- Slavoj Žižek says the GameStop short squeeze was revolutionary because it didn’t focus on fundamentals.
- Žižek is a political philosopher who holds positions at the University of Ljubljana and the University of London.
- Žižek said he sees parallels between a recent presidential campaign slogan “corruption for everybody” and the GME saga.
- Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.
Žižek, a researcher at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Ljubljana and the international director of the Birkbeck Institute at the University of London, is known for his cultural critiques and communist beliefs.
The Slovenian-born political philosopher has long been a staunch critic of capitalism, and in his latest interview, he once again hits at a central issue of the system: corruption.
Žižek normally doesn’t involve himself in stocks or the market, but the philosopher said the populist logic in the GameStop movement drew him in.
Žižek sees parallels between the GameStop short squeeze phenomenon and a Presidential campaign by the Croatian movie director Dario Jurican in 2019, wherein Jurican used the slogan “corruption for everybody.”
The philosopher says that the campaign promised normal people would get to profit from cronyism, and although voters knew it was a joke, there was significant support for the campaign.
Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets is a similar phenomenon, according to Žižek.
“We are in a situation in which Wall Street, the model of corrupt speculation and inside-trading, always by definition resisting state intervention and regulation, now opposes unfair competition and calls for state intervention,” Žižek wrote in “Corruption for Everybody.”
“In short, wallstreetbets is doing openly what Wall Street has been doing in secret for decades,” Žižek added.
In Žižek’s mind, the GameStop phenomenon was revolutionary because it focused on creating chaos in the markets and giving the power of “corrupt speculation” to the retail trader.
Reddit traders’ investments in GameStop weren’t based on anything fundamental, in Žižek’s view. Instead, the traders’ goal was to band together and bring about a “truly populist capitalism” with the power of “corruption” going to the people.
“The basic idea is, ‘we don’t care what really goes on at GameStop, or if they have a certain new product or whatever. We just want to show the market that success is not the reality of production but the enigmatic character of our act,'” Žižek said.