, Chomsky parts the curtains of deception to reveal that the policies enacted by both parties represent t It is astonishing to see how remarkably similar America’s two political parties actually are once the platitudes of pretense are stripped away. I found that realization to be a tough pill to swallow, especially now when polarization and tribalism seem to be at historic highs, but no one articulates an “inconvenient truth” better than Noam Chomsky. Speaking to us from the relative calm of 1999, Chomsky parts the curtains of deception to reveal that the policies enacted by both parties represent the financial interests of large corporations and wealthy investors. Generations of carefully crafted political messaging have been so successful that constituents, myself included, rarely question their intent. As a result, environmental regulations have slowly eroded, taxes on the wealthiest among us have all but disappeared, public education is in shambles, and social safety nets are being dismantled. All of these things are being done under the guise of doing tremendous service to the public and the environment. “[David Hume, 1711-1776] concluded that government is founded on control of opinion, a principle that “extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as the most free and most popular.” ...a more accurate version is that the more “free and popular” a government, the more it becomes necessary to rely on control of opinion to ensure submission to the rulers.” The message being: “Don’t worry. The politicians obviously have our best interests at heart. Nothing to see here. Move along.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maanasa

    I am almost embarrassed to say that this was my first introduction to the concept of neoliberalism, and how it is distinct from classical liberalism. Classical liberalism focuses on protecting the rights of the individual from government interference, whereas neoliberalism focuses on promoting economic prosperity by giving businesses freedom from regulation in the ultimate hope (in theory, at least) of the trickle down. Noam Chomsky does little to attack neoliberalism as an economic theory in th I am almost embarrassed to say that this was my first introduction to the concept of neoliberalism, and how it is distinct from classical liberalism. Classical liberalism focuses on protecting the rights of the individual from government interference, whereas neoliberalism focuses on promoting economic prosperity by giving businesses freedom from regulation in the ultimate hope (in theory, at least) of the trickle down. Noam Chomsky does little to attack neoliberalism as an economic theory in this book; I suppose that is not his area of expertise any way, but he sure does succeed in bringing to the reader's attention the hypocrisy of those (read government and big business) who hark on "free market" principles while actually insulating big business from the costs and risks of doing business. Chomsky further focuses his attention on how neoliberal doctrine dictates the foreign policy of the US and other developed countries. That US interference abroad, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, has little to do with "promoting democracy" and more to do with paving (or smoothing) the way for US investors by propping up US-friendly regimes in these countries is something that most cynics have suspected for a long time. Chomsky basically compiles information to confirm these suspicions by citing to hitherto classified or obscure government documents. Chomsky does wrap up this book by shifting away from all this doom and gloom to show that there is hope after all. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment was a treaty that was under negotiations between countries in secret for years before a draft was leaked to the public and the legislative branches of the countries' governments. The treaty, if enacted, would have stopped a signatory government from passing regulations that would hamper the functioning of transnational corporations in their country, while opening the country up to law suits from the company. This treaty created an uproar amongst labor unions and environmental groups, resulting in its ultimate failure. The media and government blamed "fringe" elements in society for this "setback," but Chomsky makes sure to let the reader know that the entities against this treaty were far from being fringe. Overall, Chomsky asks his readers to be informed, involved and to constantly question the propaganda machine. This said, why did I give the book only 3 stars? Because while the message of the book and the information contained in it deserves attention, the book itself could have been better written. First, I was surprised to notice that the book is a collection of articles by Chomsky on the topic resulting in lack of flow and a whole lot of repetition. Second, Chomsky's tone is HEAVILY sarcastic. While I enjoy sarcasm as much as the next person, I did think that, as a literary tool, it was used pretty heavy handedly. I don't usually expect that from my non-fiction books, and I thought that it really took away from the importance of his arguments. My third quibble with the book is that Chomsky, at first glance, makes it seem like there is a mass conspiracy and collusion between the government and the business entities focused on subjugating the general masses, but it's only the assiduous reader who notices that he doesn't exactly mean that. What Chomsky really means to say is that there is a de facto subjugation thanks to the inertia of a system with a focus on profit-making by individual companies, political parties' all consuming need for campaign support and finance to stay afloat, and a mostly uninvolved public. However, he doesn't quite succeed in maintaining this important distinction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This book is important, but at this point it's too outdated. This is still fighting the neoliberalism of the 1990s. It has shifted at this point beyond the trade wars. This book is important, but at this point it's too outdated. This is still fighting the neoliberalism of the 1990s. It has shifted at this point beyond the trade wars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julian Worker

