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Chomsky on third world debt

2000-04-19 19:26:24+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

I am not a Noam Chomsky fan, but Monkeyfist has a remarkably coherent answer by Chomsky on why third world debt needs to be reconsidered.

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:54+00 by: kendall

The only thing I find remarkable is that anyone wouldn't be a Noam Chomsky fan! :> For what it's worth, Chomsky's routinely that coherent on an amazingly wide-range of issues.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:54+00 by: Dan Lyke

Nawww, everything else I've read by him shows him to be have relativistic ethics and a feeling that humans need to be protected by the uberpeople his attitudes represent. Besides which, his ideas on linguistics are beyond ludicrous.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:54+00 by: kendall

I'm confused: what does 'relativistic ethics' mean? And I'm afraid I just have no idea what 'a feeling that humans need to be protected by the uberpeople his attitudes represent' means at all. Given that he's acknowledged by everyone to have created modern linguistics essentially by himself, essentially before he turned 30, I suspect I'd need a *bit* more than just 'his ideas on linguistics are beyond ludicrous'. That's a very serious criticism to make in 1 sentence with 9 words. I've read more of his political stuff than his linguistics, but I've read enough of his linguistics, and had enough coursework in linguistics and related areas, to think the 'beyond ludicrous' charge is going to be pretty hard to defend. Just my 2 cents. :>

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:55+00 by: ziffle

Noam "Think Left" Chomsky identifies a disaster, but tries to blame the wrong principle, as usual. As he, and his defenders do often, he redefines terms and then knocks them down, as straw men. Straw men are easy to attack, thats why he invents them. He points out the bad news, such as loans to crooks, and calls it an example of the 'capitalist principle'. Chomsky wouldn't know capitalism if it bit him in the ass. Capitalism is simply the public expression of the individual right to ethically earn what you can and keep it. You earn something ethically when you make an agreement voluntarily, provide what you said you would, and receive payment for your trade. What has happened with the IMF is the result of what Chomsky promotes: the transfer of wealth. The entire scheme is a ruse to transfer wealth from one group to another, or to use it to control the other. Only an out of control socialist government like ours, with no other attempt at an ethical base other than incremental socialism, and the transfer of wealth form the producers to the consumers, could come up with a scheme like the IMF. If during the last 40 years the IMF had promoted capitalism in those countries, they would today be capitalist, and buying our products instead of demanding debt relief. But they did not promote capitalism, they promoted 'mixed economy' and socialist agendas, which of course is what Chomsky has been asking for; well, he is getting what he wanted is he not? "Brother you asked for it." Chomsky's ideas are part of the ash heap of history. If he really cared about those people he would advocate freedom, individual rights, and capitalism. Only then would they have the intellectual tools needed to aquire wealth. Instead he tries to pin the failure of socialism on capitalism. Lets not be confused by Noam "think left" Chomsky and his desire to stop capitalism. He wants to have his cake and eat it too.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:55+00 by: Dan Lyke

As for ludicrous linguistics, Chomsky dives whole hog into that Christian spiritualistic attitude about the causes of intelligence. It seems plainly clear to me that a good portion of thinking comes from language, and not vice-versa, otherwise there'd be, for instance, no way that we'd have high schoolers dealing with concepts that only a few people understood a hundred years ago. It's not like advances in nutrition or physical evolution can account for that sort of thing. Which is why I'm a fan of Vygotsky and his ilk, the folks opposite Chomsky in the linguistics debate.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:29:55+00 by: oliver

Why don't you all go ask Chomsky directly and let him respond to your concern. Go the www.zmag.org, and go into their discussion forums; there's a whole forum there devoted to Chomsky (I think called ChomskyChat). Not read any of his linguistic writings, so I can't comment there. Ziffle's comments strike me as oversimplistic, and ignores the money fetishism that has become a large part of our economy. His definition of capitalism isn't something an economist would consider accurate, I think, and ignores the dynamics of a real political system.