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.
argument from the penultimate chapter of The Year of Dreaming Dangerously (London: Verso Books, 2013). 160. See Peter Sloterdijk, Repenser l’impôt, Paris: Libella, 2012. 161. See Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, New York: Belknap Press, 2014. 162. See Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, New York: Riverhead Books, 2009. 163. Quoted from dotsub.com/view/e1fddf77-5d1d-45b7-81be-5841ee5c386e/viewTranscript/eng. 164. Karatani, op.
‘J’ai hâte de vous servir!’, to which the snob snaps back: ‘Why would you hate to serve me? I will give you a good tip!’ Finally the snob gets the point that his knowledge of French is limited; to repair his reputation and prove that he is a man of culture, he decides, upon his departure late in the evening, to wish the waiter good night in Latin, since the restaurant is in Quartier Latin, and bids him ‘Nota bene!’ This book will proceed in five steps, mimicking the blunders of the unfortunate
exploding inequality—Piketty proposes an annual global wealth tax of up to 2 per cent, combined with a progressive income tax reaching as high as 80 per cent. An obvious question arises here: if capitalism’s immanent logic pushes it towards growing inequality and a weakening of democracy, why should we not aim at overcoming capitalism itself? For Piketty, the problem is the no-less-obvious fact that the twentieth-century alternatives to capitalism didn’t work: capitalism has to be accepted as the
coordinates of the old society, which is why the actual ‘people power’ was often such a violent horror.219 There is a certain revolutionary ruthlessness, the neglect of the human costs of our acts, which can legitimately be questioned. Say, when a country is under occupation and the majority of the population wavers and cannot decide whether or not to join the struggle, the radical resistance is sometimes tempted to provoke heavy retaliations by the occupiers (burning of villages, shooting
ideological identity is also simultaneously grounded in this fiction (not simply dependent on it): the Nazi is—in his self-perception—a figure in his own dream about the ‘Jews’. This is far from an obvious commonsense. So why call Gandhi’s attempts to undermine the British state in India ‘more violent’ than Hitler’s mass killings? Precisely to draw attention to the fundamental violence that sustains a ‘normal’ functioning of the state (Benjamin called it ‘mythic violence’), and the no less