Monday, April 11, 2016

Chomsky Praises Capitalism

And now I have your attention, we have the relevant quotation below, and, yes, it is a type of back-handed compliment to capitalism:
See, capitalism is not fundamentally racist—it can exploit racism for its purposes, but racism isn’t built into it. Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist—just because it’s anti-human. And race is in fact a human characteristic—there’s no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it is a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with the basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will purchase all the junk that’s produced—that’s their ultimate function, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance.”
form Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power (2002)
This is yet another reason why Chomsky must be distinguished from the modern regressive left or the extreme anti-capitalist Postmodernist or Marxist left. For most of the latter leftists think that capitalism is inherently racist, and they vehemently and irrationally blame capitalism for virtually everything.

But clearly Chomsky’s views are different. For him, “capitalism is not fundamentally racist.”

But I imagine even Chomsky cannot – or will not – make a further inference: that if, say, mass immigration is good for capitalism and helps to destroy organised labour and reduce wages, then we should find that many modern capitalists are strongly in favour of mass immigration.

And, yes, that is exactly what we find. But what is bizarre is that large parts of the modern left support endless mass immigration as well and, even worse, support the bizarre cult of open borders.

There is a strange alliance of big business and fanatical left wing support for mass immigration and open borders.

So what went wrong on the left? Why are large parts of the left in bed with the corporations and big business on this issue?

This is one of the most serious political issues of our time, whether people on the left like it or not.


  1. Well even though neoclassical version of capitalism is producing consuming, but i think that if we are talking about post keynesian version of capitalism its recognize the social value of capitalism labour social prestige etc, and it shows more humane and less mechanic version of capitalism

  2. >So what went wrong on the left? Why are large parts of the left in bed with the corporations and big business on this issue?

    People might want the same thing for different reasons. For example capitalists may appreciate immigration only to the extent that it produces the further outcome of exerting downwards pressure on wages and so on. Meanwhile the left might appreciate the freedom of immigration in itself, due to a genuine commitment to the freedom of the individual more generally.

    For this reason they might want open borders while simultaneously promoting or searching for alternative ways to avoid the ill-effects of immigration within a capitalist context, such as unionising and making a concentrated effort to radicalise immigrants or even favoring the abolition of dependent-employment, which is the context within which a downward pressure on wages makes sense as a possibility in the first place.

    1. Anonymous
      Well unions and jg will not solve this unlimited immigration problem because of 2 major reasons. will create huge pressure on public infrastructure and it will create the need always inject massive amounts of resources to provide sufficent level of services to everyone (hit on the welfare state which is really important element of leftist ideology which will be under attack in this case).

      2.the other problem is the so called free trade agreements which the left which main concern is identity politics style hilary clinton praise.

      In case there is free trade agreements and bias against tarrifs unions will just give push to manufacturing companies run away to china mexico or another poor third world countries so they will able to exploit their workers for poverty wages so unions will mot solve this problem specially when low skilled jobs are scarce in the developed world.

      3.dont forget the social cultural aspect which is important as well its really hard to absorb and assimiliate immigrants specially when they are coming in huge numbers with serious lack of skills and serious lack of knowledge of local culture and traditions.

    2. 1. By huge pressure on the welfare state, you mean to imply that the welfare state would have more obligations to fulfil and would therefore require further funds. This is not a problem if we take seriously the idea that an extensive welfare state is a requirement of justice that should be present even in the best of circumstances, and not a conditional and provisional form of state charity that should be abolished at the first opportunity. Properly understood your number 1 is a restatement that an inequal distribution of primary goods can only be alleviated through "redistributive" measures, or the consolidation of egalitarian distributive institutions.

      This is especially not a problem for cosmopolitan liberals (i.e. properly universalist liberals who believe principles of justice must have universal-global application, and the formation of nation-states is progressive exhaustively to the extent that it unites smaller and more fragmented populations on top of an idea of allegedly common descent to that end, and should be superseded if it holds back the global unity of the resulting national populations)

      2. I don't think HRC and other proponents of the so-called neoliberal left are leftist in any meaningful sense. I don't think HRC is an identitarian in any meaningful sense, either (identitarianism can justify some very radically egalitarian distributions, which I assume corporatist democrats like clinton would have an aneurysm over). But the substance of this point is well taken. The radical left tends to be opposed to "free-trade" deals and support trade based on fair trade principles, instead.

      3. I think there are two ways to understand the proposition that immigrants threaten our culture. One is that they will engage in practices that are not prevalent in our countries and that these practices might become generalised (they won't be assimilated in the sense of abandoning these practices for our practices, and some of "our" people might adopt them as well). I don't see any problem with this whatsoever. Cultures are both contingent and evolving.

      The second way to understand it is that some of their customs and practices conflict with principles of political justice (which is usually conflated with a commitment against multiculturalism, even though multiculturalism is about the protection of minority rights to participate in cultural conventions under the condition that they are compattible with those principles of justice. MC is, therefore, a restatement of liberal tolerance or of the admissibility of a reasonable pluralism of conceptions of the good, a direct outgrowth of the principle of the neutrality of the liberal state towards differing conceptions of the good insofar as they don't conflict with Justice).

      The reason I don't think this is a problem either, is that the state is an immensely powerful set of institutions that could efficiently and would be justified to actually penalise those practices and eliminate those conventions under the weight of its interventions if it chose to focus on this project.

      So what I'm saying is that where the state has no right to force assimilation, non-assimilation is not a problem at all. Where non-assimilation is a problem, the state doesn't need to wait for people to voluntarilly adopt practices that don't infringe on the legal order, it can impose them by force. As for informing immigrants, pamphlets in their language with, or verbal explanation of, their rights and duties under the law at the point of entry appears to be an inexpensive first step.

    3. 1.thats exactly the problem this cosmopolitan decisions you are speaking about this is the so called neo-liberal justifications the problem with that is that its not serving first world countries and not third world countries.

      this factories in thailand or vietnam not helped develop this countries that much but its indeed took a lot of manufacturing jobs from western world people and widenened the gap.

      what really helped third world developing countries to grow been infant industry substitution which protected key industries from competition (its helped singapore taiwan japan south korea japan usa germany and now its helping china with its mercantlist policies).

      so trying to redistribute the wealth in the way you are talking about just ruin growth and redistrebute the wealth for the wealthiest and richest people.

      because as i said you will not able to upkeep good welfare state if there is continous influx of immigrants inside your country so in that case or you will have to compromise on welfare services (so they will be worse than people have already but better than maybe what this immigrants had in their country).

      or we will have to pay for it so much so we will hit the supply resource constrain and then indeed crowding out investment and consumption of the private sector to invest in this welfare state.

      in both cases it will destroy the welfare state and will create worse off outcome than what i proposed you before.

      not to mention that in this case you will create brain drain from developing countries which will not help them advance their country either.

      2.the radical left have no influence to bring a change and its ridicouls to think that we will able to create global worldwide labour unions and to protected i am speaking about the real world here and about what is possible and not possible here.

      3.yes are you sure they will?

      the problem with what are you saying that the line is not that black and white for example how will you differ between healthy nationalism and love for the country and outright racist ideologies like nazism?

      how will you differ between moderate religious movements and radicalized versions of this movements?

      and how will you in this case act? only against individuals which do crimes or also against a collective which support this acts even if quietly?

      also what will you do in a case where huge amount of immigrants lets say will come and create a party which will go against liberal principles which will have in this case a chance to win?

      you will ban this party and their freedom of speech?

      or you will let this party to participate in the elections even if there is a threat for the liberal principles at all?