Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Zizek on Capitalism, Healthcare, Latin American “Populism” and the “Farcical” Financial Crisis

Dubbed by the National Review as “the most dangerous political philosopher in the West” and the New York Times as “the Elvis of cultural theory,” Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Žižek has written over fifty books on philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory. In his latest book, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Žižek analyzes how the United States has moved from the tragedy of 9/11 to what he calls the farce of the financial meltdown. [includes rush transcript]

JUAN GONZALEZ We continue on the subject of the financial crisis with a man the National Review calls “the most dangerous political philosopher in the West.” The New York Times calls him “the Elvis of cultural theory.” Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Žižek has written over fifty books on philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory. His latest, just out from Verso, is called First as Tragedy, Then as Farce. It analyzes how the United States has moved from the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.

Žižek’s latest offering, also excerpted in the October issue of Harper’s Magazine, opens with the words, quote, “The only truly surprising thing about the 2008 financial meltdown is how easily the idea was accepted that its happening was unpredictable.” He goes on to recall how the demonstrations against the IMF and the World Bank over the past decade all protested the ways in which banks were playing with money and warned of an impending crash. They were met with tear gas and mass arrests.

AMY GOODMAN: The message, he writes, was, quote, “loud and clear, and the police were used to literally stifle the truth.”

Well, Slavoj Žižek addressed a full house at Cooper Union here in New York City on Wednesday night and joins us now in our firehouse studio.

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