Slavoj Zizek on "Cultural Capitalism, Charity, and the modern world"


At the beginning of this animated presentation, Zizek states:

I think we should return to good old Oscar Wilde, who still provided the best formulation against this logic of charity. Let me just quote a few lines from the beginning of his,"The Soul of Modern Man Under Socialism."

"He points out that its much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. People find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease, they merely prolong it. Indeed, the remedies are part of the disease.
They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive.
Or in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution, it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible....

Charity degrades and demoralizes. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property."