    Chomsky traces the history of neoliberalism from the Reagan / Thatcher years through to the 1990s via a series of free trade agreements. Neoliberalism refers to the policies and processes whereby relatively few private interests are allowed to dominate as much as possible of people's social lives in order to maximise their profits. Chomsky analyses how resistance to this suffocating programme has operated, allowing us to find a way out of the private interest's net that is threatening to envelop Chomsky traces the history of neoliberalism from the Reagan / Thatcher years through to the 1990s via a series of free trade agreements. Neoliberalism refers to the policies and processes whereby relatively few private interests are allowed to dominate as much as possible of people's social lives in order to maximise their profits. Chomsky analyses how resistance to this suffocating programme has operated, allowing us to find a way out of the private interest's net that is threatening to envelop us all and stifle our voices. These private interests have replaced our inherent care for each other with a profit motive that could make us all greedy if we go along with their ideas.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Chomsky has a gift for picking apart convincingly the arguments that others use to support the Global status quo. In this book he discusses how "free trade" really isn't free and how US and Western European policies have helped keep the undeveloped world poor. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who voted for Bush. Chomsky has a gift for picking apart convincingly the arguments that others use to support the Global status quo. In this book he discusses how "free trade" really isn't free and how US and Western European policies have helped keep the undeveloped world poor. Not for the faint of heart or anyone who voted for Bush.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    If you are looking for a comprehensive theoretical analysis of neoliberalism, check out David Harvey's super-readable, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. If you just want some of that pure, uncut, 1999 Seattle WTO protest-era Chomsky, this is your jam. If you are looking for a comprehensive theoretical analysis of neoliberalism, check out David Harvey's super-readable, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. If you just want some of that pure, uncut, 1999 Seattle WTO protest-era Chomsky, this is your jam.

  8. 5 out of 5

    A

    I got 50% through this book before deciding that going through the rest would kind of be a waste of time. I just wasn't getting anything out of this book, and thought it was kind of junky. I'll give it two stars because maybe the second half is really great, and I do think there is value in keeping us aware of bad policy and hypocrisy in our history/present. Chomsky seems to follow a format in each piece (it's not really a book, but a collection of shorter essays and pieces): (1) make a caricatur I got 50% through this book before deciding that going through the rest would kind of be a waste of time. I just wasn't getting anything out of this book, and thought it was kind of junky. I'll give it two stars because maybe the second half is really great, and I do think there is value in keeping us aware of bad policy and hypocrisy in our history/present. Chomsky seems to follow a format in each piece (it's not really a book, but a collection of shorter essays and pieces): (1) make a caricature of a certain view/claim/opinion, throwing in lots of hyperbole (2) pick a bunch of one line quotes from policymakers (often from 100 years ago) or other "authoritative" figures (an unnamed "leading business figure") without much context (3) "translate" for us what there people are REALLY saying, (4) and then jump around through a bunch of sometimes related examples to show that there has been inconsistency, contradiction, or hypocrisy in U.S. policy (shocking) (5) repeat I was actually pretty disappointed, and expected more penetrating/original analysis. Pointing out that there has been hypocrisy, contradictions, and exploitation over the centuries of U.S. policy shouldn't surprise anyone...but also doesn't prove anything about current policy proposals/debates/decisions. And I'm frankly not sure how much current policymakers really care about what James Madison or John Foster Dulles would think about any current issue...views evolve. The analysis of globalization is also pretty dated, and a lot seems kind of wrong in retrospect. For example, he characterises parts of the WTO as just intended to help U.S. telecommunications companies take over state run telecommunications firms abroad. I'm not an expert in this and might be wrong...but ten years later a Japanese telecom is buying Sprint, Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile, and I'm not aware of AT&T or Verizon's huge domination of many foreign markets.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Description: In "Profit Over People," Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide. By examining the contradictions between the democratic and market principles proclaimed by those in power and those actually practiced, Chomsky critiques the tyranny of the few that restricts the public arena and enacts policies that vastly increase private wealth, often with complete disregard for social and ecolog Description: In "Profit Over People," Noam Chomsky takes on neoliberalism: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide. By examining the contradictions between the democratic and market principles proclaimed by those in power and those actually practiced, Chomsky critiques the tyranny of the few that restricts the public arena and enacts policies that vastly increase private wealth, often with complete disregard for social and ecological consequences. Combining detailed historical examples and uncompromising criticism, Chomsky offers a profound sense of hope that social activism can reclaim people's rights as citizens rather than as consumers, redefining democracy as a global movement, not a global market. Neoliberalism is fascism with the gloves off - trickle down economics. Instead of citizens, consumers are produced. Fascism and Corporate Capitalism |Noam Chomsky

