Socialism For The Rich, Capitalism For The Poor: An Interview With Noam Chomsky

The United States is rapidly declining on numerous fronts — collapsing infrastructure, a huge gap between haves and have-nots, stagnant wages, high infant mortality rates, the highest incarceration rate in the world — and it continues to be the only country in the advanced world without a universal health care system. Thus, questions about the nature of the US’s economy and its dysfunctional political system are more critical than ever, including questions about the status of the so-called American Dream, which has long served as an inspiration point for Americans and prospective immigrants alike. Indeed, in a recent documentary, Noam Chomsky, long considered one of America’s voices of conscience and one of the world’s leading public intellectuals, spoke of the end of the American Dream. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Chomsky discusses some of the problems facing the United States today, and whether the American Dream is “dead” — if it ever existed in the first place.

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, in several of your writings you question the usual view of the United States as an archetypical capitalist economy. Please explain.

Noam Chomsky: Consider this: Every time there is a crisis, the taxpayer is called on to bail out the banks and the major financial institutions. If you had a real capitalist economy in place, that would not be happening. Capitalists who made risky investments and failed would be wiped out. But the rich and powerful do not want a capitalist system. They want to be able to run the nanny state so when they are in trouble the taxpayer will bail them out. The conventional phrase is “too big to fail.”

The IMF did an interesting study a few years ago on profits of the big US banks. It attributed most of them to the many advantages that come from the implicit government insurance policy — not just the featured bailouts, but access to cheap credit and much else — including things the IMF researchers didn’t consider, like the incentive to undertake risky transactions, hence highly profitable in the short term, and if anything goes wrong, there’s always the taxpayer. Bloomberg Businessweek estimated the implicit taxpayer subsidy at over $80 billion per year.

Much has been said and written about economic inequality. Is economic inequality in the contemporary capitalist era very different from what it was in other post-slavery periods of American history?

The inequality in the contemporary period is almost unprecedented. If you look at total inequality, it ranks amongst the worse periods of American history. However, if you look at inequality more closely, you see that it comes from wealth that is in the hands of a tiny sector of the population. There were periods of American history, such as during the Gilded Age in the 1920s and the roaring 1990s, when something similar was going on. But the current period is extreme because inequality comes from super wealth. Literally, the top one-tenth of a percent are just super wealthy. This is not only extremely unjust in itself, but represents a development that has corrosive effects on democracy and on the vision of a decent society.

What does all this mean in terms of the American Dream? Is it dead?

The “American Dream” was all about class mobility. You were born poor, but could get out of poverty through hard work and provide a better future for your children. It was possible for [some workers] to find a decent-paying job, buy a home, a car and pay for a kid’s education. It’s all collapsed — and we shouldn’t have too many illusions about when it was partially real. Today social mobility in the US is below other rich societies.

Is the US then a democracy in name only?

The US professes to be a democracy, but it has clearly become something of a plutocracy, although it is still an open and free society by comparative standards. But let’s be clear about what democracy means. In a democracy, the public influences policy and then the government carries out actions determined by the public. For the most part, the US government carries out actions that benefit corporate and financial interests. It is also important to understand that privileged and powerful sectors in society have never liked democracy, for good reasons. Democracy places power in the hands of the population and takes it away from them. In fact, the privileged and powerful classes of this country have always sought to find ways to limit power from being placed in the hands of the general population — and they are breaking no new ground in this regard. Read more

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Mariell Juhlin ~ The Difficult Nature Of Housing

It is truly a tall order to fully understand the contribution of housing to growth, welfare and prosperity among individuals and societies. The field is generally under-researched and under-funded. Where there is research, it is often concentrated on a specific issue within a topical area such as: the link between labour market mobility and housing availability; the effect of poor housing on individual health outcomes, or the macro-economic risk of increased household indebtedness.

Rarely does housing research capture, or attempt to capture, the full socio-economic and dynamic effects of housing on individuals and society. Still, housing is affected by, and in turn affects, most other societal areas from architecture to private sector development. An obvious explanation is that housing markets are too complex to be described by unitary market equilibrium models and would require an empirical basis for submarket modelling. This, however, has not been embraced in applied research to any greater extent and, when it’s been done, it has been subject to inconsistency. The likely implication of this is that the effects of a functional, or indeed a dysfunctional, housing market may be both under-estimated and under-valued in literature and policy-research.

Read more: https://www.socialeurope.eu/difficult-nature-housing/#

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Studio Meritis MaKOM

Sonja van Es. Geschonden gebed. Ets. 1988

Studio Meritis MaKOM (Joseph Semah and Linda Bouws) is aware of the urgent need to add new perspectives to the dominant Western traditional way of thinking in our globalizing world.
The Western world has been predominately manifested by iconic works of art, literature, film, theatre, philosophy, often related to traditional Christianity.
But culture is not static, it is always changing: today’s culture is tomorrow’s heritage.

