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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  May 29, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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05/29/17 05/29/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica this is , democracy now! >> we are in these two eras in which the possibility of human survival is very much at stake. amy: in is democra now special, we spend the hour with the world renowned linguist and dissident noam chomsky on the twin threats of climate change and nuclear war. we will talk about north korea, iran, and syria. plus, we ask him about the trump administration's threats to prosecute wikileaks founder julian assange. >> if the charge is true, he should be -- chelsea manning and
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carried outen heroic, courageous acts. they fulfilled the responsibility of someone who takes citizenship seriously. that believes the people of this country ought to know about -- amy: noam chomsky for the hour in a public conversation i had with him in cambridge, massachusetts. all that and more, coming up. amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in this democracy now! special , we spend the hour with the world-renowned linguist and political dissident noam chomsky. in a public conversation we had in april, we talked about climate change, nuclear weapons, north korea, iran, the war in syria and the trump , administration's threat to prosecute wikileaks founder julian assange. we also talk about noam chomsky
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's new book, "requiem for the american dream: the 10 principles of concentration of wealth & power." hundreds of people packed into the first parish church in cambridge, massachusetts for our , public conversation. i wanted to ask you about this comment that you made that the republican party, you said, is the most dangerous organization in world history. cambridge, can you explain? >> i also said that it's an extremely outrageous statement. but the question is whether it's true. i mean, has there ever been an organization in human history that is dedicated, with such commitment, to the destruction of organized human life on earth? not that i'm aware of. is the republican organization -- i hesitate to call it a party -- committed to that? overwhelmingly. there isn't even any question
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about it. take a look at the last primary campaign. plenty of publicity, very little comment on the most significant fact. every single candidate either denied that what is happening is happening -- namely, serious move towards environmental catastrophe -- or there were a couple of moderates, so-called -- jeb bush, who said, "maybe it's happening. we really don't know. but he doesn't matter because fracking is working fine, so we can get more fossil fuels." then there was the guy who was called the adult in the room, john kasich, the one person who said, "yes, it's true. global warming is going on. but it doesn't matter." he is the governor of ohio. "in ohio, we're going to go on using coal for energy, and we're not going to apologize for it." so that's 100% commitment to
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racing towards disaster. then take a look at what has happened since. november 8 was the election. there was, as most of you know, i'm sure, a very important conference underway in morocco -- marrakech, morocco. almost roughly 200 countries at the united nations-sponsored conference, which was -- the goal of which was to put some specific commitments into the verbal agreements that were reached at paris in december 2015, the preceding international conference on global warming. the paris conference did intend to reach a verifiable treaty, but they couldn't because the
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most dangerous organization in human history. the republican congress would not accept any commitments, so therefore, the world was left with verbal promises, but no commitments. well, last november 8, they were going to try to carry that forward. on november 8, in fact there was , a report by the world meteorological organization, a very dire analysis of the state of the environment and the likely prospects, also pointed out that we are coming perilously close to the tipping point, where -- which was the goal of the -- the goal of the paris negotiations was to keep things below that -- coming very close to it, and other ominous predictions. at that point, the conference pretty much stopped because the news came in about the election. and it turns out that the most powerful country in human
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history, the richest, most powerful, most influential, the leader of the free world, has just decided not only not to support the efforts, but actively to undermine them. so there's the whole world on one side, literally, at least trying to do something or other, not enough maybe, although some places are going pretty far, like denmark, couple of others. on the other side, in splendid isolation, is the country led by the most dangerous organization in human history, which is saying, "we're not part of this. in fact, we're going to try to undermine it." we are going to maximize the use of fossil fuels -- could carry us past the tipping point. we are not going to provide funding for -- as committed in paris, to developing countries that are trying to do something about the climate problems.
