Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order
a book by Noam Chomsky
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb asks: Why is the Atlantic slowly filling with crude petroleum, threatening a millions-of-years-old ecological balance? Why did traders at prominent banks take high-risk gambles with the money entrusted to them by hundreds of thousands of clients around the world, expanding and leveraging their investments to the point that failure led to a global financial crisis that left millions of people jobless and hundreds of cities economically devastated? Why would the world's most powerful military spend ten years fighting an enemy that presents no direct threat to secure resources for corporations?
The culprit in all cases is neoliberal ideology—the belief in the supremacy of "free" markets to drive and govern human affairs. And in the years since the initial publication of Noam Chomsky's Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, the bitter vines of neoliberalism have only twisted themselves further into the world economy, obliterating the public’s voice in public affairs and substituting the bottom line in place of people’s basic obligation to care for one another as ends in themselves. In Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, Chomsky reveals the roots of the present crisis, tracing the history of neoliberalism through an incisive analysis of free trade agreements of the 1990s, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund—and describes the movements of resistance to the increasing interference by the private sector in global affairs.
In the years since the initial publication of Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, the stakes have only risen. Now more than ever, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order is one of the key texts explaining how the crisis facing us operates—and how, through Chomsky’s analysis of resistance, we may find an escape from the closing net.
The shadow government is loyal only to the principles representing international business, profit, wealth and power; i.e., it's the elites' wet dreams in 3-D and stereo
Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order is an exposé of the secret government that controls the world. This is not some imaginary paranoid conspiracy theory from the lunatic fringe or from conspiracy theorists' paranoid fantasies, but it’s a shadow government with no accountability to public democratic institutions, no elected officials except those elected board members selected by private stockholders, bankers and international finance lobbyists having no allegiance to any of the nation-states, loyal only to the harsh, merciless, hyper-greedy principles representing international business, profit, wealth and power. The secret government that controls the world makes the big corporatocracy decisions while our "leaders"—their puppets—pretend to be in control. Chomsky calls the U.S. shadow government a “virtual Senate.” The U.S. shadow government wishes to prevent the public from creating a more free, democratic, and just world by the method of acquiring an understanding of how the system is completely rigged, and then putting their knowledge to work effectively against rich and powerful globalized special interests. Question: is the recent dumping of net neutrality and Google's deindexing of some progressive sites' web pages all part of the shadow government's self defense?
The secret government that controls the world makes the big corporatocracy decisions while our 'leaders'—their puppets—pretend to be in control
"I view Chomsky as one of our more important vaccinations against premature stupidity among our loosely-educated adult policymakers. . . . Chomsky has labored for over fifty years to keep that part of our brain alive that our schools, seeking to train obedient factory workers, have worked so hard to kill. . . . if the workers wish to begin reading for the future salvation of their children’s rights, Chomsky is as good a place as any from which to step off into true democracy." (Source: Review: Profit Over People–Neoliberalism & Global Order, Public Intelligence Blog)
Chomsky delineates the corruption of democracy in brutally honest terms with vintage Chomsky incisiveness and insightfulness. The sad truth is that elites in the Founding Fathers never wanted the "for the people, of the people, and by the people" type of democracy in the first place, although FDR later seemed to. From the start they wanted to be enlightened elite overseers watching over the flocks and making sure they didn't screw things up with their ignorance and blundering. To that end, they wanted to keep real power over the sheep, as if they were children given dangerous toys and the elites would ensure they didn't hurt themselves. But this was a naive dream of idealists with too many unrealistic dreams and not enough street smarts, since it turned out—as it always has in history—that it wasn't the sheep that hurt anything. It was the sheepherder elites. They got greedy and—surprise!—soon were exploiting sheep, not protecting them. The sheep/cows were soon enough seen not as dependents to protect but cash cows to milk. Say it ain't so, Founding Fathers, say it ain't so!
The elites got greedy and soon were exploiting sheep, not protecting them—the sheep/cows were soon enough seen not as dependents to protect but cash cows to milk
The Constitution was a wonderful, idealistic document, but it was just paper and the real actions of real people were undeterred
The Constitution was a wonderful, idealistic document. It had safeguards. But, like sneaky lawyers infesting legal documents with loopholes and ambiguous language, the document was just paper and the real actions of real people were not seriously deterred by its flowery language and turn of phrase. Slowly, the Legislature passed laws to keep corporations in line. But corporations are sneaky and agile creatures and profit trumped moral ideals every time. And conservative forces came into power often enough so that deregulation occurred periodically and the rascals were back to their old tricks again. Then propaganda-supported neoliberalism emerged as the guiding light, shining for elites but creating darkness for us non-elites. Every time the deregulators raised their ugly heads, the public was told deregulation—and tax cuts for the rich—would help "the economy" and it would be a boon to the little guy, knowing full well that it was a rotten lie.
