Noam Chomsky – Neoliberalism, Democracy and the Climate Crisis

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Neoliberalism has been the dominant political and economic ideology around the world for the past forty years. The prioritisation of private profit has resulted in economic growth, however, it has also led to a dramatic increase in social inequality, and considerable environmental damage driven by relentless overconsumption and deregulation. Meanwhile, governments all over the world have failed time and time again to reduce emissions in line with the critical emissions targets advised by the world’s leading climate scientists.

As a long term crisis, mitigating the most devastating impacts of climate change requires significant early action. However, the neoliberal focus on quarterly profits, and the focus of our democracies on quick wins for short election cycles, has created a pervasive culture of ‘short termism’ in our societies. Neoliberalism has also minimised the role of the state in favour of market independence. However, there is considerable evidence that in order to reduce emissions sufficiently, significant government intervention is required. Therefore, are our current political and economic institutions even compatible with taking sufficient climate action? If not, what must change in our democracies and in the dominant neoliberal model to make it so? And given we must globally reach net zero emissions in under 30 years, what must we as citizens do to ensure this happens?

To provide insight into these questions we are very excited to be joined by world leading public intellectual, Noam Chomsky for our Flagship event of the year.

Known as the Father of Modern Linguistics, Noam Chomsky is also a Philosopher, Cognitive Scientist, Historian, Social Critic, and Political Activist. He is one of the most cited scholars in modern history and also one of the most influential public intellectuals in the world, having written more than 150 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, mass media and the climate crisis. Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


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