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we are going to dismantle regulations that retard the impact, the devastating impact, of production of carbon dioxide and, in fact, other dangerous gases -- methane, others. ok. so the conference kind of pretty much came to a halt. the question -- it continued, the question was can we salvage , something from this wreckage? and pretty amazingly, the countries of the world were looking for salvation to a different country -- china. here we have a world looking for salvation to china, of all places, when the united states is the wrecking machine that is threatening destruction, in -- with all three branches of government in the hands of the most dangerous organization in human history. and i don't have to go through but has happened since,
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the -- in general, the cabinet appointments are designed to -- assigned to people whose commitment and beliefs are that it is necessary to destroy everything in their department that could be of any use to human beings and would not just increase profits and power. and they are doing it very systematically, one after another. epa, environmental protection agency, has been very sharply cut. actually, the main department that is concerned with environmental issues is the department of energy, which also had very sharp cuts, particularly in the environment-related programs. in fact, there is even a ban on posting and publishing information and material about this. and this is not just at the national level. the republican party, whatever
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you want to call it, has been doing this at every level. so in north carolina, a couple of years ago, where the legislature, mostly thanks to gerrymandering, is in the hands of the republicans, there was a study. they called for a study on the effect of sea level rise -- on what sea level rise might be on the north carolina coast. and there was a serious scientific study, which predicted -- i forget how many years -- not a long time, about roughly a meter rise in sea level, which could be devastating to eastern north carolina. and the legislature did react, namely, by passing legislation to ban any actions or even discussion that might have to do with climate change. actually, the best comment of
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this -- i wish i could quote it verbatim -- was by stephen colbert, who said, "if you have a serious problem, the way to deal with it is to legislate that it doesn't exist. problem solved." this is going on all over the country. and it is not just -- it is not simply climate change. that is but enough. but there's another huge specter that we are kind of trying to survive under, and that is nuclear war. that is a whole other story. here, both the obama administration and, increasingly, trump are radically increasing that danger. this -- the threat of the new developments is captured very effectively in the best, simple monitor of the state of the
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world, established at the beginning of the nuclear age by the bulletin of atomic scientists. i'm sure you all about this, but the bulletin of atomic scientists regularly brings together a group of scientists, political analysts, other very serious people, to try to give some kind of estimate of what the situation of the world is. the question is, how close are we to termination of the species? and they have a clock, the doomsday clock. when it hits midnight, we are finished. end of the human species and much else. and the question every year is how far is the minute hand from , midnight? well, at the beginning, in 1947, beginning of the nuclear age, it was placed at seven minutes to midnight. it has been moving up and back ever since. the closest it has come to
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midnight was 1953. 1953, the united states and russia both exploded hydrogen bombs, which are extremely serious threat to survival. intercontinental ballistic missiles were all being developed. this, in fact, was the first serious threat to the security of the united states. there is an interesting story behind that but i will put it aside unless there is time to talk about it. but then, it came to two minutes to midnight. and it has been moving up and back since. two years ago -- 2014, i think it was -- the analysts took into account for the first time something that have been ignored -- the fact that the nuclear age -- the beginning of the nuclear age coincided with the beginning of a new geological epoch, the
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so-called anthropocene. there has been some debate about the epoch in which human activity is drastically affecting the general environment. there has been debate about its inception. but the world geological organization has recently determined that it's about the same time as the beginning of the nuclear age. so we are in these two eras in which the possibility of human survival is very much at stake, and with us everything else, , too, of course, all living -- most living things, which are already under very severe threat. well, a couple of years ago -- i think it was 2014 -- the bulletin began to take that into account and moved the minute hand up to three minutes to midnight where it remained last year. about a week into trump's term,
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the clock was moved again, to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight. that is the closest it has been since 1953. and that means extermination of the species is very much an -- very much an open question. i don't want to say it is solely the impact of the republican party -- obviously, that is false. but they certainly are in the lead in openly advocating and working for destruction of the human species. i agree that is a very outrageous statement. so why, therefore, simply suggest that you take a look at the facts and see if it has any merit or if it just should be bitterly condemned. that's it to you. my view, the facts are pretty clear. amy: at this point, as president
