Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is ‘Gangnam style’ the epitome of capitalism?

Ipso facto, capitalists love this song. :rolleyes:

I would think that Slavoj Zizek’s appearance was abhorrent enough for people not to bother listening, but apparently people take his ideas seriously, as unhelpful they may be to understanding issues.

For instance, this video where he provides the ‘insight’ of the Gangnam Style video being a “pure ideological phenomenon.” I would suppose he meant that, because the singer Psy is being materialistic and posh, it epitomized capitalism.


What is the means?

Basically, he equates the outcomes of a political system (material wealth), with the system itself (capitalism). As though material wealth could not be violently expropriated via the state.

As Franz Oppenheimer explains in ‘The state,’ there is the economic means, i.e. markets, and there is the political means, i.e. the state, for allocating resources. Ironic that what is often criticized as ‘capitalism’ is actually monopoly as granted by the state. Because monopoly systems require only continuous expropriation and not the benefit of clients/constituents to function, they decrease the utility of transactions of those without political perks, and diminish overall utility in a community.


Money is not the same as utility (Why trade it otherwise?)

Utility is often defined in monetary terms, but it also includes a greater sense of spiritual satisfaction, something definitely not promoted by choice-limiting monopoly. And if, in exercising one’s freedom, one degenerates into the superficial, this would not be hindered by coercive restrictions, least of all from an entity that supposedly represents one’s self (the state).


Conclusion

So, considering that,
1. Material wealth is not congruent to the process that is free-market capitalism; and
2. Material wealth is far from the only form that utility takes,

does Zizek’s “ideologically pure” comment still make sense?

Perhaps if my cocaine dosage was high enough.

The result of this misunderstanding is a prescription of more state power in the accomplishment of supposedly noble goals, even if state monopoly makes it that much harder to achieve these, and is actually the very cause of the poverty being blamed on markets, as is the case during the time of Marx (one of Zizek’s idols) and today.


Further reading:
The introduction to Butler Shaffer’s ‘The wizards of Ozymandias

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