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There's a quote keeps doing the rounds on Facebook and the like. It claims to be from Noam Chomsky and reads

"That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital"

I can find this quote attributed to him in many places by Googling, but nowhere I'd consider definitive. Although, curiously, it does appear in Google's summary of one of his interviews but isn't present on the transcript when I click on the link. Yet it's also not showing up as an obvious hoax. So can anyone cite a definitive reference?

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    It sounds like a thing Chomsky would say. Why are you skeptical? – gerrit Oct 16 '15 at 9:16
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    Because I'm sceptical of quotes, or other statements, that circulate on Facebook and support a popular message but that I can't verify. – Craig Graham Oct 16 '15 at 9:22
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    @gerrit Isn't it the things that sound believable that we should be most skeptical about? – corsiKa Oct 16 '15 at 21:47
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    @corsiKa no, it's the thing that sounds most unbelievable. – Davor Oct 17 '15 at 13:54
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Yes, he did.

A Google Cache version of Chomsky's own website has the text his lecture The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival, given at the The University of Toronto, April 7, 2011 verifies this (emphasis mine):

Social Security is actually in pretty good shape despite what everybody screams about. But if you can defund it, it won't be in good shape. And there is a standard technique of privatization, namely defund what you want to privatize. Like when Thatcher wanted to defund the railroads, first thing to do is defund them, then they don't work and people get angry and they want a change. You say okay, privatize them and then they get worse.

  • Ah, saw that page but I searched for "That's the standard technique" and, finding no hits, figured it wasn't there. Didn't occur to me some paraphrasing had gone on. Thanks. – Craig Graham Oct 16 '15 at 9:42
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    Actually, the very next paragraph in that linked source begins with the exact quote "That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital. That's the Social Security scam. If they can succeed in defunding it -- they've been trying for decades, it's too popular to do much about, and very efficient incidentally, miniscule administrative costs..." – user568458 Oct 16 '15 at 14:31
  • Formulations such as "... when Thatcher wanted to defund the railroads, first thing is to defund them ..." seem weird. Is this a transcript from oral? – Hagen von Eitzen Oct 16 '15 at 19:22
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    @HagenvonEitzen It says it's from a lecture he gave, so yes, it seems likely so. – Chris Hayes Oct 16 '15 at 20:32
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    That Google Cache is expired, but here's the current page for that transcript on his site. – SubGothius Apr 30 '16 at 0:03
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Here's video footage of the quote in question...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UikhLJNLFK4

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This comes from The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival, lecture given at the The University of Toronto, April 7, 2011

Political figures understand perfectly well that with an election coming up, nobody’s going to say let’s raise the payroll tax. So that essentially makes it permanent, which is a way to defund Social Security. Social Security is actually in pretty good shape despite what everybody screams about. But if you can defund it, it won’t be in good shape. And there is a standard technique of privatization, namely defund what you want to privatize. Like when Thatcher wanted to defund the railroads, first thing to do is defund them, then they don’t work and people get angry and they want a change. You say okay, privatize them and then they get worse. In that case the government had to step in and rescue it.

That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital. That’s the Social Security scam. If they can succeed in defunding it — they’ve been trying for decades, it’s too popular to do much about, and very efficient incidentally, miniscule administrative costs. Nothing like the privatized health care system. So it’s kind of hard to get rid of. But if you can defund it, it might work out. That’s the point of this decision in the lame duck session. That’s kind of important. First of all, if it can be privatized it’s a huge bonanza for investors. There’s a ton of money in the Social Security system. It’s kept in a trust fund or invested in government bonds and goes back to working people. But if that can get into the hands of financial institutions, they can make a ton of money by using those funds to enrich themselves. And as usual when the system crashes, going back to the taxpayer to bail them out.

  • Do you have references of any other authors with similar statements? – Guillermo Takano Jan 26 at 16:18

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