Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book review: What We Say Goes

TitleWhat We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World
AuthorNoam Chomsky
Tagspolitics, current_affairs, us
Your reviewThis is my first Noam Chomsky, and it was probably not the best one to start with. This is a series of interviews with Chomsky, mostly on the topic of the US and how it relates to other countries. In parts it tends to assume some background knowledge. Without having read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine I wouldn't have understood the term neoliberalism and the references to the Chicago boys.

It is obvious that Chomsky has traveled widely in the world, and has read widely in what is happening in the rest of the world. The book is rather depressing because even Presidents I've admired, such as Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton, have done nasty things in ohter parts of the world in he name of the US. Part of the problem seems to be that in the US it is unthinkable that we are not the top dog in the world, or that we don't have the right to exploit the world's resources, no matter what the cost.

Chomsky sees some reasons for optimism. He thinks speech in this country is freer now than it was in the 1960s, for example.

How prescient or knowledgable is Chomsky? In one interview, in January 2007, he states there is good reason to think the housing market is a bubble and the housing market was already declining. That is just one example of his understanding of the world. He is remarkable for both the breadth and depth of his knowledge. In the interviews, he comments extensively on Latin America and Israel, among others, and he shows his depth in explaining how the situations there developed.

Chomsky is another piece of the education of a US citizen in the reality of a world that the US media does not present. I plan to read more of his work.
Other authors
Author – Barsamian, David
PublicationMetropolitan Books (2007), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 240 pages
Publication date2007
ISBN0805086714 / 9780805086713

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