Seen from this perspective, it is necessary to take a critical look at how Western culture and art are presented and why. It is also important to recognize and accept sources and traditions of other cultures.
We will be searching for new structures and a new conceptual vision which will better reflect the reality of our pluralistic society. This will require thinking out of the box, whereby the artist’s scrutiny on the creative processes in the West will play an important role.

Mission
Studio Meritis MaKOM is committed to investigate and encourage different views on the current artistic research into Western culture. New research into the existing way of thinking will lead to new and maybe forgotten information, representations and interpretations. We will develop these, analyse them and provide them with a podium.
Our aim is to stimulate a collective commitment and to make a contribution to the debate on Western art and culture by also including non-Western art and culture.

Studio Meritis MaKOM reflects and provides context for art and culture.

Studio Meritis MaKOM focuses on
– Current global developments and discussions on Western art
– Contextualization of Western art
– The significance, relevance and representation of Western art, culture and politics in a complex world of interculturalism.

© Metropool Foundation International Art Projects

www.metropool-projects.com
www.josephsemah.nl

Contact: lindabouws@gmail.com
Mob: +31(0) 620132195

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500 Jaar Reformatie ~ On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) II ~ The Guardians Of The Door (Juni-December 2017)


In 2017 wordt 500 jaar Reformatie groots herdacht. Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten en beeldend kunstenaar Joseph Semah organiseren het artistiek, filosofisch project On Friendship / (Collateral Damage), deel II – The Guardians of The Door met kunst, performances, rondetafelgesprekken, lezingen en een publicatie. Een kritische reflectie op het beeld van Luther als ‘superstar’ en zijn betekenis toen en nu.

De Nieuwe Kerk, Joods Historisch Museum, Stedelijk Museum en het Goethe-Institut (allen Amsterdam) zijn partners in het project.

De Nieuwe Kerk
Reis in de tijd met interventie van Joseph Semah
500 jaar reformatie: een hedendaags antwoord op de 95 stellingen van Luther
Installatie, performance en rondetafelgesprek

Twee eerste schetsen voor een meterslange tafel met 95 eieren, 5000 meter wit garen, van Joseph Semah en de historische foto van de Wereldraad van Kerken in De Nieuwe Kerk 1948. Datum: Reis in de Tijd met Joseph Semah. Tentoonstelling:donderdag 13 juli – zondag 27 augustus 2017.

In 1517 zou Luther zijn stellingen op de kerkdeur hebben getimmerd. Voor de christelijke kerk en ook De Nieuwe Kerk heeft dit grote gevolgen gehad. De Nieuwe Kerk werd protestant, maar was in 1948 ook weer de kerk waar de oecumene voet aan de grond kreeg. De Wereldraad van Kerken vergaderde er voor het eerst.

500 jaar na dato zal Joseph Semah reageren op Luthers gedachtegoed en de betekenis ervan in zijn tijd en nu, waarbij hij, uiteraard ook de antisemitische teksten van deze kerkhervormer ‘meeneemt’. Voor De Nieuwe Kerk maakt hij een installatie en een performance met o.a. religieuze vertegenwoordigers. In zekere zin een verlaat antwoord van de kunst, zolang geweerd in de kerk.

Joods Historisch Museum
In het Joods Historisch Museum worden kunstwerken van Joseph Semah getoond uit de serie The Wandering Jew / The Wondering Christian en wordt een Gallery-talk georganiseerd.
Datum: half sept-december 2017

Het Stedelijk Museum
Voor het Stedelijk Museum zal Joseph Semah reageren op de collectie middels vijf performances, een workshop en een rondetafelgesprek.
Datum: 20, 21, 22 oktober 2017

Goethe-Institut
Vijf geheime installaties en gesprek.
Datum: najaar 2017

Najaar 2017. Publicatie: The Guardians Of The Door
Over de betekenis van Luther toen en nu.

Met teksten van:
Joseph Semah, beeldend kunstenaar; Dr. Arie Hartog, directeur Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen; Prof. Dr. Emile G.L. Schrijver, alg. dir. Joods Historisch Museum Amsterdam en Joods Cultureel Kwartier; Prof. Mr. Egbert Dommering, emeritus-hoogleraar informatierecht UvA; Prof. Dr. Ton Nijhuis, wetenschappelijk directeur van het Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam; Linda Bouws, stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten; Prof. dr. F.M. (Maarten) Doorman, Bijzonder Hoogleraar Historische cultuur van Duitsland; Dr. Margriet Schavemaker, Manager Educatie, Interpretatie en Publicaties Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Jan Vos- LL.B MaLic Hans Rutten; Rick Vercauteren, conservator Stedelijke Kunstcollectie Venlo en Felix Villanueva.

