The Current Crisis Viewed by Chomsky (I)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
At present, the whole world is on fire. Not only is Europe feeling the force of irrational violence, but all hopes for peace, for democracy and for fraternity that emerged with the new century are coming to an end. The result has been the political use of terror by the most radical sectors of human society in order to seize more power. Fear has become the most effective tool for this purpose. Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism have resurfaced, threatening those who think, love and believe differently from them.
In this essay I will refer to the ideas of the brilliant American thinker Noam Chomsky, who, at the age of 90, speaks of the need to build an ethical future, but more than anything to think of the environment as a basic and urgent political issue. Chomsky says that 'the effects of global warming will soon be more obvious than they already are. In Bangladesh, it is expected that 10 million peasants from low-lying plains will have to leave in the next few years because of rising sea levels and higher ambient temperatures. This would generate a migration crisis that would make the current one seem insignificant’
Chomsky has been a professor of linguistics and a brilliant figure among the intellectuals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who opposed the Vietnam War and he has dealt in depth with issues in religion, international politics, science and sports. He has always been a staunch critic of the mass media and despite his advanced age he continues to collaborate with social movements of peasants, students and workers.
Just a few days ago, the Colombian newspaper El Espectador ['The Spectator] asked him about the danger inherent in the resurgence of nationalism around the world, to which Chomsky replied that if nationalism is a way of reinforcing a sense of community and cultural identity it could be harmless and even benign, but if it is an expression of hostility, fear and intimidation it has a record of horror.
He was also asked what will happen to the State if globalization is occurring at the same time as xenophobia, to which Chomsky replied that in the leading societies in the world private and public power are very closely linked. In the US, the most powerful state in the world today, concentrations of private power have had an overwhelming influence on elections and policy-making, while at the same time they depend on the state to sustain their power and global reach.
Chomsky cites the example of a study by the IMF (International Monetary Fund), which found that the profits of the major US banks derive almost entirely from the benefits provided to them by the government-subsidy policy called 'too big to fail'.
Then another member of the team of analysts from El Espectador asked him why fear plays such an important role in today's world, to which Chomsky replied that the most important reason has been the impact of neoliberal policies over a 30-year period that have led to the impoverishment of the vast majority of the population, while wealth has been concentrated in a very small group and democracy has been disappearing.
Chomsky points out that in 2007, at the height of the neoliberal miracle, before the great crisis, inflation-adjusted wages for workers with no employees reporting to them were lower than in 1979 when the experiment was just beginning. This was a dramatic change from the period of unprecedented growth in the 1950s and 1960s. And the impact was much more severe in Latin America before such policies were recently abolished.
Addendum: Using my personal approach, I will continue with Chomsky's ideas about the current global crisis in the second part of this essay.