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adam Ross

    Chomsky makes some good points, but in his central thesis he misunderstands the free market. The argument of this book is that the rhetoric of capitalism and Milton Friedman's neo-liberalism have been used by the uber-mega corporations to keep themselves in power. This is certainly true of the Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hanity neo-conservative movement. I have personally heard Limbaugh shill for the mega corporations on his show, and this constitutes a misunderstanding of the free market and how huge co Chomsky makes some good points, but in his central thesis he misunderstands the free market. The argument of this book is that the rhetoric of capitalism and Milton Friedman's neo-liberalism have been used by the uber-mega corporations to keep themselves in power. This is certainly true of the Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hanity neo-conservative movement. I have personally heard Limbaugh shill for the mega corporations on his show, and this constitutes a misunderstanding of the free market and how huge corporations are formed. Chomsky falls into the same misunderstanding. The free market does not make huge corporations. The free market encourages competition between businesses. Huge corporations are formed by the government not enforcing its anti-trust laws and protecting the corporations from meaningful competition. The bigger a corporation gets, the more it wants to be shielded from real competition, and the government readily complies. That isn't the free market. If you want to call it capitalism, go ahead. But it isn't the free market and its really more like "crapitalism." Anyway, Chomsky points out a lot of the evil that these huge corporations have done overseas and around the world, and all that I can readily grant. The problem is that he blames the free market for the origination of the huge corporations. Sorry Noam. Not even close on that one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dami

    Collection of essays and speeches on the topic of neoliberalism. Difficult to get through the book quickly because some things are so outrageous and leave you filled with rage at the injustice. Would recommend reading if you want to really see how 'democracy' works in the current neoliberal system, however it will not give you an introduction to what neoliberalism is or any solutions on how to have a popular involvement in democracy. Collection of essays and speeches on the topic of neoliberalism. Difficult to get through the book quickly because some things are so outrageous and leave you filled with rage at the injustice. Would recommend reading if you want to really see how 'democracy' works in the current neoliberal system, however it will not give you an introduction to what neoliberalism is or any solutions on how to have a popular involvement in democracy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ross Sheddon

    Not always the most balanced, but overall neo-liberalim just makes you sad.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ali Benam

    I was looking for deeper explorations into the theory of neoliberalism, however the title could be "A History of Neoliberalism". I was looking for deeper explorations into the theory of neoliberalism, however the title could be "A History of Neoliberalism".

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shira

    This book, while a bit dated in some respects, like Dr. King's Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, is still quite relevant, and full of useful references, as well as a very useful index. Chomsky critiques various parts of the structural and policy-based problems with our world system, but in general does not offer a comprehensive set of action-items that would lead to a solution, nor to a larger vision with specific goals. Nevertheless, his book provides needed material on which to bu This book, while a bit dated in some respects, like Dr. King's Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, is still quite relevant, and full of useful references, as well as a very useful index. Chomsky critiques various parts of the structural and policy-based problems with our world system, but in general does not offer a comprehensive set of action-items that would lead to a solution, nor to a larger vision with specific goals. Nevertheless, his book provides needed material on which to build larger solution sets for all of us. Let's #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: ( 1. #libraries, 2. #ProBono legal aid and Education, 3. #UniversalHealthCare , and 4. good #publictransport ) Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk ! #PublicDomainInfrastructure ShiraDest April, 12019 HE

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    A collection of essays critiquing neoliberalism, or "capitalism with the gloves off," this book feels very dated in 2020 and is more of a history than an explanation of theory. “Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time—it refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit.” “That is neoliberal democracy in a nutshell: trivial debate o A collection of essays critiquing neoliberalism, or "capitalism with the gloves off," this book feels very dated in 2020 and is more of a history than an explanation of theory. “Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time—it refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit.” “That is neoliberal democracy in a nutshell: trivial debate over minor issues by parties that basically pursue the same pro-business policies regardless of formal differences and campaign debate. Democracy is permissible as long as the control of business is off-limits to popular deliberation or change; i.e. so long as it isn’t democracy.”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea

    This anthology of lectures and articles regarding the "Washington Consensus" and what's called global "free trade" was a quick and to the point kind of book. Chomsky gives a detailed history of the global trade bodies like the WTO, IMF/WB, the MAI, the Trilateral Commission, and trade agreements like NAFTA. In his classic way, Chomsky critiques these institutions and points out the extremely harmful effects for humans and the earth as well as pointing out the hypocrisy they call democracy. Choms This anthology of lectures and articles regarding the "Washington Consensus" and what's called global "free trade" was a quick and to the point kind of book. Chomsky gives a detailed history of the global trade bodies like the WTO, IMF/WB, the MAI, the Trilateral Commission, and trade agreements like NAFTA. In his classic way, Chomsky critiques these institutions and points out the extremely harmful effects for humans and the earth as well as pointing out the hypocrisy they call democracy. Chomsky always ends with a bit of hope in the common sense of the people organized to take back what the tyrants of the modern day have claimed as their own. A powerful indictment against the global economic system. I gave it three stars simply because I've read about this through Chomsky before, so it wasn't very fresh. It was also written in the nineties which made it somewhat dated--however it was interesting to see where he was coming from at that time and be able to see where we are now and how right he was in his critique.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Davie

    Chomsky reveals here the systematic disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the population. What's particularly interesting is his view of corporations, through judicial precedent and gradual change the company has somehow been bestowed with the rights of a human being, and considering it's immortality, can make better use of them. Why do we put up with living in a society defined by these totalitarian tyrannies? Is a country really democratic if popular opinions on critical issues are consta Chomsky reveals here the systematic disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the population. What's particularly interesting is his view of corporations, through judicial precedent and gradual change the company has somehow been bestowed with the rights of a human being, and considering it's immortality, can make better use of them. Why do we put up with living in a society defined by these totalitarian tyrannies? Is a country really democratic if popular opinions on critical issues are constantly ignored in favour of extremely short term profit seeing by abovementioned companies? Reading quotations of the sheer terror of the elite at the very thought of the population actually having power rather than the optimates is like having the scales removed from your eyes. Though it is heartening. To make their fears a reality all we need to do is realise the corruption of our society and do something about it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    C. Scott