The public was told deregulation would help 'the economy' and it would be a boon to the little guy, knowing full well that it was a rotten lie—it was all geared to stuff more coins into the overflowing money bins of the greedy oligarchs
It was all geared to stuff more coins into the overflowing money bins of the greedy oligarchs—period. Yes, this very same process is occurring under Trump's watchful eye, and his refrain is a song heard too often, a song of fake news from a leader who uses lying propaganda once again to cover up his robbery of the non-elites: a reverse Robin Hood bilking the little guy yet again as he winks to his oligarch buddies like the Kochs. See Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.
Trump sings a song of fake news from a leader who uses lying propaganda once again to cover up his robbery of the non-elites—nothing new here, folks
Our leaders should be blessings,
But instead they are a curse.
They're supposed to help us but instead
They're Robin Hoods in reverse.
They rob us as we're sleeping.
They rob us once we wake.
They lie to us with fake news,
Never giving us a fair shake.
When will the nightmare cease?
When will their greed be sated?
When will we shout Enough is Enough?
And have these leaders eliminated?
Let's not resort to violence.
Let's just impeach and fire.
Let's organize and protest,
And nevermore endure a liar.
Trump is a leader who uses lying propaganda once again to cover up his robbery of the non-elites: a reverse Robin Hood bilking the little guy yet again as he winks to his oligarch buddies like the Kochs
As Amazon reviewer OAKSHAMAN says: "Nowhere is the war against the working class exposed more clearly and accurately [than in Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order]. 'Free Trade' is the nemesis of true democracy and of the common man. Such a policy only really favors the extremely rich and less than 1000 large global corporations. You won't hear about any of this in the corporate press however, for in the neoliberal democracy all debate is sidetracked on trivial issues by two political parties who both basically represent the same corporate masters (kind of like a giant game of good cop/bad cop). Ever wonder why you and the people around you feel so powerless and alienated in a vast landscape of shopping malls? You didn't think that 'just happened' did you? The decades old goal of the powers-that-be has been to atomise American communities into loose conglomerations of 'consumers' incapable of organizing, or even thinking of organizing."
The decades old goal of the powers-that-be has been to atomise American communities into loose conglomerations of 'consumers' incapable of organizing, or even thinking of organizing
And what is the effect of atomized, community-less people in isolated nuclear (or mixed or extended or single parent) families? A lot of happy oligarchs who notice citizens fail to organize and protest when they're being exploited, and that is precisely what oligarchs want: a pacified, alienated, distracted citizenry who have no idea how to exercise their democratic prerogatives. Chomsky advises us to get up, organize, and protest while we still can. See:
- Why Do We Need Communities?
- Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
- Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology
- Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
- The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)
- The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
Chomsky illustrates how the profit imperative of private corporations is mercilessly triumphing over the needs of the vast majority of people of the world. According to Robert W. McChesney, Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time. It refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of our social life in order to maximize their personal profit. Associated initially with Reagan and Thatcher, since the 1980s neoliberalism has been the dominant global political economic trend adopted by political parties of the center and much of the traditional left as well as the right. These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors and less than one thousand large corporations.
Neoliberalism is presented to the public as the benign sounding concept "free market." Due to the extreme nature and saturation of the P.R. campaign elites spewed on us in the 1980s, the claims attributed to these concepts are used to rationalize anything from lowering taxes on the wealthy and scrapping environmental regulations to dismantling public education and social welfare programs (all of which Trump champions). The joke here—although it is not one bit funny—is that all elites, talking heads, experts, economists, and propagandists act precisely as if the benefits of free market policies and Neoliberalism tenets have been established and proven beyond doubt so their worth is a non-issue.
The pushmi-pullyu symbolizes the gridlocked fraud that U.S. elections have become, with elites laughing as the 2 parties insult each other and pretend to be different when each supports identical anti-human neoliberal policies
And yet, there is no such proof—there is only the hollow echoes of the thorough propaganda on the matter. Like Hitler, they're counting on the strategy of repeating a lie so fervently and frequently that it becomes common knowledge, conventional wisdom, and "what everyone knows." Lie #1: Jews were wrecking Germany, right?, so fire up the ovens. Lie #2: Free market capitalism is a great idea with tons of evidence for benefits. The joke they do not want us to figure out is: benefits for whom? Unstated assumption: benefits for all citizens. Covert elite knowledge about benefits: it benefits elites only.
Policies characterized as free market are said to encourage private enterprise and consumer choice, reward personal responsibility and entrepreneurial initiative, and undermine the incompetent, bureaucratic and parasitic government.
Granted, the perverse incentives of government programs that reward failure and grow like cancer because they demonstrate wonderful ideals and intentions, even as they fail and waste the citizens' money need to be recognized and dealt with. Social engineering via ambitious liberal programs full of do-gooder sentiment but without good results needs to be reigned in.
