[Nijmegen] Radboud Reflects: The End of the American Dream

Reduce democracy. Shift the burden. Engineer elections. Keep the rabble in line. Not exactly the ideas of an ideal society, so it seems … Yet the American philosopher Noam Chomsky argues that these are exactly the principles of neoliberalism that lead to an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Come and hear how political philosopher Mathijs van de Sande, economic sociologist Agnes Akkerman, and award-winning writer and director Kelly Nyks analyze how the ideal of equal opportunity has become obsolete and the American Dream has come to an end.
Concentration of power

The idea that every paperboy can become a millionaire with enough hard work still exists. But this American Dream nowadays appears to be an illusion. As Macron, Trump, and Rutte reduce taxes for the super-rich, they thereby increase the concentration of wealth in fewer hands. With such economic advantage, the super-rich exert increasing powerful influence over politics and take over democracy. This means that majority no longer decides new policies, but multinationals do. Politics and economics are more and more intertwined. This system based on the ideology of neoliberalism has devastating consequences, not only for the United States, but for the world.
Our political wellbeing

To explore this development, the Dutch-American writer and director Kelly Nyks made the documentary Requiem for the American Dream, in which Noam Chomsky explains how neoliberalism has led to larger inequality when it comes to wealth and power. The book that comes with the film is published in Dutch translation by Ten Have Publishers. This book summarizes Chomsky’s view of the economic reality and its impact on our political and moral well-being.
Turn the tide

After showing of a fragment from the documentary, director Kelly Nyks, political philosopher Mathijs van de Sande, and professor Economic Theory and Policy Agnes Akkerman will discuss the growing gap between the rich and the poor by considering some of Chomsky's ten principles concerning the concentration of wealth and power. Is democracy in the hands of multinationals? Do politics and companies thrive on a deliberately spread sentiment of fear? Are elections being manipulated? And if so, how can we turn the tide?

  • Mathijs van de SandeMathijs van de Sande is political philosopher at Radboud University.
  • Akkerman, AgnesAgnes Akkerman is professor Economic Theory and Policy at Radboud University.
  • Nyks, KellyKelly Nyks is writer and director.
  • Frank van CaspelFrank van Caspel is philosopher at Open University. He is the chair of the evening.
  • Registration

Registration € 5,- | RU employees, students, scholars, Alumni Benefit Cards, Radboud Reflects members and PV Radboud members free.