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The Militarization of Science and Space

02/15/2004 1:00 PM Kresge
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, MIT

Description: Chomsky launches a savage, two-pronged assault on national economic policies and efforts at "global domination€.By now the stakes are so high that issues of survival arise," says Chomsky.

The basic principle underlying our current economy is "to make rich people happy and make everybody else frightened." Chomsky lays particular blame for this doctrine on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan-- "Saint Alan"-- who claims the economy is working well because of private entrepreneurial initiative and expanding consumer choice. Chomsky disagrees. He claims that in the last 30 years, it has been public spending on such technologies as computers, satellites, the Internet and lasers that has fed the economy. And the wealth derived from these technologies has gone primarily into the hands of corporate masters, who represent a fraction of the American people. The government has used a succession of bogeymen the Soviets, Communist insurgents around the world, and now global terrorism to scare taxpayers into supporting core defense programs whose technologies ultimately spin off into private hands. The current administration advocates not merely controlling space, but owning it, with a new missile-based system and satellite-guided unmanned drones. This expensive strategy, combined with the doctrine of striking first at perceived enemies, may well bring global calamity.

About the Speaker(s): Noam Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. A brief sampling of his prolific work includes: The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory; Aspects of the Theory of Syntax; Language and Mind; American Power and the New Mandarins; Reflections on Language; Rules and Representations; Knowledge of Language; The Culture of Terrorism; Manufacturing Consent (with E.S. Herman); Understanding Power; Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance; and most recently, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World, (with David Barsamian). Chomsky received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955. He joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955 and in 1961 was appointed full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. During the years 1958 to 1959 Chomsky was in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. In the spring of 1969 he delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford; in January 1970 he delivered the Bertrand Russell Memorial Lecture at Cambridge University; in 1972, the Nehru Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, and in 1977, the Huizinga Lecture in Leiden, among many others. Chomsky has received honorary degrees from universities around the world, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science.

Host(s): Dean for Student Life, Technology and Culture Forum

Tape #: T18204

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MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated 6 months ago

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