As banks — the same ones that were claiming they were too big to fail — pay out huge bonuses to their administrators, and the unemployment rate reaches toward the sky, a few people are raising questions about whether capitalism needs to be rethought. First, we have Michael Moore’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. The Guardian offers a guarded review:
The big villain, of course, is capitalism itself, which the film paints as a wily old philanderer intent on lining the pockets of the few at the expense of the many. America, enthuses a leaked Citibank report, is now a modern-day “plutonomy” where the top 1% of the population control 95% of the wealth. Does Barack Obama’s election spell an end to all this? The director has his doubts, pointing out that Goldman Sachs – depicted here as the principal agent of wickedness – was the largest private contributor to the Obama campaign.
Also coming this fall is Slavoj Zizek’s new book, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. Zizek will use popular culture to help people to understand the blatant contradictions that do not seem to inhibit people from believing that a good shopping spree is as good as a Xanax. Zizek’s book will be out in a few days. A blurb from the publisher gives you the flavor of what is between the covers:
The financial meltdown signals that the fantasy of globalization is over and as millions are put out of work it has become impossible to ignore the irrationality of global capitalism. Just a few months before the crash, the world’s priorities seemed to be global warming, AIDS, and access to medicine, food and water — tasks labelled as urgent, but with any real action repeatedly postponed. Now, after the financial implosion, the urgent need to act seems to have become unconditional — with the result that undreamt of quantities of cash were immediately found and then poured into the financial sector without any regard for the old priorities.