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Noam Chomsky Discusses Geithner

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The Real News Network's Paul Jay spoke with Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to get his thoughts on the Obama-Geithner plans for bank reform.

"They're simply recycling pretty much the Bush-Paulson measures, changing them a little, but essentially the same idea. Keep the institutional structure the same, try to kind of patch things up, bribe the banks and investors to help out, but avoid the measures that might get to the heart of the problem," says Chomsky.

The plans create a "win-win situation" for investors, he argues: "It means that an investor can, if they want, purchase these valueless assets, and if they happen to go up they make money and if they go down the government insures it. So there might be a slight loss but there could be a big gain... if you're the investor. For the public, it's a lose-lose situation."

Chomsky believes the system is built in a way that often penalizes the public: "Fact of the matter is, it's almost always public money... The public pays the cost and takes the risk and the profit is privatized."

He believes the first steps towards democratization involve nationalization and public accountability. "For a start, corporations, banks and so on should be responsible, I think, to stakeholders [as opposed to shareholders]. That's not a huge change... It's a way to keep communities alive and industry here."

Noam Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. His works include: Aspects of the Theory of Syntax; Cartesian Linguistics; Sound Pattern of English (with Morris Halle); Language and Mind; American Power and the New Mandarins; At War with Asia; For Reasons of State; Peace in the Middle East?; Reflections on Language; The Political Economy of Human Rights, Vol. I and II (with E.S. Herman); Rules and Representations; Towards a New Cold War; Radical Priorities; Fateful Triangle; Knowledge of Language; Turning the Tide; Pirates and Emperors; On Power and Ideology; Language and Problems of Knowledge; Necessary Illusions; Deterring Democracy; Year 501; Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War and US Political Culture; Letters from Lexington; World Orders, Old and New; The Minimalist Program; Powers and Prospects; The Common Good; Profit Over People; The New Military Humanism; New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind; Rogue States; A New Generation Draws the Line; 9-11; and Understanding Power.

For further interviews or to contact Paul Jay, visit The Real News website.