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trump nears his 100th da korea and iran have been a major focus. are you concerned that with the president at the lowest popularity rating, i think, in any president's history at this point, that he will focus abroad, as he has in the last few weeks, dropping the moab, the "mother of all bombs," in afghanistan, bombing the syrian government, and yet focusing specifically on north korea and iran. in north korea, mcmaster, general mcmaster, the national security adviser, saying tensions with north korea are coming to a head. do you think there is a possibility that the u.s. would attack north korea? >> i mean, this administration is extremely unpredictable. trump probably has no idea what
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he's going to do five minutes from now, see you can't -- literally. so you can't really make predictions with much confidence, but i doubt it very much. the reason is very simple. an attack on north korea would unleash -- no matter what attack it is, even a nuclear attack, would unleash massive artillery bombardment of seoul, which is the biggest city in south korea, right near the border, which would wipe it out, including plenty of american troops. mean, i'm no-- i technical expert, but as far as i can -- as i read and can see, there's no defense against that. furthermore, north korea could retaliate against american bases in the region where there is plenty of american soldiers and so on, also in japan. they would be devastated. north korea would be finished. so would much of the region.
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but if attacked, presumably, they would respond, very likely. in fact, the responses might be automatic. mcmaster, at least, and mattis understand this. how much influence they have, we don't know. so i think an attack is unlikely. but the real question is, is there a way of dealing with the problem? there are a lot of proposals -- sanctions, a big new missile defense system, which is a major threat to china. it will increase tensions there. threats of various kinds, sending an aircraft carrier the vinson, to north , korea, except by accident -- it happened to be going in the opposite direction, but we'll forget that. but these are -- those are the proposals, that kind of proposals, as to how to solve. actually, there's one proposal
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that is ignored. i mean, you see a mention of it now and then. it is a pretty simple proposal. remember, the goal is to get north korea to freeze its weapons systems, weapons and missile systems. so one proposal is to accept their offer to do that. sounds simple. they've made a proposal. china and north korea proposed to freeze the north korean missile and nuclear weapons systems. and the u.s. instantly rejected it. and you can't blame that on trump. obama did the same thing a couple of years ago. same offer was presented. i think it was 2015. the obama administration instantly rejected it. and the reason is that it calls for a quid pro quo. it says, in return, the united states should put an end to threatening military maneuvers on north korea's borders which
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, happen to include, under trump, sending of nuclear-capable b-52's flying right near the border. now, maybe americans don't remember very well, but north koreans have a memory of not too long ago when north korea was absolutely flattened, literally, by american bombing. there was -- there was literally no targets left. and i really urge people who have not done it to read the official american military histories, the air quarterly review, the military histories describing this. they describe it very vividly and accurately. they say, "there just weren't any targets left. well, we decided to attack the dams, the ge dams. that's a major war crime. people were hanged for it at nuremberg. but put that aside. and then comes an ecstatic,
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gleeful description of the bombing of the dams and the huge flow of water, which was wiping out valleys and destroying the rice crop, on which asians depend for survival -- lots of racist comment, but all with exaltation and glee. you really have to read it to appreciate it. the north koreans don't have to bother reading it. they lived it. so when nuclear-capable b-52s are flying on their border, along with other threatening military maneuvers, they're kind of upset about it. strange people. and they continue to develop what they see as a potential deterrent that might protect the regime from -- and the country, in fact -- from destruction. this has nothing at all to do with what you think about the government. so maybe it is the worst
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government in human history. ok. but these are still the facts that exist. there are similar questions to raise about iran. so iran is, you know, the -- again, the adults in the room, like mattis and so on, say it's the greatest threat to peace, you know, the greatest sponsor of terrorism, on and on. how is it a sponsor of terrorism? well, could go through that. so, for example, in yemen, it's claimed that they are providing some aid to rebel tribesmen, houthi tribesmen, in yemen. ok, maybe they are. what is the united states doing in yemen? it is providing a huge flood of arms to its saudi arabian ally, who are destroying the country, who have created a huge humanitarian crisis. huge numbers of people killed, massive starvation. they are threatening now to bomb
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a port, which is the only source of aid for surviving people. but iran is the major source of terrorism. professor emeritus noam chomsky in a public conversation we recorded in april at the first parish church in cambridge, massachusetts. when we come back we will talk about syria, wikileaks, and more. ♪ [music break]
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amy: patty smith singing at the riverside church in new york. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we returned to my public conversation with the acclaimed linguist and dissident noam chomsky, recorded in april at the first parish church in cambridge, massachusetts. hundreds of people packed into the church. i last interviewed you on april 4, just a few weeks ago, on democracy now! it was the 50th anniversary of dr. king giving his "beyond vietnam" speech, why he opposed the war in vietnam, where he called the u.s. "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world."
