Read requiem for the american dream the 10 principles of concentration of wealth power by Noam Chomsky Peter Hutchinson Kelly Nyks Jared P. Scott Online


A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!In his first major book on the subject of income inequality, Noam Chomsky skewers the fundamental tenets of neoliberalism and casts a clear, cold, patient eye on the economic facts of life. What are the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power at work in America today? They're simple enough: reduce democracy, shape ideology, redesignA NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!In his first major book on the subject of income inequality, Noam Chomsky skewers the fundamental tenets of neoliberalism and casts a clear, cold, patient eye on the economic facts of life. What are the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power at work in America today? They're simple enough: reduce democracy, shape ideology, redesign the economy, shift the burden onto the poor and middle classes, attack the solidarity of the people, let special interests run the regulators, engineer election results, use fear and the power of the state to keep the rabble in line, manufacture consent, marginalize the population. In Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky devotes a chapter to each of these ten principles, and adds readings from some of the core texts that have influenced his thinking to bolster his argument.To create Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky and his editors, the filmmakers Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, and Jared P. Scott, spent countless hours together over the course of five years, from 2011 to 2016. After the release of the film version, Chomsky and the editors returned to the many hours of tape and transcript and created a document that included three times as much text as was used in the film. The book that has resulted is nonetheless arguably the most succinct and tightly woven of Chomsky's long career, a beautiful vessel--including old-fashioned ligatures in the typeface--in which to carry Chomsky's bold and uncompromising vision, his perspective on the economic reality and its impact on our political and moral well-being as a nation."During the Great Depression, which I'm old enough to remember, it was bad–much worse subjectively than today. But there was a sense that we'll get out of this somehow, an expectation that things were going to get better . . ." —from Requiem for the American Dream...

Title : requiem for the american dream the 10 principles of concentration of wealth power
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requiem for the american dream the 10 principles of concentration of wealth power Reviews

  • Genevieve
    2019-02-15 23:20

    Essential reading for anyone preferring to be an informed member of the electorate, a participant in democracy rather than a spectator of extravaganza and or an uninformed consumer making irrational choices (by design) that lead to a trapping by debt. A sober but necessary accounting of the way things are now and the uber wealthy powers that be ("masters of mankind") linked to key events and (deliberate) trends that made our current landscape a reality. This, along with important history to remind us of the validity of and high stakes for a much bigger expectation/demand by the public and of the organizing successes of the Labor movement + our very real power when we are (informed) mobilized and committed, makes for an accessible, effective primer to cultivating activism as a way of life (rather than a temporary reaction to a single candidate or President). I appreciate particularly how this knowledge pierces sharply any remaining illusions sold to me (us) of what a "proper" life ought to include (mass commodities) by elucidating in detail the larger motivations, which include anesthetizing an otherwise powerful majority of We-the-People. We who, void of the spectacle + advertising vying through every medium every minute of the day for our energy and attention (so as to exhaust them) and our $$ (so as to trap us by debt), inherently know what truly matters: taking care of each other and our planet. I personally see no greater reason for prioritizing and or recommitting to a life of participatory democracy, a truly meaningful life. From the book, here is a quote + Audible clip from the chapter called Principle No. 9, Manufacturing Consent:"One of the first major, modern studies of the nature of government was by David Hume, a great philosopher and political philosopher, as well. He wrote on what he called, 'The Foundations of the Theory of Government', and one thing he pointed out was that in every state no matter what type, whether it's futile, militaristic, whatever it was, power is in the hands of the governed. They can, if they get together, take power. As long as they can be made to feel that they don't have power, then the powerful can rule. But if they come to understand that they DO have power, then repressive and authoritarian governments alike will collapse."Audible clip:"What matters is the countless small deeds of unknown people who lay the basis for the significant events that enter history. They're the ones who've done things in the past. They're the ones who'll have to do it in the future."- Howard Zinn (longtime friend of Chomsky) Here is an interview with Noam Chomsky by Ralph Nader featuring a shorter version of this book for those who may be interested:

