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Critical Analysis of Noam Chomsky’s Famous Work “Government in the future”

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Introduction

There are many opinions about government as a mechanism of power and control over society. The range of its power should be limited, but it is rather a theoretical position and not a practical situation. Government is a type of self-regulated machine driven by ministerial operators. This situation could lead to its total collapse and disappearance of it as an important facility of the state. To prevent countries from such destructive changes in future, there was a range of practical theories developed by famous scientists as Humbolt, Tacker, and Marx. Actually, there are four basic theoretical opinions: classical liberalism, libertarian socialism, state socialism, and state capitalism. All of these theories have different vision on the possible development of the state under a certain type of limiting government’s power. These theories were critically examined by the famous political publicists Noam Chomsky in his work “Government in the future”, written in 1970 (Chomsky, 1970).

The research aims to analyze all these theories in details taking into account critical opinion of Chomsky and define if one of these theories could offer a future perspective for the United States. Chomsky presents a picture of the present reality in the certain period of time and gives a prognosis of possible scenario of future development. It is worth saying that his work is based on a profound research of political life and practical relations of the country’s efficiency with the limitation of its power. As it was said above, the main task of the research is to present the essence of each of these theories and critically analyze them. Apart from that, it is important to determine the possibility of libertarian socialism to be the next stage of development for the United States.

Classical Liberalism

The main idea of classical liberalism is to limit any type of the governmental intervention into economic, political and social life. Governmental intervention is restricted by the law, and mostly a laissez-faire economic policy is dominating. Classical liberalism is based on the free-market economy presented by Adam Smith and the grounds of natural law and further positive development. Actually, at first the term “classical liberalism” was used to discern liberalism of the 19 century from the social liberalism. Some scientific works express an opinion that modern conservatives are the followers of the classical liberals, but this used to be the separate opinion of scientists, but not the commonly accepted one. The common idea was presented by a group of significant scientists such as Humbolt, Tacker, Rousseau (Chomsky, 1970). They stated that everybody was free to create their own future and develop their own personality without any pressure from the side of the government. Humboldt noted that a human was born to create. Moreover, if somebody chooses to create without free choice, only in this situation he or she becomes an actor but not just a tool of production (Humboldt, 1979). This is the basic idea of the concept of human nature presented by Humbolt. In the work “Government in the future” Chomsky presented ideas about government as an important mechanism that was created to provide social security for everyone at the times of the pinnacle of extension of capitalistic relationships (Chomsky, 1970). Liberalism is based on the idea of human nature, and it is the reason why personal choice and freedom are so important. Therefore, these liberal ideas are straightly opposite to the ideas of industrial capitalism. Capitalism is based on the grounds of not using free labor, hierarchy existence and authoritarian basis for economic, political and social relations amplification.  

Classical liberalism in its essence is presented as an ideology that has both advantages and disadvantages that emerge from social and political changes. In the 21st century, it is difficult to find a highly-developed country without governmental control. Government is an important agent in every country and its main aim is to control and direct all the processes that take place in society (Chomsky, 1970). Actually, government guarantees to provide a balance between citizens and people who perform political functions. There has been a lengthy discussion about the necessity of government existence, but now the existence of government mechanism is determined by the law. It is difficult to achieve ideal governmental apparatus which will serve for the purposes of peace and development, but there should be an opportunity to create such an institution.

Libertarian Socialism

The second point of the discussion is the libertarian socialist vision of the government which can be also named left-libertarianism. This theory stands for non-bureaucratic society and seeks the conversion of the modern private productive property into the common or public one. At the same time, personal property should be the major value for the government. This position maintains the idea of developing free association instead of usage of capitalistic tools, such as wage labor, for example. These results can be achieved in case of canceling authoritarian institutions and in this way stopping their control over the means of production and establishing political and economic elite which will exercise rational control over them. Furthermore, this idea leads to the direct democracy which facilitates the activity of trade unions and similar organizations.

Noam Chomsky suggested that libertarians should be aimed against private ownership of the productive property and wage slavery. Therefore, he supports the idea of free will in labor and that it should be under the control of the producer (Chomsky, 1970).

Chomsky conducted a research work and its result maintained that he decided to bridge the Marxism with anarchism, because these ideas had similar features. In the nineteenth century, state essence and limits of control were quite different from the ones of nowadays, thus, the discrepancies between these two ideas were also obvious. However, today these differences are of a more theoretical character (Chomsky, 1970).

Both theories, classical liberalism and libertarian socialism, agree that the functions delegated to the government are rather repressive, hence governmental power should be limited. The libertarian socialists insist on necessity to abate governmental power in favor of the democratic organization of the society. However, they agreed on the necessity of democratic organization that would be a tool of citizens’ will which means that these representatives would be absolutely responsible before the social group they present empowered to present interests of a certain social group in governmental organizations. These systems differ from the previously prevalent model.

Ideologically, libertarian socialists are anti-capitalist representatives who are also determined as right-wing libertarians. The idea of capitalistic representatives implies the position that the power should be concentrated in the hands of people who own more capital resources. Liberian socialism is devoted to the idea of the equality and distribution of power between all members of society. These two theories represent different visions of the concept of an ideal state and its functioning. Capitalism stressed the significance of the economic and social status and libertarian socialism insists on the importance of freedom of choice and creativity (Head, Libertarian socialism).

