Okay You Don’t Like Capitalism But What Do You Really Want?



In this thought provoking video philosopher Slavoj Žižek says its time to stop protesting against capitalism, take a step back and actually think what you really want as an alternative. What can you do to dismantle the market structure without regressing into a 20th Century communist system of servitude and domination?

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

A Transcript of the video can be found here http://bigthink.com/videos/dont-act-just-think


Published by

Conor Boyle

Law graduate Trinity College Dublin 2017; Editorial & Marketing at Intelligence Squared. All views expressed here are my own! If you'd like to write for The Conversation Room email: boylec4@tcd.ie

16 thoughts on “Okay You Don’t Like Capitalism But What Do You Really Want?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this… I love how he describes the fatalistic outlook on Capitalism… for its’ entire history. lol. Reminds me of how I felt about Reality TV (Oh, it can’t last…. I said). Geez. It’s been like 20 years now. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Btw… have you seen the new mini-series “Harley and the Davidsons”? It sounds super-cheesy, but it is actually a pretty good (probably idealistic and somewhat fictionalized) history of the Harley-Davidson company.

    Anyway, I thought of this video you posted when I watched the series, especially on the last 2 episodes when they dealt with Ford Motor Company, etc. I think that Harley-Davidson really represented that ‘ideal’ American capitalism: Create a product that serves the public, take responsibility for that product… You know, ethics… common courtesy…

    I think the rise of corporations killed the original ‘ideal’… because the larger and more conglomerate a company gets… the harder it is to find someone to ‘blame’ when it all goes badly… (Pretty much what the 1990’s were… the pinnacle of ‘it wasn’t me!’… carried over from the corporatization that happened in the 80’s).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I haven’t seen it but that sounds really interesting. And I think that’s so right capitalism can work really well when it’s local, small to medium companies which can be regulated in certain respects – the growth of global multi national corporations though is a serious threat to democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it harder to believe, as the years go by, that the concept of a ‘monopoly’ has either entered some weird, legal, gray area, or it’s just plain over-looked by the powers-that-be. I remember when something as simple as the phone companies were forced to ‘break up’ because they had created a monopoly on the market. Perhaps we’ve moved past monopoly to something more sinister that needs to be regulated as well? I open the floor to name and/or term suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think we should just stop thinking and start contemplating Nature. Everything in Nature is collaborative. Capitalism was part of our evolution as a species, now we are ready for the next step and aware not to make the same mistakes again. Everything in the universe is subject to change, nothing can stay the same forever, whether we like it or not. We are now mature enough for a society based on mutual love and respect by acknowledging that diversity, whether racial, cultural, religious, sexual or whatever, is there to serve a higher purpose which is the evolution of humanity as a species. We are all in this together so pat yourself on the back and never look back again, only forward! We are going towards the new society walking hand in hand so never be afraid again. Human beings are beautiful and were born to be happy not to compete and disguise one another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You scared me at first. lol. I thought you were going to go down the Social Darwinist path. That is a dark, prickly path that leads nowhere good. *ahem* I agree we have made a lot of progress to combat racism, sexism… but we have a LONG way to go there. But yes, it is better than it was… thanks for the reminder. 🙂

      As far as Capitalism being a part of our ‘progress’, I don’t see that. Capitalism and Socialism came about at pretty much the same era in history. They came about because of a debate about what society ‘is’ and what makes it productive. In my humble opinion we’ve been arguing over which side of the coin is best facing up. They both are part of the same thing… and both are necessary.


      1. Hi tcriggs. To put it in simple words, the Titanic is sinking so we are left with two choices: talk about it or deal with it. I decided to deal with it and so now I’m doing my best to heal myself from ideologies and start loving myself and others more for what we are. We are all doing our best, I’m sure we’ll make it!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes. I am looking forward the US accepting that all socialist concepts are not evil incarnate. (In fact we entertain more than a few already).

    And amen to the titanic analogy. It made me laugh. This has to be the worst election year for me since 2004. It definitely feels like a sink, swim, or woman the life boat scenario.


  6. The beauty of this is that he helps to crystallise my thoughts. Change has to be radical but no-one has ready answers about direction, that I’ve heard anyway. As he says, if we engage in thought, debate re necessity for change, maybe that’s a better way to start than revolution.
    My personal thought, expressed on my other blog (Ulingana) is the example of co-operation set in poor parts of the world could be a great model to work with…co-operatives, opt-in schooling etc. It’s easier to start somewhere like that because nothing needs dismantling….
    This is a great site you’ve set up Conor, to engender discussion… So… opinions?… do I talk nonsense…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha no Tony your contribution is great!! I think it’s definitely true that that we become consumed by current affairs and rarely as a society engage in discussion about long term prospects. Definitely, I think in places where there isn’t an established corporatocracy, that investment can be put into alternatives. Places like Bolivia & Burundi are more and more looking at a Human Happiness Index instead of GDP as an indicator of how successful they are as a country

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s wonderful. (That they are looking at happiness first.) Learning from our mistakes. Excellent. Hopefully soon, they will be able to teach us a thing or two. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the more fun stories from my history classes was about Sam Adams (wasn’t he John Adams’ brother?) Guess where all those upstarts all met to discuss politics and complain about the British government? At the Tavern. lol. aka “The Conversation Room”

    I think you speak very clearly.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ok thanks to you both, I still lack self confidence sometimes. And actually this relates. Because get me on home ground and I will play the expert, utterly confident. BUT because most of us don’t have degrees in economics or politics we feel that our comments will be perceived as naive and missing the point by a country mile. Which is the whole point. Debate has to include everyone who feels that the issue being debated affects them. But how to say…’it has to be informed debate’? Should we say that? In the UK we have many people saying ‘foreigners take our jobs’ which is scary nonsense yet just created a massive political decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s happening here too… *shiver* Sheer madness. Perfectly logical, educated and/or usually sensible people. Kind, considerate, neighborly… and there’s that dark side of them that is being stoked into existence. Still figuring out what to do and/or say about it all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes I follow US politics with interest. I see you followed my blog, thanks for that, you’ll see from that that I’m quite distressed sometimes about what happens to my fellow humans because of people responding to their dark side. Like some Lord of the Flies scenario on a global scale! It’s my belief (based both on logic and personal experience) that global evolution will be in large part dependent on personal evolution. A bold statement 🙂 but if we have a connection as living beings it has to be somewhere other than the level of animal instinct?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You should check out the post “Myopia” on my blog (if you haven’t already)… I think I offended a friend of mine when I told them about the post (and what I talked about)… they are very Left Wing Liberal and very idealistic. They didn’t like my concept at all… Proof that regardless of your place on the political spectrum, there seems to be an inability to self-evaluate your own conceptions and pre-conceptions.

    Liked by 2 people

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