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Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,965 ratings  ·  238 reviews
NOAM CHOMSKY is widely regarded as the most influential thinker of our time, but never before has he devoted a major book to one topic, income inequality:
-During the Great Depression, things were much worse than they are today, but there was an expectation that things were going to get better. There was a real sense of hopefulness. There isn't today. . . . Inequality is r
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Seven Stories Press
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Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I need to think about this for a while.
Essential reading for anyone preferring to be an informed member of the electorate, a participant in democracy rather than a spectator of extravaganza and or an uninformed consumer making irrational choices (by design) that lead to a trapping by debt. A sober but necessary accounting of the way things are now and the uber wealthy powers that be ("masters of mankind") linked to key events and (deliberate) trends that made our current landscape a reality. This, along with important history to remi ...more
Mal Warwick
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
For decades, economic scholars have commented on the dangers inherent in the growing concentration of wealth in Western society. Though misleadingly referred to as “income inequality” in the new media, this critically important topic actively entered public debate in 2011 with Occupy Wall Street. Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman and others added to the debate in the years that followed. Then, Senator Bernie Sanders flogged the issue at every opportunity in his pres ...more
Chomsky's bleak outlook on the state of the United States is that it is completely controlled by the very few and the very wealthy, because concentrations of money yield concentrations of power. In Requiem for the American Dream, he outlines the 10 principles that he believes allow these wealthy entities, who subscribe to "the vile maxim": (all for ourselves and nothing for anyone else) to control the US. I found it generally pretty conspiratorial and lacking any real goal – okay, things are bad ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I strongly recommend this book to all those Steve Jobs or Elon Musk readers and lovers who are literally mesmerized by the facade of American success.

Noam Chomsky is the sole independent thinker that I have encountered in my intellectual life. Independence of thought is not achieved easily and you have to be one of the best living intellectuals and scientists of the world (i.e. Noam Chomsky) to have it.

Reading this book I found out that the worst dystopian nightmares of humankind (as are depicte
Wick Welker
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction-favs
Concise treatise of the root problems with American democracy.

Chomsky provides a quick yet profound look into the fundamental problems of our declining democracy. In the style of Chomsky, I'll be brief:

Politicians, policy-making and legislating are controlled by a plutocracy of corporate elites whose only aim is to maintain the conditions that maximize profit.

This plutocratic system is, ironically, exceedingly anti-capitalistic in that it relies on state welfare (public funds) to prop up the fai
My 9th Chomsky

Here Noam condenses the principles into a very manageable book. What follows is my further condensation into a review:

Democracy, elections

How can there be democracy when you can only vote every 4 years? And the votes are rigged to the highest bidder (no limits on candidate funding)? Did you know Obama won best Marketing of the year when he won his election in 2008? And you thought he could actually do something the 1% wouldn’t approve of? Tsk tsk.

Ideology, consensus

How can you cal
Larry Bassett
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, audio
This is a short book and it gets pretty quickly to the problems that we are facing today. You can read the book, listen to the Audible book or you can even watch the documentary movie. I would recommend the documentary if you could only do one but the audible book is pretty good too. If you haven’t paid very close attention to the history of United States and what the founding fathers actually intended for this country to be, you may find this book surprising. If you have fallen for the all men ...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
I have been reading Chomsky since the 1990s. His message changes little or at least it hasn't changed its general focus because the trajectory we have been on for the past four decades hasn't changed merely accelerated. Chomsky is great at diagnosing the disease that afflicts our age. I used to read him many years ago. I guess knowing the diagnosis was a good first step when I first encountered it. But little has changed in the way of improvement. He and our situation in the intervening years h ...more
Stacy Schmidt
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I happened to read this book while the 2017 GOP tax bill was being crafted and voted on. I couldn't fathom what lawmakers were thinking by creating a bill whose benefits were so clearly skewed to the richest people in the country and which was so unpopular with the general public. After reading this book, I completely understand it. Although this book was written prior to the tax plan being crafted, it shows that just about anyone could have predicted it by simply understanding the 10 principles ...more
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very timely. Very interesting. It's the companion book to the documentary by the same name. I liked that he went back 50 years to put what is happening today in our government and society in prospective and giving us the history of what has led up to today. He gives examples as well as excerpts of his source materials. This is written so it can be understood by everyone. I learned a lot. There is a lot to think about in these pages.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Want to stay up all night because you’re angry and/or depressed about the state of the world? Read this book! Because everything is so, so corrupt and you have no power to stop it.

