Profit over People
Neoliberalism and Global Order
Publisher: Seven Stories Press, New York, NY 10013, USA
Year Published: 1999
Pages: 176pp Price: $22.95 ISBN: 1-888363-82-7
Library of Congress Number: HB95.C516 1998 Dewey: 330.122 - dc21
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX6147
Chomsky confronts neoliberalsim: the pro-corporate system of economic and political policies presently waging a form of class war worldwide.
In this collection of essays, Noam Chomsky argues that, under the guise of rhetoric championing democracy and the free market, the privileged minority orchestrates the global order to its own advantage. He maintains that influential groups within powerful nations, elites seeking to govern on behalf the supposedly ignorant masses, serve their own interests to the detriment of the majority.
Chomsky asserts that triumphalism regarding the success of the free market and democracy following the American victory in the Cold War is unfounded. Not only has experience shown that proclamations of the "end of history" are premature, but the lauded principles also remain illusory in practice. The doctrine of the free market, for example, is rigorously applied only when it benefits dominant Western business interests. Protectionist policies, anathema to free trade dogma, are pursued when it is to the advantage of the powerful, predominantly the United States, but denounced when adopted by nations with less international might. American refusal to accept disadvantageous decisions of the World Trade Organization is a case in point.
Similarly, the triumph of democracy is hailed worldwide, while the voice of the majority is in fact absent from much substantial decision-making. Chomsky emphasizes that the undemocratic nature of crucial decision-making processes is rooted in an elitist attitude, one that sees the common people as unable to evaluate what is in the nation's interests and instead prioritizes the interests of the minority. The Multilateral Agreement on Investment of the late 1990s is given by Chomsky as an example of such efforts to marginalize the popular masses from the halls of power.
Although the privileged few may attempt to rule without the consent of their constituents or through the construction of consent by manipulation, Chomsky reminds the reader that the majority retains "the ultimate weapon", the power of the many over the privilege of the few.
[Abstract by Tara McElroy]
Table of Contents
Introduction by Robert W. McChesney
I. Neoliberalism and Global Order
II. Consent without Consent: Regimenting the Public Mind
III. The Passion for free Markets
IV. Market Democracy in a Neoliberal Order: Doctrines and Reality
V. The Zapatista Uprising
VI. "The ultimate Weapon"
VII. "Hordes of Vigilantes"