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and i wanted to turn from north korea and iran to syria. it was the day of the gas attack in syria, so we didn't get to talk about it very much. and i'm wondering your thoughts on what you thk happened, and then the ensuing u.s. bombing that president trump would later talk about, saying he was having chocolate cake with the chinese president -- very, very good chocolate cake -- when they launched the tomahawk missiles into iraq, he said. and he was corrected by the interviewer -- right? who said it was actually syria. >> it is all about the same. there are some things we know for sure. there was a serious chemical weapons attack. nobody doubts that. it is plausible that it was the syrian government, which does raise some questions.
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it is not so obvious why the assad regime would have carried out a chemical warfare attack at a moment when it's pretty much winning the war. and the worst danger it faces is that a counterforce will enter to undermine its progress. so it does raise some questions. it also -- even though maybe you can think up some reason why the assad regime, which is a murderous, brutal regime, might haveone . there ieven another question as to why the russians would have allowed it. now, remember, this is a -- the air base is a joint russian-syrian base. russia has plenty of clout in syria. and for them, it's a total disaster. they have global concerns, not just local concerns in syria. so there are some concerns. and there are further concerns. there has been -- the white
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house did put out a careful -- you know, a justification, an intelligence report to explain and account for -- showing why they had absolute confidence that it was a syrian government attack. this was analyzed closely by a very serious and credible analyst theodore postol, professor at m.i.t., who has a long record of highly successful, credible analysis. he is a highly regarded strategic analyst and intelligence analyst. and he gave a pretty devastating critique of the white house report. you might -- you can pick it up online and take a look at it. so there certainly are some questions. that there's -- that syria is capable of a monstrous act like that, the syrian government, that much is not in doubt. but one question that arises is, before doing something, could
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you find out what happened? ok? i mean, let's have an inquiry, take a look and see what in fact actually happened. there are plenty of cases where things -- where it looked as though things happened, but they didn't. but remember, reporting from syria is extremely difficult. if reporters go into the rebel-held areas and don't do what they are told you know, get , your head cut off. patrick cockburn and others have written about this. you just can't seriously report from those areas. there are obvious questions when you are reporting from the government side. so the reporters are -- there are very good reporters doing a serious, courageous job, but there's not much you can do. so we just don't know a lot. well, those are the circumstances in which the 59 tomahawk missiles were launched. that's pretty easy.
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it's easy to sit in washington and push a button and say, "go kill somebody." that's considered courage, you know, macho, showing how strong we are. what did they actually do? well, apparently, the tomahawk missiles were targeting a part of the airfield that doesn't seem to be used. and, in fact, the next day, planes were taking off. and, in fact, the village that was attacked by the chemical weapons has been even more heavily attacked by straight bombing from the assad government after the 59 tomahawk missiles. so whatever they were intended to do doesn't seem to have anything to do with syria. i suspect that what they were intended to do was pretty much what you described, to shore up trump's image as -- i think it was nikki haley at the u.n., said, "there's a new sheriff in town."