    A nice companion piece with Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine... this one helps fill in some of the deep history of the early Neoliberal shift in the global economy. I must say this book didn't grab me quite as much as some of the other Chomsky I've read, but the broader message about power's attempts to keep the "ultimate weapon" (i.e. the public)from knowing what's behind the "thin veil of secrecy" is still a very important one to keep in mind. A nice companion piece with Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine... this one helps fill in some of the deep history of the early Neoliberal shift in the global economy. I must say this book didn't grab me quite as much as some of the other Chomsky I've read, but the broader message about power's attempts to keep the "ultimate weapon" (i.e. the public)from knowing what's behind the "thin veil of secrecy" is still a very important one to keep in mind.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I have been familiar with Chomsky’s work previously through liberation theology and his collaboration with Paul Farmer regarding Haiti with the preferential option for the poor. But I’ve never actually read Chomsky myself until now. With this book published in 1998, some of the examples of destructive neoliberalism were less familiar to me, but the storyline seems pretty much the same in recent years (especially the 2008 financial bailout): privatizing profits and socializing losses. Some points I have been familiar with Chomsky’s work previously through liberation theology and his collaboration with Paul Farmer regarding Haiti with the preferential option for the poor. But I’ve never actually read Chomsky myself until now. With this book published in 1998, some of the examples of destructive neoliberalism were less familiar to me, but the storyline seems pretty much the same in recent years (especially the 2008 financial bailout): privatizing profits and socializing losses. Some points that I found interesting were how recently the percentage of global capital that is speculative capital has skyrocketed. I didn’t realize just how dominant speculative capital is and how it contributes to a false sense of stability. It also inevitably creates a “low growth, low wage, high profit future.” This reminded me of “The Great Divide” by Joseph Stiglitz where he differentiates between wealth and capital. The conflation of these two seems to have contributed to the widespread myth of ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ I also learned from this book that Adam Smith, who is well known for contributing to free market theory, actually supported government regulation of markets in favor of the working class and called for equality of outcome. I’d never heard of that before. Along these lines, Chomsky argues that free trade with the regulation of capital is vastly different from the free flow of capital—the latter of which ends up imposing its own social policies. I also thought Chomsky’s discussion of “collectivist legal entities” not only having the same rights as people, but having more rights than people, was also fascinating (and depressing). Finally, it was interesting to read this book while also reading “Haiti: After the Earthquake” by Paul Farmer, because both Chomsky and Farmer were vocal critics of the Clinton administration’s policy towards Haiti, in violently undermining Aristide’s presidency after being the first democratically elected Haitian government. And yet, Clinton and Farmer have now partnered together for many years regarding Haiti, and according to “Haiti” by Farmer, Clinton claims one of his biggest mistakes as president was his policy towards Haiti. It was just interesting to read these at the same time, and I do wonder what changed for Clinton.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    "The notion that there can be no superior alternative to the status quo is more farfetched today than ever, in the era when there are mind-boggling technologies for bettering the human condition. It is true that it remains unclear how to establish a viable, free, and humane post-capitalist order, and the very notion has a utopian air about it. But every advance in history, from ending slavery and establishing democracy to ending formal colonialism, has had to conquer the notion at some point tha "The notion that there can be no superior alternative to the status quo is more farfetched today than ever, in the era when there are mind-boggling technologies for bettering the human condition. It is true that it remains unclear how to establish a viable, free, and humane post-capitalist order, and the very notion has a utopian air about it. But every advance in history, from ending slavery and establishing democracy to ending formal colonialism, has had to conquer the notion at some point that it was impossible to do because it had never been done before." "...in a free and democratic society, workers must be 'the masters of their own industrial fate,' not tools rented by employers." "...by almost 20 to 1, the public believe that corporations 'should sometimes sacrifice some profit for the sake of making things better for their workers and communities.'"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I read this book recently along with "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" recently, this book is far more engaging. It's also a faster read, so I recommend it if you are interested in reading about neoliberalism. Neither are recent books, "Profit Over People" was written in 1998, and "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" in 2005. Some quotes: “The term neoliberalism is largely unknown and unused by the public-at-large, especially in the United States. There, to the contrary, neoliberal initiatives are I read this book recently along with "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" recently, this book is far more engaging. It's also a faster read, so I recommend it if you are interested in reading about neoliberalism. Neither are recent books, "Profit Over People" was written in 1998, and "A Brief History of Neoliberalism" in 2005. Some quotes: “The term neoliberalism is largely unknown and unused by the public-at-large, especially in the United States. There, to the contrary, neoliberal initiatives are characterized as free market policies that encourage private enterprise and consumer choice, reward personal responsibility and entrepreneurial initiative, and undermine the dead hand of the incompetent, bureaucratic and parasitic government, that can never do good even if well intended, which it rarely is.“ "The economic consequences of these policies have been the same just about everywhere, and exactly what one would expect: a massive increase in social and economic inequality, a marked increase in severe deprivation for the poorest nations and peoples of the world, a disastrous global environment, an unstable global economy and an unprecedented bonanza for the wealthy. Confronted with these facts, defenders of the neoliberal order claim that the spoils of the good life will invariably spread to the broad mass of the population—as long as the neoliberal policies that exacerbated these problems are not interfered with!” “A group of prominent Japanese economists recently published a multivolume review of Japan’s programs of economic development since World War II. They point out that Japan rejected the neoliberal doctrines of their US advisers, choosing instead a form of industrial policy that assigned a predominant role to the state. Market mechanisms were gradually introduced by the state bureaucracy and industrial-financial conglomerates as prospects for commercial success increased. The rejection of orthodox economic precepts was a condition for the “Japanese miracle,” the economists conclude. The success is impressive. With virtually no resource base, Japan became the world’s biggest manufacturing economy by the 1990s and the world’s leading source of foreign investment, also accounting for half the world’s net savings and financing US deficits." “Let’s now look at the doctrines that have been crafted to impose the modern forms of political democracy. They are expressed quite accurately in an important manual of the public relations industry by one of its leading figures, Edward Bernays. He opens by observing that “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.” To carry out this essential task, “the intelligent minorities must make use of propaganda continuously and systematically,” because they alone “understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses” and can “pull the wires which control the public mind.” Therefore, our “society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda,” another case of “consent without consent.” Propaganda provides the leadership with a mechanism “to mold the mind of the masses” so that “they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction.” The leadership can “regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers.” This process of “engineering consent” is the very “essence of the democratic process,” Bernays wrote shortly before he was honored for his contributions by the American Psychological Association in 1949.“ “More than 80 percent of the public think that the government is “run for the benefit of the few and the special interests, not the people,” up from about 50 percent in earlier years. Over 80 percent believe that the economic system is “inherently unfair,” and that working people have too little say in what goes on in the country. More than 70 percent feel that “business has gained too much power over too many aspects of American life.” And by almost 20 to 1, the public believe that corporations “should sometimes sacrifice some profit for the sake of making things better for their workers and communities.”“

