‪Noam Chomsky: Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism In The Real World (1996)

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by Noam Chomsky
http://www.chomsky.info
Delivered at Harvard University, April 13, 1996
Transcription courtesy of William Greene

For those who are interested in the real world, a look at the actual history suggests some adjustment — a modification of free market theory, to what we might call “really existing free market theory.” That is, the one that’s actually applied, not talked about.

And the principle of really existing free market theory is: free markets are fine for you, but not for me. That’s, again, near a universal. So you — whoever you may be — you have to learn responsibility, and be subjected to market discipline, it’s good for your character, it’s tough love, and so on, and so forth. But me, I need the nanny State, to protect me from market discipline, so that I’ll be able to rant and rave about the marvels of the free market, while I’m getting properly subsidized and defended by everyone else, through the nanny State. And also, this has to be risk-free. So I’m perfectly willing to make profits, but I don’t want to take risks. If anything goes wrong, you bail me out.

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via Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism in the Real World, by Noam Chomsky (talk delivered at Harvard University)

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Note: replaced video June 29, 2018

Noam Chomsky – Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism In The Real World (Full Lecture)

infiniteinfiniteinfi on Aug 16, 2012

from the archives:

Noam Chomsky: The Clinton Vision – Old Wine, New Bottles (1994)

Hidden Holocaust, USA by Michael Parenti (1996)

Bernie Sanders: Shared Sacrifice (Full Speech)

Michael Parenti: Justice For Sale

The Financial Road to Serfdom by Michael Hudson

5 thoughts on “‪Noam Chomsky: Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism In The Real World (1996)

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  3. The economists define wealth and justice in terms of access to the market. Politicians echo the economists because the more dependent that people become upon the market, the more securely they can be roped into the fiscal and political hierarchy. Access to land is not simply a threat to landowning élites — it is a threat to the religion of unlimited economic growth and the power structure that depends upon it.
    The market (however attractive it may appear) is built on promises: the only source of wealth is the earth. Anyone who has land has access to energy, water, nourishment, shelter, healing, wisdom, ancestors and a grave. Ivan Illich spoke of “a society of convivial tools that allows men to achieve purposes with energy fully under their control”. The ultimate convivial tool, the mother of all the others, is the earth.
    Although the earth gives, it dictates its terms; and its terms alter from place to place. So it is that agriculture begets human culture; and cultural diversity, like biological diversity, flowers in obedience to the conditions that the earth imposes. The first and inevitable effect of the global market is to uproot and destroy land-based human cultures. The final and inevitable achievement of a rootless global market will be to destroy itself.
    In a shrunken world, taxed to keep the wheels of industry accelerating, land and its resources are increasingly contested. Six billion people compete to acquire land for a variety of conflicting uses: land for food, for water, for energy, for timber, for carbon sinks, for housing, for wildlife, for recreation, for investment. The politics of land — who owns it, who controls it and who has access to it — is more important than ever, though you might not think so from a superficial reading of government policy and the media. The purpose of this magazine is to focus attention back onto the politics of land.
    Rome fell; the Soviet Empire collapsed; the stars and stripes are fading in the west. Nothing is forever in history, except geography. Capitalism is a confidence trick, a dazzling edifice built on paper promises. It may stand longer than some of us anticipate, but when it crumbles, the land will remain.

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