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so now we have got wyatt earp, you know, pulling out his gun and getting rid of the bad guys. no more of this soft stuff. so it was probably an attempt to shore up that image. pretty much like the bomb in afghanistan. nobody knows what it was for, what it had to do with. probably destroyed a large part of afghanistan. shortly after that, there was a mass -- an incredibly brutal and successful taliban attack, which killed a couple hundred recruits, most of them unarmed. the young draftees didn't know what they were doing. it was so bad, the defense minister resigned. doesn't seem to have any effect on -- it was supposedly aimed at isis. maybe it was. maybe it wasn't. they don't seem to be affected by it. so these look like -- there doesn't seem to be any strategic analysis behind any of these actions, as far as anyone can tell. they seem like kind of about at
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the level of the twitters that keep coming out. something that kind of occurs to me, so why not do it? it's cheap. it may kill a lot of people, makes me look good and, you know, makes it seem as if i'm defending the country, and so on. it is hard to see it as anything but that. that these things help the people of syria and iraq is very hard to imagine. amy: what do you think has to be done to solve the crisis, the humanitarian catastrophe, in syria? >> it's a terrible catastrophe. unfortunately, there isn't a lot that can be done about it. there are some things that can be done. i mean, the idea that you can send in the marines and bomb and so on, that has a small problem. if you do, you probably set off a nuclear war. and not only is syria destroyed, the rest of syria, but the rest of the world, too.
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so there is a little difficulty in that scenario, whatever one thinks about the justification for it. so what can be done? well, one thing that can be done, which is really easy, very easy, is to take care of the people fleeing from this disaster. i mean, there are huge numbers of people fleeing from the disaster. what do we do about them? make sure they don't come here, you know, kind of like people fleeing from -- you know, my relatives, in fact, fleeing, eastern to flee from europe under the -- before when the nazis were coming along. "we don't want 'em. not here." you know. so the syrians don't come -- maybe a tiny trickle, but very few come here. europe's not that much better -- in fact, pretty horrible, too. so one thing you could do is just take care of the people who are fleeing the disaster. another thing you can do is
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provide humanitarian aid for those in the region. now, there are countries who are absorbing refugees, remember, like take lebanon. it is not a rich country like us. poor country. about 40% of the population are refugees, many of them fleeing as fare israeli wars back a starting 48. many -- huge number of syrians. jordan, another poor country, has absorbed a huge number of refugees. turkey has a couple of million. iran has accepted refugees. so there are very -- there are poor countries that are accommodating refugees, but not the rich countries. the rich countries, it's not our business, certainly not us. it's even a more serious problem with regard -- for us, moral problem, with regard to central america, but let's keep to syria. so another thing you could do is
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provide badly needed aid and assistance for those who have succeeded in fleeing the disaster, or who remain in parts of syria where survival is possible, but are living under horrible conditions. now, that's all cheap and easy, a tiny fraction of increasing the military budget to cause more destruction. amy: noam, i wanted to, before we get to your book, your latest book, ask you about this latest development in the united states. the director of the central intelligence agency gave his first major address, and he focused on wikileaks. and it looks like now the u.s. is preparing an arrest warrant for julian assange, who's been holed up in the ecuadorean embassy in london for almost five years now. pompeo calling wikileaks a "hostile non-state intelligence service," calling julian assange himself a "demon," and said he's
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not protected by the first amendment. your thoughts? >> well, i think it speaks for itself. wikileaks has released lots of information that governments don't like. it's overwhelmingly information that citizens should have. it is information about what their governments are doing. and perfectly natural that systems of power don't want to be exposed, so they'll do what they can to prevent exposure. i think it is a disgraceful act. in fact, i think it's disgraceful even to keep julian assange holed up in the ecuadorean embassy. i did visit him there once, but you can guess yourself. it is, in many ways worse than
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, imprisonment. at least if you are in prison you can see other prisoners, and , you can get out and look at the sunshine now and then. in a small apartment where he cannot go out. he can go to the balcony, but that's about it. a small -- basically, a couple of rooms inside a small apartment. it's not a big embassy. the embassy is like a kind of an apartment in london, surrounded by police and so on. there has been no credible basis for any of this. and to go on to try to raise it to the level of criminal prosecutions, i think, is, again, one of these efforts to look tough at home. and the kind of effort that a government would carry out that is dedicated to trying to protect itself from exposure of facts that citizens should have,