quote about the Republican Party:
“The Republicans have moved so far toward a dedication to the wealthy and the corporate sector that they can-not hope to get votes on their actual programs, and have turned to mobilizing sectors of the population that have always been there, but not as an organized coalitional politica
David Johnston
This lays out some very thought provoking and timely ideas that seek to understand how we have arrived at this state in our society. Only 3 stars, as while it is a well laid out book, it is really only a transcription of the talking segments from the film and I would have appreciated a more in depth exploration on the topics discussed.
Cody Sexton
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s been said that the hardest language to speak is the truth. I would add that it’s also the hardest to hear.
In Requiem for the American Dream, Noam Chomsky directs his fierce intellect onto the utopian ideology of neoliberalism, which is the absurd idea that markets should dictate all aspects of human society.
Each chapter is informed by Chomsky’s deep understanding of American history and each in turn helps to build a damning case against the entrenched forces among the nation’s economic elit
Mohammed Malaky
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Noam Chomsky is one of the best intellectual in our age and you can notice that in his book when he writing about the controversial issues that can give the best benefits of the readers to understand the global current circumstances

In this masterpieces, Noam talking about the Us policy, multinational corporation and the 1 Percents who control our society and Adam Smith named them the "Master of humankind"

Naomi in all his books represent the idea of
voice of reason, Naomi is an Idea and i
Heather Neistein
Noam Chomsky breaks it down simply: the US is no longer a Democracy. We are under corporate rule. We the people have been conditioned to believe in free markets while corporations that should be allowed to fail are bailed out by the government (we American taxpayers) as witnessed by the bank bailouts during the Great Recession.
Randall Wallace
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
U.S. Planners saw two choices: you could reduce inequality, or you could reduce democracy. James Madison wanted to reduce Democracy while Aristotle wanted to increase Democracy. Madison’s way worked great, as long as “you didn’t pay attention to the victims. The United States was a settler-colonial society, the most brutal form of imperialism.” That conquest of Texas and half of Mexico was in order to increase production, “monopolize cotton” and “bring Britain to their knees.” Madison Quote: “Th ...more
Harry Allagree
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Noam Chomsky lays out the current status of the United States, and there are obvious hints in the very title of this book as to where he's going with it: REQUIEM for the American Dream. 10 principles of CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH & POWER. It would simply be hard, if not impossible, to do any kind of justice to what Chomsky says in a short book review...this book must be read, digested & seriously thought about.

A Chomsky quote (p. 143) summarizes a general sense of what he feels: "The tendencies tha
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Income inequality. This only issue we should be talking about until something is done to change how the hyper-rich are running away with it all. Any time anyone brings up anything else, we need to tell them to shut the fuck up.

This short, simply written pamphlet should serve as the platform for the Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. Anything not contained herein should not be discussed. Transgender politics? Immigration? Crime? Gun control? Global Warming? All of that can wait until af
Tim Johnson
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I apologize to my kids and grandkids for the world they will inherit.

This book didn't teach me anything I didn't already know. It seems more like an attempt to organize the mechanisms that have brought us to the point in history where we find ourselves.