Voor info: lindabouws@gmail.com

On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) II – The Guardians of the Door wordt mogelijk gemaakt door een bijdrage van Mondriaan Fonds, Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, Haëlla Stichting, de Vrijzinnige Fondsen en Kerk en Wereld.

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Announcement February 2017 ~ Truth or Dare 2017

Spring To Come and Metropool International Art Projects/Studio Meritis MaKOM have announced their plans to team up and organise the 2017 festival TRUTH OR DARE.

Spring to Come is a platform through which researchers, activists and thinkers from the MENA region and Europe aim to explore the best ways forward in creative collaboration and examine the possibility of shaping innovative institutions beyond the current polarized frames. Metropool International Art Projects / Studio Meritis MaKOM is an organisation which stages artistic and cultural activities around core issues currently affecting Europe’s societies, and helps to foster independent thinking, networking and co-production.

Inspired by the success of the first edition of the Spring to Come festival in April 2016, this year we will turn to the urgent subject of ‘truth finding’. The debate on ‘post truth’ society – which currently dominates the news – is not new or an exclusively Western phenomenon. For many citizens in the Middle East and North Africa (the MENA region), living in a ‘post-truth environment’ has been a harsh reality for some time already. In Truth or Dare, we will connect with and draw on this extensive MENA experience with ‘alternative facts’, ‘conspiracy theories’, ‘fake news’, ‘identity politics’ and ‘polarization’ and take it as the starting point for our exchanges, explorations and reflections.

We live in a world in which the biggest loud-mouth seems to get all the attention. Facts, news, truthclaims appear more and more subject to political manipulation and polarization. They turn increasingly into sources of fierce social conflicts. All around, credibility is out of the window. Not much can be taken for granted, anymore. Legitimacy on the basis of experience or expertise is rapidly lost. It is unclear who represents whom or what.

Many public debates focus on the messenger rather than the message; the public outcry more about the ‘tone’ of the debate than about the contents of the debate itself. This is a trend which in itself is also cause of further dispute and polarization.

Paradoxes reign. With the arrival of social media outlets, the public arena looks opener and more accessible than ever. This is, however, deceptive. Not everybody has the same access to media channels. Rapid technological change is accompanies by new inequities, in access to financial possibilities and networks. Besides inequalities in terms of money, power inequalities are also still there. On top of explicit differences in social or political status, people’s public ‘playing field’ is often based on factors which remain more implicit: etnicity, religion, or education. People’s social ‘status’ is no longer so clear-cut.

In Truth or Dare, participants from the MENA region and Europe will engage in an international festival in which we will explore new concepts and ways of thinking together and test alternative, sustainble ways of collaborating. A series of digital publications on post-truth society will be launched in the Rozenberg Quarterly, Studio Meritis MaKOM. Throughout, we will draw on innovative research and artistic expressions.

Contact:
For Spring to Come, Faïrouz ben Salah, Fairouzbensalah@gmail.com
For Studio Meritis MaKOM, Linda Bouws, lindabouws@gmail.com

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THIRD REALITY /Manifest for Future Theater/

For centuries serious efforts of self perception have shown to be unsuccessful. Despite large number of schools and movements, generations of philosophers were unable to neither answer the questions of Antique period nor formulate new ones.

Moving through labyrinths of time and history we haven’t opened a single new door – we were competing in giving names to the same events.

More and more we kept diverging from the sacred and esoteric.
More and more a considerable part of humanity was living a better life.
More and more we kept stripping ourselves from spirituality.

To be brief and specific we are in the XXI century – in the age when love is based on religion and in the era when the deficit for love has lead us on one hand to spiritual ice age and on the other to global warming.

We live and exist, but where and in which dimension?

Spanish Golden Age playwright Pedro Calderon de la Barca made a following formulation of the historic riddle: Life is a Dream?! /La vida es sueno/.

It is obvious that for centuries there was an idea between the two worlds, offering us paired dimensions:
Existence – Dream
Life – Death
Paradise– Hell

Although religion kept bringing in a third world in the face of purgatory as a third dimension.

Calderon is formulating a question in regard to true reality and our true existence. Is it what we call life or is it what we call a dream?  Where does our true meaning lie?  When looking at it from a simple perspective, we can merely say that we physically exist in the so-called real life and our consciousness reveals itself in the realm of dreams – which is equally real for our consciousness.

Where can the true essence of a man be found? An essence expressed in antique formulation – “Perceive yourself” /Discover yourself/ or “Be who you are” /Be yourself/.

Here or there?  In the so-called life or in a dream?  Psychologists may very well say that it is only possible in a realm of dreams.

A new dimension

Development of the world
Interactivity
Resembling the arts – towards stream of consciousness
From Postmodernism to Neo Intellectualism

Recently a friend of mine told me – “An era of Rudolf Steiner /German anthropologist/ and associated with him Postmodernism is coming to an end” and an era of numerous neo-isms? – What should we expect next?

