Lending for Fun

A brilliant philosopher Slavoy Zizek explained so many things to me today.

First, what is a technocrat. If someone faced with a problem is concerned only with its optimal solution, it is a technocrat. In contrast, normal humans choose only from the set of solutions defined by their ideological taste. Efficiency is secondary matter.

This explains why the dialogue between Greece and the EU technocrats fails:

The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, recently remarked that if he were to meet alone with Angela Merkel for dinner, they would find a formula in two hours. His point was that he and Merkel, the two politicians, would treat the disagreement as a political one, in contrast to technocratic administrators.

Ever more powerful reason to keep the dialogue on the ideological level is this one: Making efficiency a top priority is itself a marker of a particular ideology, and being a technocrat is an ideological choice:

It is clear that the truth here is on the Greek side: the denial of “the ideological side” advocated by Dijsselbloem is ideology at its purest.

You cannot escape this logic. Whatever any subject may seem to be, the real truth is that there is a hidden ideological agenda behind it.

You may have thought, for example, that developed countries compete in the game of optimisation, since there are no sources of growth for them other than innovation (in the broadest sense) that results in efficiency gains. You were wrong.

The real truth is that this game was imposed on “us” by some malevolent power, and in a democratic society people have a right to vote themselves out of this unfair contest.

In a few days Greece will host an all-leftist conference Democracy Rising. Before, the intimate connection between the Greek crisis and the democratic ideal eluded my understanding, but now it is clear. There are, in fact, the states that exclude themselves from the international competition, albeit none of them are democratic.

A democratic isolationist state would be something new. But this is exactly what you expect from Greece: inventing democracy.

However, it is not what is on their minds, according to Zizek: “[T]he Greek government repeatedly emphasised its desire to remain in the EU and in the eurozone.” Either the rest of Europe, therefore, has to democratically vote itself out of the efficiency contest, too, or it has to respect (meaning subsidise) the Greek’s democratic choice. Considering the well-known poverty of isolationist states, I think, it is the second option Zizek counts on.

But then, where the money will come from?

Their [creditors] pressure fits perfectly what psychoanalysis calls “superego”: the paradox of the superego is that, as Freud saw it, the more we obey its demands, the more guilty we feel.

Zizek speaks of creditors not as if they were many private entities acting independently in the market, but as if they were a unity, possessing a single will. This metaphysical being does not just resemble the guilt-inflicting Christian God — “superego” is a precise psychoanalytical term for it. Obviously, a godlike creditor possesses an infinite source of money and, therefore, cannot care for profit:

The true goal of lending money to the debtor is not to get the debt reimbursed with a profit, but the indefinite continuation of the debt, keeping the debtor in permanent dependency and subordination.

Finally, I realise my own true goals. When I buy bonds of some country, I am not trying to protect my assets against inflation. What I am really doing is subordinating people and empowering myself. It took a psychoanalyst to open my eyes: What a monster I am!

Now excuse me, I am off to subordinate the Americans. And let them feel guilty.