Noam Chomsky on Cutting the Cost of Drugs

Noam Avram Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1928. He attended the University of Pennsylvania where he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. In 1955, he received his Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania, however, most of the research leading to this degree was done at Harvard between 1951 and 1955.  Since receiving his Ph. D., Chomsky has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he now holds the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics.

Among his many accomplishments, he is most famous for his work on generative grammar, which developed from his interest in modern logic and mathematical foundations. As a result, he applied it to the description of natural languages.

His political tendencies toward socialism and anarchism are a result of what he calls "the radical Jewish community in New York." Since 1965 he has become one of the leading critics of U.S. foreign policy. He published a book of essays called American Power and the New Mandarins which is considered to be one of the most substantial arguments ever against American involvement in Vietnam.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Topic: US healthcare, the government and drug prices

Noam Chomsky: There's a lot of concern about cost of US healthcare, which makes good sense.  It's going to tank the economy.  There's about twice as much per capita as comparable countries have some of the worst outcomes and it's growing pretty fast.  So yeah, that's a real problem.  And a lot of criticism of Obama's plan from the right, as it's called, is too expensive.  Well, there's some pretty easy ways to cut down the expenses.

For example, the United States is the only industrial country that by law, does not permit the government to use its purchasing power to negotiate drug prices.  So one effect is that drug prices are way higher than anywhere else. 

Well, what does the public think about this?  The few polls there are show that approximately 85 percent of the public thinks we ought to do it.  It's not even on the agenda.  In fact, a week or so ago, the “New York Times” had a front page article saying that Obama had made a secret deal with the drug companies, in which he assured them that there would be no such moves.

Recorded on: Aug 18, 2009. 


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