Libertarian socialists are trying to achieve democracy in its ideal form, but this idea seems to be utopian. Representatives of the libertarian socialism distinguish the concept of "private property" from the concept of "personal possession". When speaking about «private property”, one assumes the existence of guarantees for an individual to have the exclusive control over his or her property. “Possession" does not guarantee any rights to the things that are not used (Willson, 2007).

Libertarian socialists’ idea of the peace and development is very positive, but, unfortunately, it sounds more like a dream than possible future. This theory looks like a model of multiple variations of all previous ideas with the adding of some new utopian statements. Probably, in the ideal variant it looks like a democracy that pays attention to every separate opinion and meets the interests of every representative of the society. Moreover, it is founded on the grounds of the equality and freedom for every citizen. However, it also bears the traces of anarchism, a state with no governmental authority, where everyone is a unique agent in the state economic, social and political life (Marshall, 2010). When speaking about equality, it is important to realize that it does not mean justice. Even equal members of society will still have limits in deciding future life of their state. In order to rule the country, there should be subordination as it implies a certain order.

State Socialism

It is the turn to clarify the third theory which reveals governmental participation in the life of the country. It is state socialism, the theory that proclaims the transition to socialism through reformation, nationalization of the means of production and strong influence of the state on the economy and social life. This system can be characterized as a state monopolization of productive property. It is crucial to mention communism as an important aspect that to a certain degree creates builds the foundation of this system. In order to find the information to prove this idea, it will be right to use the book entitled The Political Economy of American Foreign Policy. This book essentially offers a basic idea of the ruling class in America as it was presented by the political and economic elite of the state, which is able to determine the future perspectives of the state policy. The basic threat of communism, according to this work, is contained in the specific economic transformation of the government to the type of a passive agent in the world economy. To summarize the information given in the book, there is a need to point out that communism diminishes the opportunity for further progress of underdeveloped countries within the capitalist economy.

State socialism is one of the types of socialist movements. It is also ideologically opposed to the libertarian socialism. However, there is no actual hierarchy in division of powers in the mentioned directions of socialism. State socialism is usually presented as the specific way to achieve public ownership on the means of production, applying the nationalization of property and industrial facilities. A lot of attention is paid to the aim of the nationalization, which implies depriving major capitalists of the immense amount of the financial resources for in this way profit will be transferred to the state budget, not to the private owning. Essentially, nationalization is considered to be the first step in the process of reorganization of production and making it deal with goods and services for the use, but not for profit.

Summarizing all the facts presented above, it is important to note that state socialism is, probably, not the worst variant for the future development of a country in the sense of economy, social relation and politics, but only in a certain time and conditions. The Soviet Union used this model after the Second World War, and it succeed in following the socialism as the main idea (Chomsky, 1970). Moreover, this country has built a strong basis for the future development, and even now former republics show positive and long-lasting results. However, not every country will have a success like this, even considering Chomsky’s reasoning.

State Capitalism

Another idea that considers the level of the governmental influence on the economy is state capitalism. There is a certain amount of scientist who used to analyze these state socialism and state capitalism together as they seem to develop from each another, but in this work they will be separated, and the main differences will be shown in comparison. To begin with, it is important to underline that in order to determine state capitalism as the mainstream ideology in the economy and politics of the country, it is essential to figure out the degree of state interference in the activity of enterprises. If a state takes part in legislative process dealing with the conditions of work, investment to enterprises is allocated from the state banking system or the law limits the profit level, then one can talk about a capitalistic character of the state’s activity (Williams, 1983).Furthermore, the level of state intervention into the economy will differ from the concentration of capitalism ideas that are followed in the country. Capitalism is widely spread all over the world. It become the main ideology in a huge range of countries and was followed in certain periods of time when concentration of power in hands of government was needed. Analyzing the present economic situation in Germany, it is possible to determine that state capitalism is prevailing in the country. Instead, Russian state capitalism has no strong ground for development as there never was powerful bourgeoisie in the country (Williams, 1983). In Germany, Western Europe and America, the bourgeoisie has an entire power; in fact, this class is the owner of financial resources and means of production. These conditions are very important for capitalism.

Capitalists wage a severe struggle for income and control over the state in order to protect their own interests. Moreover, at times of competition between nations, the contest between capitalists becomes even fiercer (Willson, 2007).

As it has already been mentioned, it is better to compare some aspects of ideologies with the purpose of seeing the main differences between them; therefore, it is critical to conduct the comparison of two theories: state capitalism and state socialism. In this context, one can see the situation where representatives argue a lot about peaceful changes in the state development, namely, from capitalism to socialism. Their aim is to achieve the abolition of capitalism, but the idea they follow is essentially a political reformation, but not revolution. This variant of changes in the system needs alternations in the foundation of government as the main mechanism that occurs to gain control over economy and politics. In order to achieve a positive result, both activities are essential: decision making that comes from the top and activity of every member of the society (Chomsky, 1970).

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