The Ethical Implications of Charity: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

John Converse Townsend's picture

In this ten-minute YouTube clip, Slovenian continental philosopher and critical theorist Slavoj Žižek delivers a fast-paced, piquant overview critique of charity and cultural capitalism. Žižek, a proud misanthrope, explains that charity is now the basic constituent of our economy, and notes that "this cheap, charitable optimism" is naive -- charitable acts do not solve pressing social issues, they merely prolong them. (Video after the jump.)

"I'm not against charity -- my God! In the abstract sense, of course, it's better than nothing. But let's be aware that there is an element of hypocrisy there."

Charity is admirable, but it is also misdirected, because charitable giving doesn't address the root causes associated with social problems.

Like a grizzled, lifelong social entrepreneur, Žižek demands that we do something more: change the systems.

As entrepreneurs, innovators, and social change enthusiasts, you're already living that revelation ... so stay for a TOMS Shoes cameo (as the "absurd example" of conscious consumerism), or the George Soros narrative, or even the pretty pictures. It is Friday, after all.

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[H/T Yvette Shirinian]

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