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but systems of power don't want them to have. i think that's the crucial issue. amy: the suggestions are it has to do with his aiding and abetting perhaps chelsea manning and also edward snowden. doing that with edward snowden, which he openly admits, while he's trapped in the ecuadorean embassy. >> if the charge is true, he should be honored for it. chelsea manning and edward snowden carried out heroic, courageous acts. they fulfilled the responsibility of somebody who takes citizenship seriously -- that is, who believes that the people of a country ought to know something about what their government is up to. ok? like if their government is carrying out murderous, brutal attacks in iraq, people should know about it. takes us back to martin luther
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king's talk in 1967. if the government is, and corporations, too, incidentally, are listening in to your telephone conversations and what you are doing, you know, tapping this discussion and so on, we should know about it. governments have no right to do things like that. and people should know about it. and if they think it is ok, fine, let them decide. not do it in secret. and i think people wouldn't agree to it. that's why it's kept secret. why else keep it secret? you know? and these are people who exposed it at great risk to themselves. so those are heroic, courageous acts. if wikileaks was abetting them, more power to them. that's what they should be doing. amy: i mean, president trump endorsed wikileaks, right? he said, "i love wikileaks," during the campaign. >> yeah, when it was releasing things that he liked, yeah. any system of power will do that.
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"you release information that i like, it is great. but i don't want to be exposed." amy: professor noam chomsky in conversation in april at the first parish church in cambridge, massachusetts. when we come back, he will talk about the media's coverage of the trump administration and his new book "requiem for the american dream: the 10 principles of concentration of wealth & power." we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we return to our public conversation with the acclaimed linguist and dissident noam chomsky recorded in april at the first parish church in cambridge, massachusetts. speaking of entities that president trump does not like, he calls the press the enemy of the people. the enemy of the people. can you assess as the media assesses, the media's behavior?
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>> i think media has bent over backwards to give him some protection and leeway. there are some things that are so ludicrous and outrageous that a reporter simply can't keep from saying something about them. like there is one ridiculous claim after another that comes know, 3he tweets, you million illegal indictment refugees voted for clinton, obama wiretapped the trump tower , you know, one after another. my sense is that this is a media strategy. that it is the bannon trump spicer strategy to try to keep the one orocused on
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another form of lunacy, but not look at what is actually happening. what is actually happening is that paul ryan and his associates behind the scenes are systematically and carefully dismantling every element of government that is of any benefit to people and that doesn't maximize corporate power and profit. i mean, the dedication of the republican leadership, especially the ryan-type leadership, their dedication to slavish servility to corporate power and wealth, it's just phenomenal. i mean, read this morning's business pages. their latest step is to prevent exposure of complaints against banks that carry out improper activities.
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it is possible now, thanks to the consumer protection act, for people to criticize when they some a bank has varied out improper activity. but we have to keep that silent because we have to protect corporations from any exposure of criminal activities they might carry out. i mean, down to that level -- in fact, everywhere you look, the health care proposal was so proposalthat it was a basically to cut taxes for the rich and to ensure that the poor and middle class people, people don't get medical aid. the congressional budget office estimated 24 million additional people uninsured. healthan analysis by
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specialists just studying the relationship between lack of insurance and death's. there is funny of evidence about that. it turns out that would have been about 45,000 additional deaths a year. with that is ok as long as you cut taxes for the rich. in step by step, that is what is happening behind the facade of anticsmpisms and spicer before the press. the press is pretty much falling for it. that is what they focus on, not what is in carried out. there is, of course, criticism -- mild criticism of outrageous lies, but i think that just plays the game. that is what the lies are for. then you can yell about the liberal press that is trying to undermine us. this country desperate effort to keep a con game going.
