Capitalism *is* the Alternative!

Many anti-capitalists refuse to admit that Capitalism is the best system available to us in the present moment. Even Marx made the claim that capitalism is necessary as the only system capable of pushing the Western world toward the next political-economic moment in history. Thus, within the West, we should not claim, as we so often do, that we are “anti-capitalist.” We need a new more nuanced position.

We should go further by being willing to admit the following: capitalism is not in need of an alternative! Quite the contrary, capitalism is the alternative. It is not therefore that our role as radicals is to develop and experiment with egalitarian alternatives to the capitalist order. We should not trap ourselves by the insistency of the question: “okay, you are anti-capitalist, but what system shall replace capitalism?’ This question amounts only to the following: ‘what is the alternative to capitalism?’

The question presumes an answer that is anchored to a fundamental systematic conviction. Capitalism is a discourse or social bond, and, as such, it is subject to certain structural properties or configurations. The mistake is to believe that capitalism is structured by an S1 (master signifier) which interrogates an S2 (knowledge) — in other words, the traditional “discourse of the master” — so that it would give rise to a class of slaves. The class of slaves have a dogmatic knowledge or belief which interrogates and incorporates the excess. Lacan named this the university discourse (S2 –> a).

This is not at all the discursive structure of capitalism.

Capitalism is not a system of fundamental belief. This is the real division that separates the so-called Western secular countries from the so-called fundamentalist. The global cultural battle today is fundamentally one of secularism and fundamentalism, opinion and dogma, and so on. Capitalism is not at all a system of belief. It is a perverse system which endlessly slides from belief to belief without any fundamental anchor.

Thus, capitalism is an alternative to fundamental political economic systems.

The task for the radical moving forward is therefore one of making a choice at the level of belief. It is not a question of alternatives to capitalism but rather a question of which fundamental conviction will bring us back into the world of fundamental belief.

 

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