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Noam Chomsky: "The pandemic is another case of massive market failure, such as global warming"

Noam Chomsky:

For the American thinker "the situation is, of course, very serious, mainly for the global South and the most vulnerable sectors in the West.

Just as the pandemic could have been prevented, and in some Asian countries it appears to have been largely contained, the economic crisis can be mitigated and prevented from becoming catastrophic. It is not necessary to repeat the mistakes of 1929 or 2008.

The crisis reveals deep flaws in the prevailing economic models, flaws that will soon lead to much worse crises, unless significant steps are taken to prevent them. As terrible as the coronavirus crisis is, there will be recovery. There will be no recovery from global warming if it is not controlled“.

Scientific evidence suggests that the emergence of COVID-19 was by no means unpredictable. In fact, in an article published last Monday, the Society of Microbiology of Chile ruled in a worrying way that “As we have seen even in these days, the decisions about the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which causes the COVID-19 disease, are in many cases based on political and economic criteria, rather than on scientific evidence”.

Based on this evidence, Noam Chomsky estimates that the appearance of COVID-19 could be predicted, but that, given the economic model, it was difficult for public resources to be allocated to hypothetical prevention scenarios.

The intellectual, who does not require further introduction, responded from his place of isolation to this questionnaire about the pandemic that challenges humanity.

-How are you, profesor?
-Personally fine. Isolated.

-The situation turned out to be more serious than originally anticipated by the Trump administration.
-The reaction of the Trump administration has been a disaster: denial, confusion, waste of time. For now, the United States is the only major country that cannot even provide accurate information to the World Health Organization. The government is finally taking some steps: too late, too limited.

-Suddenly we went from dealing with the climate emergency and the nuclear threat to a devastating pandemic. Was it predictable in any way?
-It has been expected for some time, it was estimated that another pandemic was on the way, perhaps caused by a coronavirus similar to SARS. The pharmaceutical companies had no interest in the preparation of antidotes. No immediate profit. On the other hand, government initiatives have been systematically blocked by the prevailing neoliberal doctrine, which authorizes the state to provide subsidies to corporations and rescue them from trouble, but not interfere with their control of the market, including the pharmaceutical one.

-What does the situation we face respond to?
-As I mentioned, the pandemic is another case of massive market failure, like global warming. For private drug companies, the market signals were clear: Don't waste resources preparing early for a pandemic. The government could have intervened, as in South Korea, but that conflicts with neoliberal ideology; it would interfere with the sacred rights of concentrated private power. The role of the government is to subsidize and provide exorbitant patent rights, ensuring colossal profits. But do not interfere with the prerogatives of privilege and wealth.

-Trump and Bolsonaro went from saying it was an invention of the media to taking it with some seriousness.
-Much of what has happened globally is due to this approach of reacting late.

-This crisis has exposed the true state of public health systems, which are not passing the test
-Very true. It also shows how they have been weakened by the neoliberal programs of the past generation.

-The pandemic crisis will in turn cause an economic crisis, which evokes the crisissubprime or even that of 1929, what is your assessment?
The situation is, of course, very serious, mainly for the global South and the most vulnerable sectors in the West. Just as the pandemic could have been prevented, and in some Asian countries it appears to have been largely contained, the economic crisis can be mitigated and prevented from becoming catastrophic. There is no need to repeat the mistakes of 1929 or 2008. The crisis reveals deep flaws in the prevailing economic models, flaws that will soon lead to much worse crises, unless significant steps are taken to prevent them. There will be no recovery from global warming if it is not controlled.


Video: Noam Chomsky on COVID u0026 ECONOMY (September 2021).