I have been reading Zizek’s The Fragile Absolute and thinking about some of our attempts to rupture the capitalist system. One way we try to do accomplish this is by promoting fair trade chocolate. My question is, if Nestle chocolate operates in an economy of desire, does fair trade chocolate operate in an economy of love? Does fair trade chocolate actually rupture the capitalist system (according to Zizek’s thought)?
I don’t think it does. I think fair trade chocolate would be another objet petit a because a) it seeks a stake in the global market, and b) it claims to solve real problems (fighting poverty by paying just wages for local cocoa farmers in developing countries). It might also be worth noting that these just wages are determined against a first world capitalist measure of what just wages are or what the value of certain work is (i.e. we are inviting developing countries to assume capitalist organization and economics). I’m not, however, prepared to say that Ten Thousand Villages should therefore stop importing chocolate that is traded with farmers at first world prices. Not because I want to buy their chocolate (though this might be the case for many, a revolution-without-revolution) but because I’m not sure that is a solution either. Thoughts?