There is a concerted effort being carried out to turn America into an oligarchy, a two class society consisting of only the very rich and the very poor. Everything we fight amongst ourselves about: the economy, education, the environment, jobs, ra
Christopher Bartling
Wow, a really powerful book! Short, but got to the point in a hurry. Definitely whet my appetite for Chomsky. I will have to investigate some more. I like that he stays fairly neutral in his political party preference and makes an argument for general concentration of power with the wealthy.
Kristofer Carlson
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an excellent introduction to Noam Chomsky's political views. Although not necessary, it might be good to see the documentary for which this is the companion volume. It will definitely help to have read howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" first. What I appreciate is Noam Chomsky's clear, plain-spoken style, combined with excerpts from the primary sources. For example, Noam Chomsky points out the disagreement between James Madison and Thomas Jefferson at the consti ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poli-sci
Noam breaks down the ways the wealthy and powerful control the 99% and what we can do about it, providing great primary source evidence at the end of each chapter. What we see now in our broken political system is nothing new or shocking to those who have been paying attention. Read this book and join that group. Having a Howard Zinn passage as the closing words of this book seemed hugely appropriate.
Kiril Kirilov
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I, for one, welcome our new insect reptilian corporate overlords
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 157 pages, Chomsky explains in simple terms how society is engineered by corporate interests to the disadvantage of the other 99%. A really striking chapter described how wealth and power is concentrated by increasing worker insecurity. Making the average person fear for his job security, wages, and availability of good jobs actually improves business's profitability. This is a theme that goes on throughout the book--the average person who makes up society getting exploited by a tiny wealthy ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to be depressed, read this book. Chomsky lays out what I have felt for a long time. Money controls everything and there's not much that we can do about it. I saw it in education, I see it everywhere. The only solution most people have is to distract themselves with entertainment and buying stuff. At my stage in life, I can extract myself from that cycle, but so many cannot. This hits young people the hardest. No one should leave college with so much debt that they are indentured for ...more
William Schram
In Requiem for the American Dream, Noam Chomsky discusses the problems with the American Dream as of 2016 or so. There are ten basic tactics used to supplant the American Dream with something more acceptable to the rich and privileged. They are as follows:
(1. Reduce Democracy
(2. Shape Ideology
(3. Redesign the Economy
(4. Shift the Burden
(5. Attack Solidarity
(6. Run the Regulators
(7. Engineer Elections
(8. Keep the Rabble in Line
(9. Manufacture Consent
(10. Marginalize the Population

As scary as all
Roger Green
This little book follows in textual form with references the same argument Chomsky makes in the film of the same title. It is geared toward a wide audience, readable and thought provoking --as always with Chomsky.
Vanessa Fuller
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like it or not, income inequality will continue unabated unless structural changes are implemented. Implementing them may be damn near impossible. But we should at least try.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chomsky is so reasonable. One of my three faves: Nader, Zinn, and Chomsky. This is book is even better because it also includes others writings; from Adam Smith and James Madison to Howard Zinn. Really ties the room together. Happy Birthday Caitlin.
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Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. H

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“the way they put it, we as a society have decided not to modify the society but to modify the children.” 7 likes
“Aristotle’s Politics, Book III, Chapter 8 The real difference between democracy and oligarchy is between poverty and wealth. Wherever the rulers, whether they be a minority or a majority, owe their power to wealth, that is an oligarchy. Wherever the poor rule, that is a democracy. Usually, where the rulers hold power by wealth, they are few, but where the poor rule, they are many, because few men are rich but all are free [if they are citizens in a city-state], and wealth and freedom are the grounds on which the two groups lay claim to government. Democracy is not necessarily only wherever the multitude has authority. Oligarchy is not necessarily wherever a minority has power over the system of government. If the majority of a citystate were wealthy and had authority, nobody would call it a democracy, just as if a small group of poor men had control over a larger rich population, nobody would call it an oligarchy. Rather, democracy is when every free citizen has authority and oligarchy is when the rich have it. Democracy is when there is a majority of free, poor men who have authority to rule, while oligarchy is when it is in the hands of the wealthy and well-born, who are a minority.” 4 likes
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