Edited By Michael A. Peters, João M. Paraskeva and Tina Besley
Chapter One: A Permanent Economic Emergency (Slavoj Žižek)
c h a p t e r o n e A Permanent Economic Emergency1 slavoj žižek During this year’s protests against the Eurozone’s austerity measures—in Greece and, on a smaller scale, Ireland, Italy and Spain—two stories have imposed them- selves.2 The predominant, establishment story proposes a de-politicized nat- uralization of the crisis: the regulatory measures are presented not as decisions grounded in political choices, but as the imperatives of a neutral financial logic—if we want our economies to stabilize, we simply have to swallow the bitter pill. The other story, that of the protesting workers, students and pensioners, would see the austerity measures as yet another attempt by international financial capital to dismantle the last remainders of the welfare state. The IMF thus appears from one perspective as a neutral agent of discipline and order, and from the other as the oppressive agent of global capital. There is a moment of truth in both perspectives. One cannot miss the super- ego dimension in the way the IMF treats its client states—while scolding and punishing them for unpaid debts, it simultaneously offers them new loans, which everyone knows they will not be able to return, thus drawing them deeper into the vicious cycle of debt generating more debt. On the other hand, the reason this superego strategy works is that the borrowing state, fully aware that it will never really have to repay the full amount of the debt, hopes to profit from it in the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.