Edited by Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, & Jared P. Scott
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"During the Great Depression, which I'm old enough to remember, it was bad—much worse subjectively than today. But there was a sense that we'll get out of this somehow, an expectation that things were going to get better . . ." —from Requiem for the American Dream
In his first major book on the subject of income inequality, Noam Chomsky skewers the fundamental tenets of neoliberalism and casts a clear, cold, patient eye on the economic facts of life. What are the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power at work in America today? They're simple enough: reduce democracy, shape ideology, redesign the economy, shift the burden onto the poor and middle classes, attack the solidarity of the people, let special interests run the regulators, engineer election results, use fear and the power of the state to keep the rabble in line, manufacture consent, marginalize the population. In Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky devotes a chapter to each of these ten principles, and adds readings from some of the core texts that have influenced his thinking to bolster his argument.
To create Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky and his editors, the filmmakers Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, and Jared P. Scott, spent countless hours together over the course of five years, from 2011 to 2016. Chomsky considers these to be his final, long-form interviews. After the release of the film version, Chomsky and the editors returned to the many hours of tape and transcript and created a document that included three times as much text as was used in the film. The book that has resulted is nonetheless arguably the most succint and tightly woven of Chomsky's long career, a beautiful vessel in which to carry Chomsky's bold and uncompromising vision, his perspective on the economic reality and its impact on our political and moral well-being as a nation.
A couple of weeks ago, Chris Hedges travelled to Cambridge, Massachusets to down with Noam Chomsky for a quick chat about his new book Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power, and the short, weird history of neoliberalism in the United States.
PART ONE: In the first of a two-part conversation, Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges discuss, among other subjects, the shift in the U.S. and U.K. in the late 1970s toward neoliberalism, an ideology that Chomsky says “claims it’s increasing freedom [while] it’s actually increasing tyranny.”
PART TWO: In the second part of Noam Chomsky’s recent interview with Truthdig columnist and RT Television Host Chris Hedges, Chomsky talks about his new book Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power and explains how the banking, fossil fuel and tech sectors all profit immensely from taxpayer dollars. They also discuss a range of topics including the importance of solidarity and the damage gerrymandering has done to American democracy.