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Noam Chomsky attacks European austerity and says taxpayers are bailing out 'criminals'

Published 04/04/2013

Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky, described by The New York Times as 'the most important intellectual alive', he is one of the world's most most-cited sources in academic journals

Veteran political activist Noam Chomsky has attacked European austerity measures and said taxpayers had taken on the burden of bailing out "criminals".

Speaking in Dublin, he warned that to impose austerity in a recession was going to be disastrous and would slow growth.

"The whole point of austerity is to erode social fabric. It's hard to have any justification for it," he said during a lecture at the Royal Dublin Showgrounds (RDS).

"What Europe needs is something to stimulate the economy. The consumers cannot provide much demand because they are paying for debt from the crises created by the banks with government support."

In a reference to the Republic of Ireland, he said the policy there was to "bail out the criminals and let the taxpayers take the burden".

Only recently, Professor Chomsky warned that the EU's response to the economic crisis had left European democracy in a worse condition than that of the US.

He said: "I’m not a great admirer of the Federal Reserve, but I think they’ve been much more constructive and thoughtful and progressive than the European Central Bank has been.

"I mean, take Ireland. It was a crisis of the banks. It wasn’t the Government; it wasn’t the population. It’s fundamentally bank corruption.

"It’s the same in Spain. Spain had close to a balanced budget in 2007 and pretty good economic fundamentals. But the housing bubble, fuelled by Spanish and indeed German banks, you know they were the lenders, went way out and caused a great crisis for which the public is now paying."

Professor Chomsky was giving the inaugural Front Line Defenders annual lecture held in partnership with UCD and TCD.

An ardent critic of US foreign policy, Prof Chomsky returned to this theme with an address on human-rights violations and atrocities that ranged from the destruction of the American native Indian to Colombia, Serbia, Turkey and the Middle East.

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