  • Mal Warwick
    2019-02-23 00:40

    For decades, economic scholars have commented on the dangers inherent in the growing concentration of wealth in Western society. Though misleadingly referred to as “income inequality” in the new media, this critically important topic actively entered public debate in 2011 with Occupy Wall Street. Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman and others added to the debate in the years that followed. Then, Senator Bernie Sanders flogged the issue at every opportunity in his presidential race in 2016, giving the issue further prominence. If there’s anyone alive and alert in America today who isn’t aware that the concentration of wealth is a growing problem for our society, I’d be surprised.Few contemporary American observers have a clearer-headed understanding of the issue and its causes than Noam Chomsky. Chomsky, born in 1928, is widely regarded as the father of modern linguistics and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He’s also well known—some might say notorious—as an activist and social commentator. He has written dozens of books on the technical aspects of his academic work, and even more on politics. But his latest, Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power, is not a book he wrote.Instead, the book was distilled from a 2015 film of the same name, a documentary patched together using interviews filmed over four years with Chomsky. Unlike the books he has written, most of which are slow going and many (the texts on linguistics, impenetrable), Requiem consists entirely of transcriptions from the spoken word. The style is conversational and uses only a bare minimum of jargon. It’s a quick read, and an enlightening one.As Chomsky notes, “Power has become so concentrated that not only are the banks ‘too big to fail,’ but as one economist put it, they are also ‘too big to jail.'” Given our experience over the past decade, it would be difficult to argue with that. And anyone who closely follows events in American society today would say the same about this observation by Chomsky: “the rich and powerful, they don’t want a capitalist system. They want to be able to run to the ‘nanny state’ as soon as they’re in trouble, and get bailed out by the taxpayer.” If the American people fully understood how much tax money is funneled to corporations as subsidies, and how much the tax code has been distorted to favor them and their shareholders, they would storm Washington DC by the millions.In Requiem, Chomsky presents ten “principles” that together explain how the massive concentration of wealth in America today has come about. (His analysis applies to other wealthy countries as well, but it fits the U.S. best.) His argument is best summed up as what he calls a vicious circle: “Concentration of wealth yields concentration of power, particularly so as the cost of elections skyrockets, which forces the political parties even more deeply into the pockets of major corporations.”The 10 principles underlying this reality, as Chomsky sees them, are: Reduce Democracy Shape Ideology Redesign the Economy Shift the Burden Attack Solidarity Run the Regulators Engineer Elections Keep the Rabble in Line Manufacture Consent Marginalize the PopulationI’ve never seen a more comprehensive or economical explanation of how wealth has come to be so concentrated in so few hands in the U.S. today. Most of these principles are self-evident at a glance. Only two may require explanation. Chomsky uses the word “solidarity” as a synonym for empathy, caring for others, or “concern for your fellow man,” to cite another archaic expression. His Principle #8, “Keep the Rabble in Line,” refers to the coordinated 45-year effort by Big Business and Right-Wing ideologues to destroy the labor movement.The editors of Requiem—Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, and Jared P. Scott—have interspersed short passages from other sources among the 10 Principles. The sources range over the centuries: from Aristotle and James Madison to Harry Truman and Martin Luther King Jr. These short excerpts from classic documents, speeches, press reports, and social commentaries add depth to the book’s presentation and enhance understanding of Chomsky’s message.Chomsky’s views have often been regarded as extreme. Certainly, he is vilified by commentators and scholars on the Right. But if you read Requiem for the American Dream, I think you’ll find his reading of history is accurate, his logic is sound, and his view of America today is—sadly—right on target.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-31 07:37

    Chomsky's bleak outlook on the state of the United States is that it is completely controlled by the very few and the very wealthy, because concentrations of money yield concentrations of power. In Requiem for the American Dream, he outlines the 10 principles that he believes allow these wealthy entities, who subscribe to "the vile maxim": (all for ourselves and nothing for anyone else) to control the US. I found it generally pretty conspiratorial and lacking any real goal – okay, things are bad... so what should we do? No, really. Like, practically?Principle 1: Reduce Democracy- Protect the wealth of the aristocrats from the "tyranny of the majority".- It costs so much to run for office that it must be funded by wealthy businesses. Our representatives are beholden to the businesses, not to the people.- The current education system limits critical thinking and college tuitions have been rising ever since colleges became places for social activism. People are straddled by debt and beholden to the debtors.Principle 2: Shape Ideology- Tell people if they disagree they are anti-American. These sorts of sentiments have tended to develop in totalitarian societies like the USSR.Principle 3: Redesign the Economy- Outsource to make more money at the expense of the domestic worker.- Shift from production to financial services. Then, when you've taken too many risks and collapsed, rely on the government to bail you out.Principle 4: Shift the Burden- I'm unclear on what this principle actually comes down to. But it is related to how the American Dream is dying, but the wealthy want everyone else to think it's alive so they'll still have hope that they can join it instead of fighting the system.Principle 5: Attack Solidarity- Stop providing social goods, promote personal responsibility and defund public supports so that they'll become so bad that people will demand private options.- He says that there are data to prove that the vast majority of Americans want national health insurance. Where these data came from I missed.Principle 6: Run the Regulators- Lobbying has made corporations even more powerful because they have more influence over politicians.- Have one set of rules for the rich and another for the poor. Provide subsidies and bailouts for companies, but not support for poor individuals.Principle 7: Engineer Elections- Use the fourteenth amendment to give personhood to corporations so that they may freely donate as much money as they want to political campaigns.Principle 8: Keep the Rabble in Line- Crush unions whenever possible since they can stand up to big business power.Principle 9: Manufacture Consent- Use PR to tell people what they should want and keep them focused on trivial success.- Promote irrational decision-making with unfounded advertising campaigns.Principle 10: Marginalize the Population- The People only get what they want when it is in line with what those in power want.- Martin Gillis compares public policy and public attitudes based on polling data. Policy correlates with business interests, not public attitudes (based on 107 policies). The rich have a higher correlation.- Anarchism and democracy are different ways of solving the same problem – too much power in the hands of too few.

