May 20, 2013
‘Losing’ the World: American Decline in Perspective, Part 1
Posted on Feb 15, 2012
By Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has been the major source of reputable data on these developments for years, is entitled Failure by Design. The phrase “by design” is accurate. Other choices were certainly possible. And as the study points out, the “failure” is class-based. There is no failure for the designers. Far from it. Rather, the policies are a failure for the large majority, the 99% in the imagery of the Occupy movements—and for the country, which has declined and will continue to do so under these policies.
One factor is the offshoring of manufacturing. As the solar panel example mentioned earlier illustrates, manufacturing capacity provides the basis and stimulus for innovation leading to higher stages of sophistication in production, design, and invention. That, too, is being outsourced, not a problem for the “money mandarins” who increasingly design policy, but a serious problem for working people and the middle classes, and a real disaster for the most oppressed, African Americans, who have never escaped the legacy of slavery and its ugly aftermath, and whose meager wealth virtually disappeared after the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008, setting off the most recent financial crisis, the worst so far.
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works. His latest books are “Making the Future: Occupations, Intervention, Empire, and Resistance,” “The Essential Chomsky” (edited by Anthony Arnove), a collection of his writings on politics and on language from the 1950s to the present, “Gaza in Crisis,” with Ilan Pappé, and “Hopes and Prospects,” also available as an audiobook. To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Chomsky offers an anatomy of American defeats in the Greater Middle East, click here, or download it to your iPod here.
[Note: Truthdig will post Part 2 of Noam Chomsky’s discussion of the American decline, “The Imperial Way,” on Thursday.]
Copyright 2012 Noam Chomsky
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