MIT professor Noam Chomsky said Thursday the Republican and Democratic parties had become increasingly conservative since the 1970s due to the reshaping of U.S. economic power.
Chomsky told The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur that President Barack Obama was “more or less” a progressive, given the current usage of the word. But Obama would have been described as a “moderate Republican” several decades ago, he added.
“Kind of a mainstream centrist with some concerns for liberal ideals and conceptions but not much in the way of principle or commitment,” Chomsky explained. “And on some issues he is pretty reactionary — civil liberties, for example.”
Chomsky said the rise of conservatism was a “reflection of the redesign of the economy since the 1970s,” when the more liberal policies first promulgated by Franklin D. Roosevelt were replaced with bank-friendly policies. Meanwhile, manufacturing jobs were increasingly sent overseas due to cheap labor in developing countries.
“So you have these two tendencies getting started, and they have consequences. One consequence was the very sharp concentration of wealth. This is not a big secret, but since then, wealth in the United States has concentrated enormously. The concentration of wealth leads very quickly to the concentration of political power. By now it is so obvious you can’t even debate it.”
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[Image via Andrew Rusk, Creative Commons licensed]