DiEM25 interviews Noam Chomsky on the Corona Crisis
In the global Corona crisis, numerous bright minds are speaking out from quarantine. Particularly impressive is the famous linguist and political intellectual Noam Chomsky, who at 91 has truly seen a lot. He wrote his first political essay back in February 1939 about the fall of Barcelona to Franco's troops and the spread of the fascist plague in Europe. In the current conversation with Srecko Horvath of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement), he currently sees a critical moment in human history: not only does the Corona crisis with its tendency to compartmentalization and war rhetoric present itself as the result of a "colossal market failure", but also the ecological and geopolitical consequences of global warming coming our way, including the increased risk of nuclear war, and not least the disintegration of democracy in favor of authoritarian forms of government should once again give us food for thought:
What kind of world do we actually want to live in?
It is worrying to see how, in times of Corona crisis, political power is in the hands of sociopathic charlatans like Trump or Bolsonaro, and how, in Europe, international cooperation fails because of national egoisms: Germany does not help Greece, but Cuba and China send aid to Europe.
The Corona crisis is, above all, a "colossal market failure," Chomsky said. Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, he said, it had been clear that a corona virus pandemic was likely. Laboratories around the world could have worked to develop protection for potential pandemics. Why didn't that happen? The so-called "market signals" were wrong, Chomsky said, and the pharmaceutical companies took their huge profits elsewhere:
"We have left our fate to private tyrannies, the so-called corporations, who cannot be held accountable by the public. In this case, making new body creams is more profitable for the big pharmaceutical corporations than finding a vaccine to protect humanity from total destruction. Governments could have stepped in here"
Since Reagan and Thatcher, the doctrine of neoliberalism has been: "there is no such thing as society," regulatory intervention has been considered anti-business, and our infrastructure has been left to "the markets" and international corporations, which is visibly avenging itself today and will continue to avenge itself in light of the disasters that lie ahead.
Chomsky not only points to the successful fight against the polio epidemic in the U.S. at the time of the New Deal and public medical research and care but also warns that neoliberalism could find a continuation in the disintegration of democracy and the formation of authoritarian systems as long as they only protect a "healthy" economy. One should not forget, he says, that the masterminds of the "Austrian school" of neoliberalism (Hayek and von Mises) explicitly welcomed the smashing of trade unions and the banning of social democracy in the Austrofascist Ständestaat, and likewise that the "chicago boys" - that is, the "Chicago school" - used the murderous Pinochet dictatorship in Chile as an experimental field for their doctrine of "free markets."
In order to be prepared for the ongoing and intensifying ecological, economic and political crises, Chomsky - and the R.U.S.Z with him - calls for a radical restructuring of society towards more humane conditions and a focus on human needs instead of private profits!