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trump does have a base -- a voter base. he is kicking them in the face with abandon. and the idea is, how do you hold on to them while you are doing this? it is not an easy trick. and this i think is part of the con. there are people in the press are pointing it out. paul krugman for one. but nothing like it should be. amy: which takes us to your latest book, "requiem, for the american dream" were you talk about the 10 principles of the concentration of power and wealth, how it is happening, what to watch out for. creswell, credit for the 10 principles should go to producers of the film. what they did was take a lot of interviews and discussions about all sorts of things and put them and, i think,
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pretty effective form, including formulating 10 principles -- that's their contribution, including material that discusses. you can look at the film or the book, but my feeling is they did a really good job. amy: so the book is accompanying film that is not out on netflix. it you talk about, for example, principle 1, reducing democracy. to them, shaping ideology, three, redesigning economy. growth part of a pretty remarkable development taking place in human history. humans in the last 60 or 70 years, have succeeded in creating a kind of a perfect -- literally.
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movement we have created. two major attacks on the prospects for survival, global warming, nuclear weapons, anthropocene, nuclear age, and the third is set of socioeconomic policies designed to undermine prospects of dealing with problems. the problems could be doubt with only in a functioning democracy whongaged, informedonly in a pe could make decisions, who would be informed and make decisions to deal with the crises. but the so-called neoliberal programs of the past generation, sort of somewhat market-oriented programs designed to undermine
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governmental and popular institutions that might deal with these issues, all a unit. one result is a very significant decline in democracy. you can see it, which is a must built into the policies. it is perfectly -- you can't carry out economic policies of the type that have been implemented in the past generation in a functioning democracy. that is impossible. take a look at the numbers. ,he neoliberal programs basically, taking off right around 1980. --alated under late carter started under carter, escalated under reagan, more under clinton and so on. the peak of supposed success. this was right before the crash. a lot of euphoria among analysts
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, economists about the great achievements of the neoclassic economics, the great moderation, dismantling of regulations. all of these great successes. 2007. what was happening to american working people at that time? in 2007, wages were lower than had been in 1979 when the experiment took off. in fact, for the majority of the population, it is a period of stagnation or decline. hadbenefits decline. people -- some of the reasons were explained by alan greenspan, head of the federal reserve -- was in charge pretty much of managing the economy. he testified to congress that
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part of the success of the economy -- low inflation and so on -- was due to what he called growing worker insecurity. insecure.ople were they were intimidated. they knew that they were a dangerous -- in a dangerous situation, precarious situation. as a result, they did not press for increase in wages -- decent wages and benefits. they were willing to accept effective decline in the living standards. and greenspan, who is a close observer of the economy, pointed out that this continued even in thebs were increasing late clinton period. it was deeply embedded in the nature of the policies being carried out that working people are intimidated, living precarious lives. many of them are part-time. they're losing security. there unions are being
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destroyed. and their wages are declining. so it is all great. the economy is vertically healthy. can you carry out policies like that in a democracy? are people going to vote for it? the same in europe, even worse in many ways. the so-called austerity programs. even the economists of the international -- the imf, international monetary fund, their own economists report these policies make no economic sense. but the imf bureaucrats, the once were part of the decision-making apparatus, they vote for them. the effect on europe is the same thing as far as democracy is concerned. just like in the united states, there is anger, contempt for major -- for the major governing is thetions system here congress, there is political parties. you just saw it in france
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yesterday, the teat of major parties word barely visible in the election. it is happening all over europe. the same thing that is happening here. here it is happening in a way which is almost farcical because of the kind of actions carried out by the leadership. in europe, it is being pursued in a way which is really ominous. i mean, you don't have to look whenack to find a fascist parties actually had power in europe. and we know what happened. and now there are neofascist parties. ,hich are pretty close to power even in places like austria and germany, which have some memories -- france as well was under the nazis was very pro-nazi country, rounding up jews faster than germans wanted.