But free market policies that are Neoliberalism at its worst are not the answer, in spite of the great public relations efforts which have propagandized this into the public consciousness. And the idea that neoliberalism's benefits will eventually trickle down to the have-nots was a covertly mean-spirited scam from day one. The have-nots did not get trickled TO—they got trickled ON. See Trickle-down economics.
The idea that neoliberalism's benefits will eventually trickle down to the have-nots was a covertly mean-spirited scam from day one. The have-nots did not get trickled TO—they got trickled ON
Neoliberalism works best when there is actual formal electoral democracy, but when the population is diverted from the information, access, and public forums necessary for meaningful participation in decision making. The elites don't want organized citizens participating in democratic processes. They want the people atomized and engrossed in chasing shiny objects.
The elites don't want organized citizens participating in democratic processes—they want the people atomized and engrossed in chasing shiny objects
The elites have set up a win-lose society with non-elites the losers and elites the winners—obviously, elites have decided that their poop doesn't stink
If one totally faces facts, the Orwellian nature of the way concepts are used with sleight-of-hand in the whole area of free market mumbo jumbo is a bait-and-switch operation par excellence. The elites say free market will encourage private enterprise and entrepreneurial initiative and be good for the economy but they are saying it's good for the people but meaning for the elites. In their minds as they say for the people is the phrase for the elites. It will reward elite efforts and encourage elite private enterprise. The elites are used to talking with forked tongues and out of both sides of their faces, and elites know what they really mean, but the public is not being let in on the gag.
Here is Dubya telling the non-elites the lie that free market capitalism will be great for the people—but he actually means RICH people only since it has grieviously harmed the non-elites
There is a huge canyon between the incomes of the haves and the incomes of the have-nots
As long as all political parties support the same pro-business policies, the free market will thrive and the rich will get richer. If a party dares to prioritize people and/or democracy over business, it will be undermined, fined, shunned, sabotaged, smeared, and disparaged and the major mainstream mass media outlets will paint them as unpatriotic, traitorous, disloyal, commie-loving, foolish, and socialist. Average citizens—functionally, people who do not think for themselves but instead let the politicians and talking heads and their Facebook friends and the media do it for them—will be convinced it is a bad idea to support this party. Democracy will stay a pretense and the corporatocracy—the business-oriented oligarchy—will prevail.
Most citizens find it convenient to let propaganda from the media guide their thinking and actions—it is so much easier than being one's own person and thinking for oneself
When the corporatocracy prevails, democracy takes it on the chin
Apathy, cynicism, and low voter turnout tends to be accepted and encouraged by the powers-that-be who want voters to think of elections as a waste of time—not worth getting involved in. Neoliberalism produces consumers rather than citizens. And instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. A true democracy requires a lot. It needs for people to feel a connection to their fellow citizens. It needs for this connection to manifest itself through a variety of nonmarket organizations and institutions. See Why Do We Need Communities? and Community.
Apathy, cynicism, and low voter turnout tends to be accepted and encouraged by the powers-that-be who want voters to think of elections as a waste of time—not worth getting involved in
Neoliberalism is the enemy of genuine participatory democracy both in the U.S. and around the world. In this country, it undermines democracy any way it can, since democracy leads to community and organizing and that leads to talking and thinking and the desire for change. Elites have it good and have zero desire for change. Democracy leads to people wanting to make the tax structure more progressive, which costs elites money. And it leads to regulations, which once again costs elites money. Elites hate democracy. Neoliberal and neoconservative policies around the world have led—for decades—to our elites indulging in assassination, coups, election rigging, smearing, torture, and death squads to kill off democracy anywhere it tries to spring up. When we hear our media propaganda spewing lies like we are trying to democratize Iraq, elites roll on the floor laughing, but regular citizens just absorb such ideas and they're happy our country is supporting democracy and freedom around the world. This is the devastating effect of decades of lying propaganda—clueless citizens with no idea what's going on. See Democracy—an American Delusion and Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion.
When we hear our media propaganda spewing lies like we are trying to democratize Iraq, elites roll on the floor laughing, but regular citizens just absorb such ideas and they're happy our country is supporting democracy
Neoliberalism is not a new thing, but only the current version of the quite successful attempt of the elites to undermine the political rights and civic powers of the citizens. Globalization is the result of powerful governments such as the United States jamming trade deals down the throats of the world’s citizens to pave the way for corporations and the oligarchs to dominate the economies of nations around the world without incurring obligations to the people in those nations.
Talk show truthiness and propaganda in the post-truth era support Neoliberalism and neoconservatism and elites and predatory capitalism and American empire building but never democracy. See Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era.