  • Heather Neistein
    2019-02-07 02:34

    Noam Chomsky breaks it down simply: the US is no longer a Democracy. We are under corporate rule. We the people have been conditioned to believe in free markets while corporations that should be allowed to fail are bailed out by the government (we American taxpayers) as witnessed by the bank bailouts during the Great Recession.

  • Sheila
    2019-02-16 05:26

    Very timely. Very interesting. It's the companion book to the documentary by the same name. I liked that he went back 50 years to put what is happening today in our government and society in prospective and giving us the history of what has led up to today. He gives examples as well as excerpts of his source materials. This is written so it can be understood by everyone. I learned a lot. There is a lot to think about in these pages.

  • David Johnston
    2019-01-24 01:49

    This lays out some very thought provoking and timely ideas that seek to understand how we have arrived at this state in our society. Only 3 stars, as while it is a well laid out book, it is really only a transcription of the talking segments from the film and I would have appreciated a more in depth exploration on the topics discussed.

  • Christopher Bartling
    2019-02-06 00:38

    Wow, a really powerful book! Short, but got to the point in a hurry. Definitely whet my appetite for Chomsky. I will have to investigate some more. I like that he stays fairly neutral in his political party preference and makes an argument for general concentration of power with the wealthy.

  • Randall Wallace
    2019-01-23 05:37

    U.S. Planners saw two choices: you could reduce inequality, or you could reduce democracy. James Madison wanted to reduce Democracy while Aristotle wanted to increase Democracy. Madison’s way worked great, as long as “you didn’t pay attention to the victims. The United States was a settler-colonial society, the most brutal form of imperialism.” That conquest of Texas and half of Mexico was in order to increase production, “monopolize cotton” and “bring Britain to their knees.” Madison Quote: “They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” MLK Quote: “The movement must address itself to the questions of restructuring the whole of American Society.” The plutonomy sees the world as Rich/Non-Rich. For Noam, the final backlash against the Plutonomy will only happen when the vast majority of America understands it can no longer participate in the American Dream. Public Schools and Social Security are under attack because they teach solidarity, sympathy and caring with others. “You have to drive that out of people’s heads.” Nixon was the last Liberal President, because with him you get CPSC, OSHA, EPA and so for Noam, Nixon “was the last New Deal president”. When Conservatives say to you they want to shrink the government, ask them “Is that why the government actually grew during the Reagan years?” Elections should take ten minutes of our time and then we get back to our daily activism. Control Labor and you control the idea of people’s rights. We are “rushing” towards environmental disaster, and Republican Party has become the “most dangerous organization in world history.” Activism thrives with face-to-face contact as shown in Egypt, and “activists are the people who have created the rights that we enjoy.” All in all, a great easy to read Chomsky primer about concerns for Americans.