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really ugly record. in seeing these things come back, or just sing a situation in which, according to recent polls, a majority of europeans think there should be no more muslims in europe. that evokes some memories. not nice ones. you cannot attribute it all to neoliberal economic policies, te but a lot of it does follow from that. when you impose on people circumstances of this kind, you have to make sure they have no way of responding politically. in europe, it is done pretty straightforwardly. the main decisions about socioeconomic policies are made by the so-called troika -- imf, european central bank, and the european commission, which is unelected. so three unelected bodies. they make the decisions.
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they do listen to voices, voices of the northern banks -- mostly german banks. and the people suffer. they are angry, frightened, often reacting in dangerous ways. we see similar phenomena here. so to go back to the pincers movement, what is happening as we have created two huge threats to survival. we have systematically -- not you and me, but the leadership has created socioeconomic policies which have, as a consequence, almost immediate consequence the undermining of functioning democracy of the one thing that might deal with disasters. like i said, a kind of perfect storm. a row credit to the human species to have contrived something like this. mikko principle four, shift the burden onto the poor in the middle classes.
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attack with solidarity of the people. six, let special interests run regulators. seven, engineer election results. eight, use fear and power of the state to keep the rabble in line. >> is it necessary to comment? [laughter] consent is manufacture in principle 10 is marginalize the population. >> in fact, that is exactly what is happening. there is a reason for it. you cannot carry out the kinds of policies that have been developed in the last generation and have the population function democratically. in europe, you can't get people to vote for policies which are undermining their lives, which are leaving -- especially younger people -- without any hopes of decent employment,
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which are driving people to precarious existence is, which are undermining wages, reducing benefits. in england right now, undermining, threatening what had been the world's most -- by far the world's most effective and efficient health system. you can't get people to vote for things like this, so you have to marginalize them and turn them against each other. turn their anger against vulnerable people. that is standard technique for stop to look at the people who are really doing this to you. look at the once who are more vulnerable. immigrants, the poor. -- anybody.cks we're familiar with that, too. almosthat -- it is like a logical consequence of the socioeconomic policies which have been imposed and lauded in
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fact by elites, including liberal elites. a lot of this was done by the clinton administration. it hailed -- deregulation, for quickly oneled after another to financial crisis. that was initiated by those telling us how wonderful it is. there is a theory, classical economic theory that says it was fine. there were people who warned against it. there were people who knew, a lot of left independent economists. that even people out of the mainstream, like joseph stiglitz, nobel laureate, back around 1995 or so, he wrote an article -- actually in a world bank research journal in which he warned against what he called the religion that the market
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knows best. that is the religion, as he put it, that is being followed by economists. and he says, you got to take a look at that religion, like a lot of religions, it just doesn't work. economic history. logic. shows of lots of things that is wrong about it. but it was pursued with abandon on the basis of theories of efficient markets, rational behavior, rational expectations and someone. none of which had any and pure gold bases or founding -- empirical basis or founding, but the doctrines were accepted for the very simple reason they were highly beneficial to wealth and power. that makes them acceptable. you get the results that you have. the undermining of the only means possible to try to deal with the existential crisis.
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that we have created. so again, it is a kind of perfect storm. all sorts of sources, including just socioeconomic policies of a bipartisan nature. speaking aprilky 24 at the first parish church in cambridge, massachusetts. professor emeritus at the massachusetts institute of technology. his latest book, "requiem for the american dream." it for today's show. for a dvd copy, you can go to democracynow.org as well as read the transcript or get any video or audio podcast of any of our shows. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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