MIT Professor Noam Chomsky is visiting Italy as guest speaker of the “DICE2016” conference organized by the University of Pisa and the Municipality of Rosignano “Spacetime-Matter-Quantum Mechanics.” He spoke with il manifesto at a press conference about the world’s political and economic situation.
Professor Chomsky, what is the condition of American democracy on the eve of these presidential elections?
It does not make sense to talk about the candidates in terms of popularity, given their lack of popularity … but this should not lead us astray, because there is extensive dissatisfaction with the institutions in the United States. If you ask people what they think about Congress, the majority of people will tell you we must send them all home: Everybody hates banks, multinationals, the government, etc.
The only institution that seems to keep the respect of the citizens is the military. The scientific political research, which is not funded because it is deemed inconvenient, shows that 70 percent of the population, those with the lowest income, do not see any correlation between their attitudes and the positions of their political representatives; as we move up in the income spectrum, there is progressively more relevance, until you get to that fraction of 1 percent that does not need to read political science because it is perfectly represented.