  • Tim Johnson
    2019-01-28 01:31

    I apologize to my kids and grandkids for the world they will inherit.This book didn't teach me anything I didn't already know. It seems more like an attempt to organize the mechanisms that have brought us to the point in history where we find ourselves.There is a concerted effort being carried out to turn America into an oligarchy, a two class society consisting of only the very rich and the very poor. Everything we fight amongst ourselves about: the economy, education, the environment, jobs, race, and religion are part of a well crafted PR campaign to create disinformed consumers and voters who make irrational choices. It's designed to tie us down with debt and to get us to vote against our own, and even future generations', best interests. It's the 20 ounce ribeye a burglar throws to the watchdog so they can carry out the family jewelry unmolested.On Real Time with Bill Mayer the other night, one of the guests said that there was racial hatred on the right and class hatred on the left. I don't think that's exactly true. I understand the importance of the economy and the role the wealthy play with regards to investment and job creation. Is it so unreasonable to ask for a level playing field? A clean environment? A fair chance to work hard and get ahead? What good are jobs if you aren't healthy enough to do anything or if there's no breathable air?I am afraid that the human race has forgotten how to come together and talk things out. If we did that more effectively, perhaps we'd be able to create enough consistent social pressure to bend the government to our will and actually protect he middle class and the working poor, as well as the wealthy.As it stands now I am considering starting my own gofundme or kickstarter campaign to start an investment firm with global domination as its goal. Since the politician's only listen to money anyway...

  • Eva-Maria Obermann
    2019-02-04 01:42

    Der amerikanische Traum ist uns allen ein Begriff. Vom Tellerwäscher zum Millionär. Chomsky dagegen greift in seinem Buch, das auf dem gleichnamigen Film basiert, zehn Prinzipien zu Macht und Reichtum auf. Dabei wird schnell klar, dass der amerikanische Traum dabei gar keinen Platz hat.Es ist geradezu erschreckend, wie logisch die Prinzipien klingen, die von der Einschränkung von Demokratie, der Bestimmung von Ideologien und dem Übertragen von Lasten auf andere sprechen. Noch gruseliger wird es, wenn diese theoretischen Komplexe mit dem Amerika von heute verglichen werden. Gruselig, weil real oder zumindest realistisch. So realistisch, dass ich im stimmen Kämmerlein auch Strukturen in unserer eigenen Gesellschaft entdeckt habe, die in die gleiche Richtung tendieren. Neben dem eigentlichen Text haben die Herausgeber zusätzlich Abschriften von Zeitzeugen eingefügt. Ein Auszug von Adam Smiths Der Wohlstand der Nationen von 1776, Ein kurzer Text von David Hume Über die ursprünglichen Prinzipien der Regierung von 1741 oder Harry S. Trumans Rede vom 30.09.1948 beispielweise. Diese ergänzen nicht nur, sondern zeigen auch radikale Brüche in historischen Verlauf und Überlegungen, die bereits früh angefangen haben. Der Ist-Zustand kommt nicht aus dem Nichts, sagen diese Texte und bieten einen interessanten Einblick, der auflockert.Requiem für den amerikanischen Traum ist kein einfaches Buch, weil es so radikal realistisch ist, aber auch, weil es den Leser permanent fordert. Ein Sachbuch eben. Und doch ist es ein unheimlich wichtiges. Nicht nur im Kontext Amerika, sondern allgemein für alle Machtstrukturen, die mir so einfallen. Tatsächlich finde ich es als Autorin auch hochinteressant im Hinblick auf Weltenbildung und Strukturen.

  • Harry Allagree
    2019-02-20 23:28

    Noam Chomsky lays out the current status of the United States, and there are obvious hints in the very title of this book as to where he's going with it: REQUIEM for the American Dream. 10 principles of CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH & POWER. It would simply be hard, if not impossible, to do any kind of justice to what Chomsky says in a short book review...this book must be read, digested & seriously thought about.A Chomsky quote (p. 143) summarizes a general sense of what he feels: "The tendencies that we've been describing within American society, unless reversed, will create an extremely ugly society. A society that's based on Adam Smith's vile maxim, "All for ourselves, nothing for anyone else," the New Spirit of the Age, "gain wealth, forgetting all but self," a society in which normal human instincts and emotions of sympathy, solidarity, mutual support, in which they're driven out. That's a society so ugly I don't even know who'd want to live in it...If a society is based on control by private wealth, it will reflect those values--values of greed and desire to maximize personal gain at the expense of others...A global society based on that principle is headed for massive destruction..."This book's format is superb in every aspect, visually extremely easy to read. Chomsky's style is more like a conversation, exceedingly clear, backed up by historical fact, many snippets of which are quoted within the chapters. He is blunt, honest, not given to exaggeration, hopeful...IF all of us are willing to learn how we can interact & learn from one another in order to correct society's serious defects & flaws, as Chomsky says, "by operating outside of the framework that is commonly accepted. I think we're going to have to find new ways of political action..."

  • Stacy Schmidt
    2019-02-08 04:25

    I happened to read this book while the 2017 GOP tax bill was being crafted and voted on. I couldn't fathom what lawmakers were thinking by creating a bill whose benefits were so clearly skewed to the richest people in the country and which was so unpopular with the general public. After reading this book, I completely understand it. Although this book was written prior to the tax plan being crafted, it shows that just about anyone could have predicted it by simply understanding the 10 principles outlined in the book. It was disturbingly prophetic.