U.S. mainstream media, the P.R. industry, the academic ideologues, and the "experts" and political pundits and talking heads and the neocon talk show hosts and guests play the central role of providing the “necessary illusions” to make this unpalatable situation appear rational, benevolent, and necessary, none of which are true. See Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market.
Chomsky's quest is trying to convince democratic activists to remake our media system so that it is open to hearing all sides of questions, not just the party line from elites. And yet the elites have way too much to lose to allow his progressive viewpoints to get front and center in the public eye. The propaganda maintainers are all too aware that it's not only that thought control and manufacturing consent has to be dealt with continually. It's also that the truth needs to be censored. The truth is banned by the shadow government propaganda machine, therefore Chomsky is banned.
Perhaps it is time to notice that the fox guarding the henhouse is not an empowerer but an exploiter—Neoliberalists have NEVER had our interests at heart
And the business community spends a fortune bankrolling a P.R. apparatus to convince Americans that this is the best of all possible worlds. This is Orwellian doubletalk. They know they mean this is the best of all possible worlds for the elite 1% and yet they keep pushing the big lie that this is the best of all possible worlds for us, the citizens, the people seeing jobs being outsourced, C.D. rates staying terrible, salaries being decreased, downsizing of industries so oligarchs can get cheaper labor offshore, deep debt, fake wars, prices rising on food, medicine, insurance, cable bills and internet service plans.
In truth, this is a world being devastated by Neoliberalism. But anyone agreeing with this assessment is considered a conspiracy theorist, not because the elites believe the dissidents are incorrect, but because they intend on propagandizing the Big Lie forever—or as long as they can get away with it. Hitler is among the previous holders of elitist fantasies about "their glorious rule being enshrined for a millennium." The Neoliberalists are just as enchanted with their rule and are just as sure they've gotten the sheep so fooled that they can continue on their thrones as sheep scamper around in overgrazed pastures hunting for scraps of grass to eat. See Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems.
The propaganda maintainers are all too aware that it's not only that thought control and manufacturing consent has to be dealt with continually—it's also that the truth needs to be censored
Opening the mainstream media to truth and honesty would carry an extreme price tag. It would mean exposing the monumental scam that's been perpetrated on the citizens for decades. It would mean reversing course and laying out decades of lies and spin. It would mean exposing the U.S. as the Evil Empire that has been committing war crimes all over the world out of infinite greed. It might mean imprisoning presidents, generals, Congresspeople, mercenaries, CIA thugs, and politicians. It would spell disaster to many not just in the elected government but also the shadow government. Possibly only the oligarchs calling the shots would remain untouched, since these are the types of people who never get their hands dirty. They keep themselves several levels from the action so if the feces hits the fan they'll have plausible deniability. They would shred documents and bribe associates into silence so there'd be no evidence to bring them down.
To avoid prosecution, oligarchs would shred documents and bribe associates into silence, and maintain stances of having plausible deniability, staying remote from questionable actions
Noam Chomsky's Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order shows U.S. leaders to be callous and greedy hypocrites totally willing to submit other nation's people to atrocities in the process of plundering resources and killing democratic impulses. Why the U.S. undermined democracy everywhere in the world while claiming to be supporting it is interesting. It turns out that part of stripping resources is creating a lot of fear and even terror in the populace, some of whom tried to resist the U.S. corporatocracy. It was deemed critical that peasants in all countries accept our interference in their politics and economics and industries so the U.S. corporatocracy would have smooth sailing without expensive disruptions of any kind.
It turns out that part of stripping resources is creating a lot of fear and even terror in the populace, some of whom tried to resist the U.S. corporatocracy
And it was especially critical that no country was allowed to create a successful democratic life where leaders acted in the best interests of the people and created social programs for them. If any country was allowed to become successful, happy, democratic, and self-governing, it would serve as an example and then other countries would want this. This would mean we couldn't successfully rob their resources as the people would resist. So terror, torture, coups, assassinations, election rigging, and propaganda was used to nip any troublesome country in the bud. This often required we install a tyrant who represented the U.S. corporatocracy rather than his own people. These dictators would use death squads to keep the people terrorized into submission. All these war crimes and crimes against humanity were for one purpose: satisfying the greed of the U.S. corporatocracy oligarchs. The propaganda in the U.S. usually ignored these issues except to occasionally wax poetic at how wonderfully we were democratizing other countries.
In the U.S., instead of death squads and other messy things like that, we killed truth, not people. The corporatocracy representatives, with the media's and the CIA's help, "manufactured consent," which required endless repetition of lies until people concluded they must be true, having liars write books of lies and go to the media and lie on talk shows, and then get academics and think tanks all parroting the party line. The truth is an irrelevancy. What matters is the effectiveness of the propaganda. See Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Media Control, Second Edition: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, and Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market.