We could call it “Representation” and sell it for $4.99 on iTunes

Slavoj Žižek, in his recently released In Defense of Lost Causes:

“What is at stake here is not primarily the way politicians are packaged and sold as merchandise at elections; a much deeper problem is that elections themselves are conceived along the lines of buying a commodity (power, in this case): they involve a competition between different merchandise-parties, and our votes are like money which buys the government we want. What gets lost in such a view of politics as just another service we buy is politics as a shared public debate of issues and decisions that concern us all.”

It’s precisely this commodification of representation that belittles the potential role of government in society. Neoconservatives argue that there is too much government if there is any government at all, yet government has been essential to creating, among other things, the stable markets that allow business to grow and thrive. We need a lot more debate about what is at stake in elections and far less about who is qualified to lead—the qualified are those who best represent the collective debate. They may not always decide the way we have, but we have listened to their minds at work in debate and decided they will think well and thoroughly about our problems when making decisions in government.

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Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.