  • Glenn
    2019-02-09 05:34

    Noam breaks down the ways the wealthy and powerful control the 99% and what we can do about it, providing great primary source evidence at the end of each chapter. What we see now in our broken political system is nothing new or shocking to those who have been paying attention. Read this book and join that group. Having a Howard Zinn passage as the closing words of this book seemed hugely appropriate.

  • Roger Green
    2019-01-26 00:46

    This little book follows in textual form with references the same argument Chomsky makes in the film of the same title. It is geared toward a wide audience, readable and thought provoking --as always with Chomsky.

  • Patrick
    2019-02-06 23:21

    Chomsky is so reasonable. One of my three faves: Nader, Zinn, and Chomsky. This is book is even better because it also includes others writings; from Adam Smith and James Madison to Howard Zinn. Really ties the room together. Happy Birthday Caitlin.

  • Paula Ferreira Pinto
    2019-02-02 06:32

    Uma introdução rápida ao pensamento de Chomsky, ilustrado (!!!) e com a útil valência de transcrição parcial das obras e autores citados no texto.Não dispensa nem a visualização do documentário do qual foi extraído, nem a leitura das demais obras do autor.

  • Miquixote
    2019-02-22 03:45

    My 9th Chomsky Here Noam condenses the principles into a very manageable book. What follows is my further condensation into a review:Democracy, electionsHow can there be democracy when you can only vote every 4 years? And the votes are rigged to the highest bidder (no limits on candidate funding)? Did you know Obama won best Marketing of the year when he won his election in 2008? And you thought he could actually do something the 1% wouldn’t approve of? Tsk tsk.Ideology, consensusHow can you call it democracy when media is controlled by the 1% too? When the education system is only for the rich? If you do get a university degree without cash in the bank, you’ll be quickly trapped by massive student loans. So for most, the only answer is to become lackeys of the elite.Economics, regulatory agencies, fiscal loadsThe economic system of neoliberalism is fixed too. Emphasis on the ‘neo’. It’s not even capitalism. It’s welfare for the rich. Regulatory agencies and government are in bed with the banks and corporations. The corrupt 1 percenters are too big to jail. So just ask for more from the middle class and poor so the rich can keep getting a bigger slice of the pie. So fat and so mean...Solidarity, marginalization, unionsMeanwhile we are atomized individuals. There is little solidarity. Unions are basically kaput. The environment done like dinner (especially with Republicans at the helm).Chomsky says protest, protest, protest. Debate, debate, debate. But really, let’s be frank: No is Not Enough. No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need And that’s my next book.This is one of Chomsky’s best. It is essentially a summary of the documentary with the same name. Along with his other documentary-based book Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, his most succinct. If you are wondering where to start with Chomsky, i would say one of those 2.His bigger, deeper masterpieces are however the original Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media and Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky.

  • Abigail
    2019-01-24 07:47

    This book contains the stuff of nightmares. Literally, it kept me awake before bed, because it's so awful to be shown how you (and by "you" I mean the 99.5%) have been boondoggled, taken advantage of, and left to suffer by the wealthy and powerful (to a varying degree, of course; I recognize that I have still a great deal more privilege than many). The book is short and incredibly easy to read. In fact, his writing is almost annoyingly conversational, complete with the kind of syntax you should only get away with in a speech. That said, he prints his primary sources right in there on the green pages after each chapter; no need to scour a bibliography. If you read only the white pages (ahem), you can probably finish it faster than you could watch the movie.Republican leaders do not fare well in his analysis, but don't be afraid to read this if you're a conservative today. Unless you're making 7 figures, he doesn't blame you for how we got here. "Today's [mainstream] Democrats are pretty much what used to be called moderate Repulicans..." "...[T]he spectrum has shifted so far to the right that what the population wants, and what was once mainstream, now looks radical and extremist."Anyone who's not super-wealthy, whether right or left, will feel both understood and ashamed. (The ultra-wealthy who perpetrate these schemes, mostly knowingly, I don't think can feel shame, or they couldn't do what they do.) Most of the scathing criticism is for the rich who are bankrolling the politicians -- the equivalent of Jesus calling out the Pharisees.I kept waiting for the big chapter 11: What Do We Do About This. But there isn't one. The only answers are bits of advice and tidbits of regret, sprinkled throughout, that amount to this: GET WOKE. Organize. Be active. In other words... RESIST. But not just "resist Trump"; that's falling for the divisions they want you to see. Resist the people who want to hold power at your expense.Could it be that the election of Trump needed to happen -- something so dramatic and extreme needed to happen -- so that the people would band together and take back some of their rights? But how do we do that when the rich have so effectively pitted us against one another, while they sit back and profit from our suffering? The answer is that we have to all "get woke" together, we must have our eyes opened to how the financial system intentionally makes us dependent and insecure. Then we must focus on solidarity (our similarities) rather than our differences.