Post, Post, Post?

In the nineties a Spanish theater scholar from Barcelona Jose Angel Gomez widely used and promoted a theory of “Post Theatre”. Hoping for a new theater he wrote articles and books on Post Hamlet, Post Don Juan or the so–called Post Theater issues.

Art research is art philosophy.
Contemporary art historians could already be considered as being culture anthropologists.
From Interactivity to multimedia expression.

Our perception is interactive, which ensures interactivity to be sustained in the process of our self expression – this can only be achieved through means of multimedia.
We exist in number of realities at the same time – one of the most important amongst them is cyber reality – which requires the use of modern technologies as means of self expression.
We listen, watch, reflect, write and read at the same time. In cyber world we tend to interact with several, maybe even ten people at once without them being aware of it. We tend to disguise ourselves in cyber world with fictional biographies, with borrowed individualities and faces.
(Literally – if staring from Antique Theater we were sublimating our desires through an actor or character on stage, today we are the only ones in charge of this process – cyber reality has given us an opportunity to become what we desire and make it not only imaginary but cyber materialistic).

We are paying for a new life (second life – internet space for second reality) and thus our language of expression becomes cyber language – modern technologies of the world of numbers.
Cyber world is a realm with no time and no boarders, no language and no reality. In a sense we exist in a dimension beyond time and reality.

What does an art of this time look like, what are the means of its expression – Theatre – performance becomes a sole tool for the synthesis of arts, human thought and expression of man’s cyber apparitions. Nowadays as never before art is a synthesis.

Process of self expression is limitless, deep and never ending.
We are no longer in the world of news.
We are in the world of a frozen second, where seconds become infinity.

We are no longer in the world of finished works, but in a never ending world of movements, word, sound stretched into space. We are in an era of sending massages into the Universe.

Traditional ways and forms of thinking die out as never before;
Conflict of generations is severe as never before;
Destruction of the world that started in Babylon– finds ways of restoration in cyber world.
We are becoming citizens of cyber world.

We have knowledge of new technologies if not technique – although technique is a single tool for our self expression.

We might very well be at the end of the last decade of printed books – with environmental issues – all books will start dying off in cyber world and find birth in digital form.
We will soon be born and die in cyber world – our existence will set off in space.
Our existence will be infinite.

What will the theater look like now?

INTERACTIVE THEATER

Theater speaks every language at the same time, speaks to everyone without boarders, speaks a language everyone understands – through sound, noise, color, movement, music, light and shadow; image, projection and live broadcasting, in number of directions at the same time, at the same time in entire space.

There is no such thing as a theater space anymore. Space has spread beyond theater walls. It has become limitless. With high technologies, theater becomes more secret and mystical. As never before theater is closest to revealing spirit and thought…

If in the past theater was showing life and people living in it, now theater is more focused on what is happening inside people through life.
It reveals stream of consciousness with its rows of associations and ongoing processes in mind.

Expression of dreams has become a reality, depiction of thought has become real – theater can show our most hidden thoughts, our actions and what we desire to do.
This is only possible through multimedia theater and modern technologies.
Light created colors scattered all over the stage, each corner is transformed into a place of projection – everywhere we see projections of our thoughts and images – we reach deep down into the processes of human’s soul – not through a narrative but through a mere gaze, through penetration in secret labyrinths.

Theater has never been so close to expressing the mystical world – theater becomes global and at the same time very intimate – performance resembles a session of meditation and magnetism.
Theater starts to resemble a visual projection of a mystical world.
Theater starts creating an everyday ritual – theater prays for the universe through revealing human mind.

Light, music, color, noise they all become means of disguising a naked human body.
Nowadays people express themselves through naked bodies instead of words.

Today as never before theater is in need of a new language and this language is a human being – an actor, who can be taken as a measurement unit for a thought transfer in space, a superlative value.

A value of contemporary highly developed civilization – a human being has become an artwork for this very civilization and everything he comes into contact with can just as well become an artwork.
A human being as a measurement unit for freedom, a human being as an example of beauty, a human being as means of nature’s and world’s self expression.
In the world of culture – God is Absolute, which unites all religions despite their name variations, people despite ethnic differences – today God is Absolute – God is art, and art of making, process and result.
Today realities are relative to each other.
Timeline is replaced by one huge infinite dimension, without beginning and end, seconds and minutes are only part of infinity, digital infinity.
Absolute is Zero and plus one, simple truth.

Just one jump from Pythagoras /Greek philosopher/ to the Present.
World is encircled by numbers.
Base of the Universe is Absolute Harmony – Zero and everything undergoes change and creation by simply adding One.
Universe is just Zero and One.

Zero as an infinite Universe and One as every individual in it.

2008-2009, Georgia

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    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
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