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Slavoj Žižek on Who Won the Recession

Jose Martinez-Flores 9 October 2012

During the heydays of neo-liberalism, many scholars and pundits—say Francis Fukuyama in his much-vaunted appropriation of Hegelian dialectics—stated that capitalism and democracy were two peas in a pod at the end of history. But the year of unrest that was 2011 clearly contradicts that thesis and outlined the need for a new vision on how to organize the world.

In a provocative contribution to Foreign Policy's Who Won the Recession series, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, author of the recently released The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, expressed that the left has been unable to come up with a vision replacing that of today’s neo-liberal order:

The enthusiasm of the Arab Spring is mired in compromises and religious fundamentalism; Occupy is losing momentum to such an extent that the police cleansing of New York's Zuccotti Park even seemed like a blessing in disguise. It's the same story around the world: Nepal's Maoists seem outmaneuvered by the reactionary royalist forces; Venezuela's "Bolivarian" experiment is regressing further and further into caudillo-run populism; and even the most hopeful sign, Greece's anti-austerity movement, has lost energy after the electoral defeat of the leftist Syriza party.

Rather than an alternative to capitalism, it seems that the solution to this crisis is more capitalism, a Capitalism 2.0 best exemplified in China and Singapore that is more rapacious than the original and married to authoritarianism:

Could we in fact be seeing the conditions for the further radicalization of capitalism? German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk once told me that, if there is a person alive to whom they will build monuments 100 years from now, it is Lee Kuan Yew, the Singaporean leader who did more than anyone else to promote and implement the marriage of capitalism and authoritarianism -- an arrangement he euphemistically referred to as "Asian values." The virus of this authoritarian capitalism is slowly but surely spreading around the globe, nowhere more so than China.

Visit Foreign Policy to read the article in full.