Noam Chomsky

I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can’t have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level—there’s a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I’m opposed to political fascism, I’m opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it’s pointless to talk about democracy. In this sense, I would describe myself as a libertarian socialist—I’d love to see centralized power eliminated, whether it’s the state or the economy, and have it diffused and ultimately under direct control of the participants. Moreover, I think that’s entirely realistic. Every bit of evidence that exists (there isn’t much) seems to show, for example, that workers’ control increases efficiency. Nevertheless, capitalists don’t want it, naturally; what they’re worried about is control, not the loss of productivity or efficiency.

Noam Chomsky, ‘One man’s view: Noam Chomsky. Are universities too conservative? Do they collude with corporations to obscure the way power works in our society? Noam Chomsky thinks so and explains why’, Business Today, May, 1973