No Capitalist Civilization

Discussing the London riots for the London Review of Books, Marxist Slavoj Zizek makes a telling observation on capitalist civilization in the midst of an otherwise dreary review:

Alain Badiou has argued that we live in a social space which is increasingly experienced as ‘worldless’: in such a space, the only form protest can takes is meaningless violence. Perhaps this is one of the main dangers of capitalism: although by virtue of being global it encompasses the whole world, it sustains a ‘worldless’ ideological constellation in which people are deprived of their ways of locating meaning. The fundamental lesson of globalisation is that capitalism can accomodate itself to all civilizations, from Christian to Hindu or Buddhist, from West to East: there is no global ‘capitalist worldview’, no ‘capitalist civilization’ proper. The global dimension of captialism represents truth without meaning.

Sounds like Baudrillard. But I believe he is right. Although capitalism rose from within Christendom, it has now supplanted Christendom to become a global civilization without spiritual underpinnings. Acquisition, risk, thrift and private property are good things when tethered to a moral framework, but now when they themselves are the moral framework.

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