  • William Schram
    2019-02-22 03:39

    In Requiem for the American Dream, Noam Chomsky discusses the problems with the American Dream as of 2016 or so. There are ten basic tactics used to supplant the American Dream with something more acceptable to the rich and privileged. They are as follows:(1. Reduce Democracy(2. Shape Ideology(3. Redesign the Economy(4. Shift the Burden(5. Attack Solidarity(6. Run the Regulators(7. Engineer Elections(8. Keep the Rabble in Line(9. Manufacture Consent(10. Marginalize the PopulationAs scary as all of this looks and sounds it goes much deeper than that since this is built into the Constitution. Democracy and its ideals should work as the common man overseeing everything and running the government, but when has that actually been the case in the History of the United States? Even George Washington was a rich, privileged, landowner from Virginia.The basic idea of the first tactic is that Democracy equals equality to all. This is unacceptable because many landed gentry and other rich people worked to get where they are or inherited their money and don’t want the filthy, unwashed masses to have it. Therefore, they mess with the elections, making them so expensive that no one can afford to run for office. When did one of the factors of being President or a Senator become having millions of dollars? Not to mention the class struggles throughout the History of the US between us and them. The Women’s Rights movement, freeing the slaves, the Black Power movement of the 1960s, Counterculture and its effects and so on.The second edict is Shape Ideology. This basically talks about how in the 1970s a lot of rich people felt threatened by “raging leftists,” most notably Ralph Nader. Control takes a number of forms. Chomsky presents the idea of College Architecture as one example. Prior to the 1970s, you could find large areas where students could congregate. Now they are rarely included in floor plans. Also, tuition levels have skyrocketed since then, allowing only a select few to even attend college. A student that comes out of college with $100,000 in debt is trapped until they can pay off that debt. It’s not like you can file for Bankruptcy or anything either since they just garnish your wages. Even in the lower grades, we see instances of this. Creativity is undermined, rote learning and mechanical skills are championed. Then we use drugs to “help” the children we feel aren’t up to the task of learning. Chomsky finishes this part by ruminating on the matter of being called “anti-American.” The notion of being called against your country in such a manner is used in Totalitarian Regimes, which I find rather interesting.The third idea is to Redesign the Economy. Back before the Housing Bubble of 2008, financial institutions had 40% of corporate profits. Before this, back in the 1950s say, our economy was focused mainly on production and manufacturing. Nowadays the “masters of mankind” don’t want manufacturing jobs to return to the US because it is cheaper for them to manufacture things in China or Vietnam, where the Environmental Constraints are lower and the labor is super cheap. This leads to greater profits. Another point Chomsky makes is Worker Insecurity. If you can keep workers insecure, they will be happy to accept whatever scraps are tossed their way, as long as they have their jobs. So Chomsky reiterates that the major problems of wealth concentration are offshoring and financialization. The fourth idea is Shift the Burden. The American Dream was partly symbolic but partly real. In the 1950s and 1960s was the Golden Age of the American Dream. When manufacturing jobs were here, one could get a job at an auto plant, buy a home, get a car, have their children go to school and so on. In the present, it is not as easy, since the economy is worldwide. Also, the only people that matter are the massive concentrations of wealth dubbed the Plutonomy. Everyone else is worthless and what happens to them doesn’t matter.The fifth principle is Attack Solidarity. This means congregations of people like the unions or even the Social Security system. The masters hate the Social Security system because it benefits the General Public. So they have attempted to defund it. Then people get angry and want something else. The principle of Solidarity says “I pay taxes so the little child across the street can get a public education.” Since the 1950s and 1960s, with skyrocketing tuition costs, the student now bears the brunt of the burden. Let’s say you want to be a public interest lawyer, but with all the debt you have, you have to go into a corporate law firm to pay them off. Take other countries like Mexico or Germany. How much do you pay to go to school? Virtually nothing.The sixth is to Run the Regulators. If the business controls the institution meant to control it, what you have is a “Who watches the Watchmen” situation.I don’t really feel like typing much more, but you get the gist, right? The concentration of wealth leads to a concentration of power, and those in power want to keep it by any means necessary. So this book was pretty good, and it packed a ton of info into such a small package. When I first saw the font size I thought this was going to be an easy read, but I suppose I was wrong in that sense.

