On this week’s “On Contact,” in the first of a two-part interview, Chris Hedges discusses the social, political, cultural economic ramifications of the pandemic with the philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
Below is an excerpt from Slavoj Zizek’s new book Pandemic!: Covid 19 Shakes the World.
“Driven by demand to persevere and not to fail, as well as by the ambition of efficiency, we become committers and sacrificers at the same time and enter a swirl of demarcation, self-exploitation and collapse. When production is immaterial, everyone already owns the means of production him – or herself. The neoliberal system is no longer a class system in the proper sense. It does not consist of classes that display mutual antagonism. ‘This is what accounts for the system’s stability,’ Byung-Chul Han, argues in The Burnout Society, that subjects become self-exploiters. Today, everyone is an auto-exploiting laborer in his or her own enterprise. People are now master and slave in one. Even class struggle has transformed into an inner struggle against oneself.”