  22. 5 out of 5

    Redouan Elkham

    What a clever logical analysis this book is, and what a real humanist scholar Chomsky is; throughout this stunning work ones could easily grasp how this world is operating and oppressing , exploiting, deceiving by the super powers mainly US; a top down fake democracy serve the ends of the latter and bring about all images of suffering to poor and underdeveloped countries.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    I was disappointed by this book by Chomsky. The introduction written by McChesney is not consistent with the entire rest of the book. McChesney goes off on classical liberal doctrine. Then Chomsky goes off on business-government collusion, but he can't seem to decide what he is against, and he ends up pointing fingers at everyone. I also don't like paying money for a book only to find out it is simply a collection of articles that the author decided to compile and then use his name to make extry I was disappointed by this book by Chomsky. The introduction written by McChesney is not consistent with the entire rest of the book. McChesney goes off on classical liberal doctrine. Then Chomsky goes off on business-government collusion, but he can't seem to decide what he is against, and he ends up pointing fingers at everyone. I also don't like paying money for a book only to find out it is simply a collection of articles that the author decided to compile and then use his name to make extry money by calling it a new book. I guess I should've done my homework. The title is what caught my attention, but if you're interested in such a topic then read Korten's WHEN CORPORATIONS RULE THE WORLD. It is much better, even though it's much bigger.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Javier Villar

    Everything is a projection. That the delusional and sad win-lose view of the world that this man lives in is encouraged or labeled as genius is upsetting. By the way, he doesn't know how to write. Everything is a projection. That the delusional and sad win-lose view of the world that this man lives in is encouraged or labeled as genius is upsetting. By the way, he doesn't know how to write.

  25. 5 out of 5

    C A

    government is founded on control of opinion, a principle that extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” “The people who own the country ought to govern it.” One issues remained to be settled: Who owns the country? The question was answered by government is founded on control of opinion, a principle that extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular. “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” “The people who own the country ought to govern it.” One issues remained to be settled: Who owns the country? The question was answered by the rise of private corporations and structures devised to protect and support them. The primary responsibility of government is “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.” The intelligent minority are a “specialized class” who are responsible for setting policy and for “the formation of a sound public opinion,”. They must be free from interference by the general public, who are “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders.” The public must “be put in its place,”.their “function” is to be “spectators of action,” not participants, apart from periodic electoral exercises when they choose among the specialized class. Leaders must be free to operate in “technocratic insulation,”. The masses must be controlled for their own good, and in more democratic societies, where force is unavailable, social managers must turn to “a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda.” David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, and other great figures of classical economics announced that the we only harm the poor by trying to help them, and that the best gift we can offer the suffering masses is to free them from the delusion that they have a right to live.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    Great book with some key points about both the proletariat and the power of the junta, though could be far more informative with regards to specifics in the advertisement center and a more critical analysis of those who are specifically running these organizations, board of directors etc. --but really, an awesome addition to Chomsky's work and particularly informative on the history of worker movements and the wrangling of profit from a practical and philosophical perspective. Great book with some key points about both the proletariat and the power of the junta, though could be far more informative with regards to specifics in the advertisement center and a more critical analysis of those who are specifically running these organizations, board of directors etc. --but really, an awesome addition to Chomsky's work and particularly informative on the history of worker movements and the wrangling of profit from a practical and philosophical perspective.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maciej Bliziński

    [My two stars refer to the way the book is written, not the opinions.] I picked up the book to learn what is neoliberalism, and understand it in the current context. It worked to a limited extent. I missed a lot of required background for the book. The book didn't explain what NAFTA was, or other discussed trade agreements. The book looks suitable for someone who keeps up with the current affairs (or did so in the '90s), knows the jargon, and is interested in Noam Chomsky's take on them. It won't [My two stars refer to the way the book is written, not the opinions.] I picked up the book to learn what is neoliberalism, and understand it in the current context. It worked to a limited extent. I missed a lot of required background for the book. The book didn't explain what NAFTA was, or other discussed trade agreements. The book looks suitable for someone who keeps up with the current affairs (or did so in the '90s), knows the jargon, and is interested in Noam Chomsky's take on them. It won't do a good job of introducing you to the subject. (I'm open for suggestions!)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mati Kucz

    Fascinating arguments about the state of capitalism and democracy, and where the intersection of the two is misaligned. Although written decades ago, it is eerily prophetic of the current state of the world both politically and economically. Regardless of your political and economic leanings, it is a worthwhile read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luke Fowler

    What if I told you that money was the root of all evil

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elsie

    This is depressing! But vital to understand.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.