A New Social Democracy or No? A Question by Zizek

Slavoj Zizek wrote an interesting opinion piece on the RT website. (Please read it before this post.) In it, he asks, “Is it true that only progressive billionaires can save humanity?” In his view the left has failed to build a post-capitalist society, the existing socialist societies have failed. His claim is that the “progressive” billionaires are the ones leading the way in post-capitalist thought. he claims that the experiments of the poor rising up have failed and led to worse worlds than those of the greatest capitalist despots. (As demonstrated by his previous writings.)

“Now, in the twenty-first century, we should finally have the courage to accept that only the rich can save the world, and we can argue that exceptionally creative individuals, who give generously, like Bill Gates and George Soros, have done more for the struggles for political freedom and against disease than has any state intervention.”

He notes that many of these billionaires – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and Elon Musk – show concern for the planet whereas others do not. They have more power to act than the average person. We should be looking to them for answers.
He points to an indirect suggestion by Sloterdijk, which recommends a social democracy “in which the culture of pride, and the recognition of the achievers (not only fiscal but also moral), will have its proper place.” Zizek disagrees with him that such a version of social democracy could exist.

But what is he really saying? His answer is as follows:

“Yet, wouldn’t it be much more appropriate to try to create a non-capitalist system, which recognizes achievers? Are these two desires really irreconcilable?”

He makes 2 false assumptions:

1. No socialist society has ever praised innovators – If this is true, what is his evidence for this? A quick Wikipedia search would show you the accomplishments of the Soviet Union.

2. What makes him think that any future socialism wouldn’t celebrate innovators?

It seems to me that Zizek is asking a question that the reader is supposed to answer. And as usual, his question isn’t very clear.

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