Democracy and Power

Democracy and Power: The Delhi Lectures

Noam Chomsky
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Open Book Publishers
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Democracy and Power
    Book Description:

    Noam Chomsky visited India in 1996 and 2001 and spoke on a wide range of subjects, from democracy and corporate propaganda to the nature of the world order and the role of intellectuals in society. He captivated audiences with his lucid challenge of dominant political analyses, the engaging style of his talks, and his commitment to social equality as well as individual freedom. Chomsky’s early insights into the workings of power in the modern world remain timely and compelling. Published for the first time, this series of lectures also provides the reader with an invaluable introduction to the essential ideas of one of the leading thinkers of our time.

    eISBN: 978-1-78374-094-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Chomsky in India
    (pp. vii-xviii)
    Jean Drèze

    Sometime around 1991 I wrote to Noam Chomsky and invited him to give some lectures in India. It felt like wishful thinking – for one thing, I had no idea how his visit would be financed, if he agreed. I did not even expect him to reply, flooded as he must have been with more important mail. So I was pleasantly surprised to receive a short letter from him just a few days later (these were the good old times when real letters were delivered at home by a live postperson). He wrote that he would be happy to come, and...

  4. 1. World Orders, Old and New
    (pp. 1-38)

    What I want to do today is to focus attention on the current scene, but also on its origins, which I think are important for understanding it. So, I want to talk about the world order that arose from the ashes of the Second World War, which is when the current system was established, pretty much in its present form. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the world order that was constructed from the ruins of that catastrophe was to an unusual extent (maybe to a unique extent) the product of quite careful and sophisticated planning on...

  5. 2. The Vicissitudes of Democracy: Part 1
    (pp. 39-64)

    The current period, as you know, is commonly described as a period of unprecedented flourishing of democracy and markets. Let me begin by clarifying my own point of view on this general topic. In my view, the most striking feature of the current period is not the flourishing of democracy and markets, but a major attack on democracy, human rights and even markets. One aspect of this is a kind of experiment, an unprecedented experiment, to extend to the rich industrial societies (primarily the US, England, the Anglo-American societies) something like the structural model of the Third World. By this,...

  6. 3. The Vicissitudes of Democracy: Part 2
    (pp. 65-96)

    Yesterday, I was talking about James Madison’s vision for the country, and his distress shortly afterwards, when he saw the fate of the constitutional system he had devised. I recalled that in Madison’s pre-capitalist vision, power was to be put in the hands of more capable people, the wealthy, but they were not supposed to act as gangsters and robbers. They were supposed to be benevolent gentlemen and wise philosophers and act for the benefit of all, while of course understanding that the prime responsibility of the government is “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority,” and...

  7. 4. The Nationality Question in the Contemporary World
    (pp. 97-116)

    This talk was arranged at short notice, rather spontaneously, and my feeling is that the best thing to do in this short session may be to devote most of the time to interchange and discussion. I’m sure you have lots of things in mind, and I would be happy to try to address the issues you are interested in. This is an extremely broad topic, and instead of my speaking about it, it would be more constructive for me to react to what you think is important. However, since I was asked to speak, I will start with a few...

  8. 5. Militarism, Democracy and People’s Right to Information
    (pp. 117-150)

    It is no great insight that we live in a world of conflict and confrontation, and that one crucial element of it is class war. Class war has many dimensions and complexities, but in recent years, the lines have been drawn very sharply. To oversimplify, but not too much, on the one side there are concentrated power centers, state and private, very closely linked. On the other side is much of the population, worldwide. Though one can’t estimate with any precision, I think it is fair to guess that a large majority of the world population is unable to get...

  9. Appendix: An Interview with Noam Chomsky
    (pp. 151-172)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 173-175)