Equivalence.


There certainly is a great deal of darkness in the dense Congolese jungle — but its causes lie elsewhere, in the bright executive offices of our banks and high-tech companies. In order to truly awaken from the capitalist “dogmatic dream” (as Kant would have put it) and recognize this other true heart of darkness we should re-apply to our situation Brecht’s old quip from his Beggars’ Opera: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?” What is the stealing of a couple of thousand of dollars, for which one is sent to prison, compared to the kind of financial speculation that deprives tens of millions of their homes and savings, but whose perpetrators are then rewarded with state help of sublime grandeur? What is a local Congolese warlord compared to an enlightened and ecologically sensitive Western CEO? Maybe Jose Saramago was right when, in a recent newspaper column, he proposed treating the big bank managers and others responsible for the global financial meltdown as perpetrators of crimes against humanity whose right place is before The Hague Tribunal. Perhaps one should not treat this proposal merely as poetic exaggeration in the style of Jonathan Swift, but rather take it absolutely seriously.

Slavoj Žižek, Living in the End Times

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