Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism
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In Trouble in Paradise, Slavoj Žižek, one of our most famous, most combative philosophers, explains how we can find a way out of the crisis of capitalism.
There is obviously trouble in the global capitalist paradise. But why do we find it so difficult to imagine a way out of the crisis we're in? It is as if the trouble feeds on itself: the march of capitalism has become inexorable, the only game in town.
Setting out to diagnose the condition of global capitalism, the ideological constraints we are faced with in our daily lives, and the bleak future promised by this system, Slavoj Žižek explores the possibilities—and the traps—of new emancipatory struggles.
Drawing insights from phenomena as diverse as “Gangnam Style” to Marx, The Dark Knight to Thatcher, Trouble in Paradise is an incisive dissection of the world we inhabit, and the new order to come.
Critique of Cynical Reason, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988, p. 17. 68. See Karl Marx, ‘Class Struggles in France’, Collected Works, Vol. 10, London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1978, p. 95. 69. Ibid. 70. See Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance, Robert Proctor and Londa Schiebinger, eds., Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008. 71. Quoted from www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/01/21/kings_complexity_often_ignored/. 72. Ibid. 73. Ibid. 74. Gerard
exaggeration in the style of Jonathan Swift, but take it seriously. This, however, will never happen since, after the doctrine of the bank too big to fail (the logic being that its bankruptcy would have catastrophic consequences for the entire economy), we now have the doctrine of the bank too big to indict32 (since, one can argue, its indictment would have catastrophic consequences for the financial and moral status of the ruling elites). These elites, the main culprits for the 2008 financial
others were limited and could be discharged, while with the coming of empires and monotheisms, one’s social or divine debt becomes effectively unpayable. Christianity perfected this mechanism: its all-powerful God meant a debt that was infinite; at the same time, one’s guilt for non-payment was internalized. The only way one could possibly repay in any way was through obedience: to the will of God, to the church. Debt, with its grip on past and future behaviours and with its moral reach, was a
continuity of the existing social, economic and political order, the class of those who, even when they call for a change, do so only to enforce changes that will make the system more efficient and ensure that nothing will really change.47 This is the key to the interpretation of electoral results in today’s developed Western states: who succeeded in winning over this class? Far from truly being perceived as a radical transformer, Obama won them over, and that’s why he was re-elected. The
unimaginable within the confines of today’s global capitalism and the political mechanisms it implies—in short, if such a power were to exist, the basic problem would already have been resolved. We can thus repeat, apropos of this notion of a global power, the same thing Freud says about psychoanalysis: in a situation in which conditions for psychoanalytic practice are fully met, psychoanalysis would no longer be needed. It is here that one should analyse the capitalist system as a totality of