  • Doug Lewars
    2019-02-19 23:33

    *** Possible Spoilers ***Going in you probably realize that anything by Noam Chomsky will be a polemic for the far left. This is no exception. If your politics are left of center you will probably enjoy it. If your politics are more to the right you won't enjoy it but you may learn from it. Of interest are the areas where Chomsky describes a problem in such a way that it's almost as if he's shifted from one side of the political spectrum to the other. Consider globalism. Globalism is lethal to the North American worker and Chomsky recognizes that. On the other hand globalism has increased the standard of living for an incredibly large number of individuals - not North American individuals but people nonetheless. You really can't have it both ways although Chomsky tries by suggesting that the solution to the problems to globalism can be cured with what amounts to universal Marxism. There are a number of these little contradictions throughout the book and I found them very interesting. This is a book that apparently was based on a movie. I've never seen the movie but there are definite limitations that exist when most features run between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Abbreviation is an absolute necessity so, basing a book on a movie means that things are going to get a little terse at times. There are plenty of assertions and few of them are backed up. There is an excellent bibliography if one wants to follow up but I have doubts that anyone would want to wade through it. I certainly don't. In general the book is well-written if nothing else. It's an easy and mildly pleasant read provided you don't throw it across the room at some of the more 'up with the barricades' parts. It also points out a number of real issues. In my opinion Marxism isn't a viable solution and in the past, revolutions have just replaced one set of bad actors for another. That doesn't alter the fact that there are significant issues in North America that should be considered. I don't have a solution and neither does Chomsky however much he may think he has, but at least he provides the reader with something to think about.

  • Debra Daniels-zeller
    2019-01-25 23:28

    I didn't see the movie that goes with this book but I've listend to Noam Chomsky and found his interviews compelling comments about American so when I sawthis book, I couldn't wait to read it. Chomsky writes about the conservative agenda to destroy the human race and also points the finger at neoliberalism, also on a path of destruction and discord. Though this book was short, it was packed with examples from history to insights about our bleak future as we continue on this political path of planetary destruction. Each chapter is a principle that the ruling class adheres to: Reduce Democracy, Shape Ideology, Redesign the Economy, Shift the Burden, Attack Solidarity, Run the Regulators, Engineer the Elections, Keep the Rabble in Line, Manufacture Consent and Marginalize the Population. No surprise that the ruling class does not want a free press or solidarity. I liked manufacturing consent with the rise of the PR industry and trapping people into becoming consumers and accumulating debt so they make irrational choices against their own self interests. It also covered undermining elections and selling candidates. The most surprise bit of information here was right after the 2008 election when Barack Obama won an award from the advertising industry for the best marketing campaign. "They said, 'We've been selling candidates, marketing candidates like toothpaste ever since Reagan, and this is the greatest achievement we have.'" And if you want to read a book that tells you exactly what a neoliberal is, this is it. I knew elections, candidates and the political process has changed, this one sheds light on why and when it started.

  • Viktor Slavchev
    2019-02-08 23:23

    Не мога да кажа, че не беше интересна и в нея със сигурност има верни наблюдения, но бих казал, че трябва да се чете внимателно и през сериозен филтър от критично мислене. Още от подзаглавието - "ДЕСЕТ ПРИНЦИПА НА СЪСРЕДОТОЧАВАНЕ НА БОГАТСТВО И ВЛАСТ!" ми направи впечатление леко пропагандния език на автора, който всъщност не се променя до края на самата книга. Като цяло философията на Чомски има доста пропаганден характер, постоянно се хвърлят твърдения, които си приемат за верни без да се налага тяхното обяснение ("здравната система се разпада", "инфраструктурата не става за нищо"), набляга се повече на фрази със силно експресивно въздействие, които да служат на интересите и възгледите на автора, напр. от една страна има "богатите господари на света", докато от другата има "бедни вдовици", "ветерани", "възрастни хора". Вижданията на Чомски, от моята гледна точка, са доста "леви" и почиват на твърде симплифицираното твърдение, че хората с пари са лоши, хората без пари са добри и най-вече, непростимото допускане, че ниския социален статус дава право на претенции върху чуждите материални/финансови постижения. Мисля, че наред с това в книгата има и доста стойностни моменти, свързани с рекламната пропаганда и начините за манипулиране и фабрикуване на електорат и потребители. Но както казах, редно е да се чете внимателно и без сляпо доверие.

