Compare the $700 billion spent on stabilising the banking system by the US alone to the $22 billion pledged by richer nations to help poorer nations cope with the food crisis, of which only $2.2 billion has been made available. The blame for the food crisis cannot be put on the usual suspects of corruption, inefficiency or state interventionism. Even Bill Clinton has acknowledged that ‘we all blew it, including me,’ by treating food crops as commodities instead of a vital right of the world’s poor.
Slavoj Žižek, Use Your Illusions
Today, in a world in which there is pretty much one regime and one choice, a principle occupation of the paid thinkers is to conjure up hypothetical alternative paths to take us to fictitious worlds. Žižek seems to have made his way to the top of academic celebrityhood by punching through a well chosen fraction of the left’s illusions. Any survey of his output today should demonstrate that he just toes the standard line with slightly overwrought tone.
Anyway, no, you can’t really compare “$700 billion spent on stabilising the banking system” with “$22 billion pledged by richer nations to help poorer nations”. Well, let’s get it out of the way that neither is intended to actually help the poor, each is a different bureaucratic capitalist initiative. But if we then actually attempt a comparison, we find that the $700 billion really was something like what was necessary to stabilize the existing monetary and certainly while the proletariat’s existence doesn’t depend on the existence of this particular world financial order, Zizek’s apparently beloved $22 billion to the poor nations does.
One might argue that, even, that the real decadence of capital was especially evident in the need of capital to engage in this bailout. The more-or-less permanent institutionalization of “too big to fail” arguably puts serious breaks on capital’s ability to self-renew. Capital avoided a deeper recession only by “freezing” the conditions of 1929/2008 and creating a situation where the possibility of melt is ever-present, only held back by the promise of unlimited state intervention. And that is another point where again the $700, the $20 billion and even the $2 are not comparable. The point where the state intervened to protect the banking system was the point where the state and capital really showed they were one. It turns out that on the one hand, the total amount promised for the bailout guarantees was in fact more than twice $700 billion but that indeed, all of the money, even the $700 billion, was repaid. Certainly, when a company has unlimited guarantees from the state, that company should have trouble finding people to loan money to it, so this repayment is hardly surprising. So again, comparison is laughable.
I kind of suspect that with this amount of pandering the liberal mindset, Zizek actually using ghost writers. The basic framework of discovery “society’s priorities” through looking at its budget allocations inherently dovetail with the humanitarian wing of capital’s bureaucracies.
“It will be a great day when the Department of Defense has to hold a bake sale and when teachers can sit on $2000 toilets, get wine-and-dined by subcontractors and employ predator drones to protect their campuses against the encroaching armies of pedophiles..”