  • Sara Pascoe
    2019-02-21 00:45

    Read this book. Now. And give it to every high school student you know! An almost outline overview of the key developments that have brought us to where we are today in the US -- a prior democracy now ruled by corporate needs. I know this always sounds over the top to people who haven't read much about this, but unfortunately a number of laws and Supreme Court rulings have brought this about since WWII. Chomsky is a master and a true public servant. I think every American should read this, and I hope a version is created for elementary school students -- they need to learn the real history of the US, not the weird cartoon-version I was fed in public school a long time ago. My only quibble with this book are a couple of odd design and editorial quirks. In the paperback version they use a font with odd little ties between letters. It turns out they are called 'ligatures' and they do pull at the eye! I found them distracting, taking me out of the book each time. I even tried to brush the first one off, thinking it was an eyelash or lint! The second thing, is that they chose to write 'gonna' rather than 'going' when in Chomsky's voice. This will likely become a classic, and real English is just nicer in a book like this. Chomsky is most definitely a star. Just not a rap star.

  • Erin
    2019-02-23 05:21

    Well. If Chomsky's right, and he included lots of evidence to support this position, then the elites, the really rich people who owned property and businesses, structured our government in order to keep the rest of under control. And that makes me sad. This isn't the America I read about in school.He cites James Madison, who felt that the US system "should be designed . . . so that the power rests in the hands of the wealthy. Because the wealthy are the more responsible set of men, those who have the public interest at heart" (1). Actually I'm quoting Chomsky here; he quotes Madison directly and presents that concept of "the tyranny of the majority" in context. It wasn't about oppression but rather keeping the poor from reappropriating land and wealth from the rich. And yes. This is a rather dystopic view of America. Very depressing. I hope there's other evidence out that that counterbalances this, but I'm not a historian, and so I don't have it. I'm having my students read this in the fall. I don't care if they agree, but I want them to analyze his use of evidence and rhetorical strategies.

  • Mary Ralph
    2019-02-12 03:39

    this was great. i would have given it 5, but i didn't necessarily feel that i learned anything new, so much as my beliefs about income inequality were eloquently encapsulated. much like naomi klein's no is not enough, it manages to be utterly terrifying in its outlook while also being entirely hopeful in the power of individuals to come together and create's a companion to the film of the same name, but i imagine many folks would be happy to just stick with the film. in either case, it's worth it just for the paraphrased howard zinn quote. <3 if you've never read any chomsky, this is a fine introduction.

  • Brian Mikołajczyk
    2019-02-23 02:31

    Chomsky outlines ten principles for how wealth and power can be concentrated. They are Reduce Democracy, Shape Ideology, Redesign the Economy, Shift the Burden, Attack Solidarity, Run the Regulators, Engineer Elections, Keep the Rabble in Line, Manufacture Consent, and Marginalize the Population. Each of these principles apply to the current state of our country in very shallow ways which is indeed quite saddening. This should be required reading for all.

  • Jorge Mahecha
    2019-02-18 06:28

    A nice introduction to Chomsky's political ideasThe book is written in a very simple language. Its easy to read and provides a summary of the main of Chomsky's political views in a variety of subjects. A nice feature is that it's full of references to supporting materials like news articles and historical sources that are of great value to appreciate the overall consistency of Chomsky's claims.

  • Cullen Haynes
    2019-02-14 01:25

    "All for ourselves and nothing for other people, in every age, seems to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind" - Wealth of Nations. Chomsky's book examines A.Smith's vile maxim, by shedding light on the world of the Lumpenproletariat; the classes that are unlikely ever to achieve class consciousness...or put simply, share what the top 1% have. Each chapter outlines a principle The System uses to ensure concentration of wealth and power and marginalise the population.

  • Rainey
    2019-01-31 06:22

    Requiem for the American Dream looks critically at the current state of American politics in the wake of a Trump election, examining how neoliberalism and far-right conservatism have both working in similar ways to destroy the institute of democracy and the need for progressive action to push out the oligarchy and move back to a truly democratic society.

  • Joel
    2019-02-11 00:40

    Excellent take on many of the problems facing our country today and how we got there. Downsides:• He seamlessly blends data into a narrative which sometimes makes it hard to discern opinion from fact.• The book has a very conspiracy theory feel to it as he ascribes a lot of power (and guilt) to a (mostly) unverifiable minority in power to explain the demise of the American institution.