Philosopher Slavoj Zizek is known around the world for his cunning insight into topics ranging from film theory to ecology to capitalism. His recent talk, entitled "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce," investigates the surprising ethical implications of charitable giving (buying a cup of coffee from a vendor that supports fair trade beans.)  

Zizek points out that cultural capitalism of this kind helps us all to ease our consciences — buying not just a cup of coffee, but also redemption for our consumerist acts. But according to Zizek, these altruistic purchases are not a solution to the world's problems; they are only an aggravation of the difficulty.

Check out the video, if only to watch the awesome animation that accompanies Zizek's talk. Then let me know what you think of what he has to say.

A cup of coffee with a side of redemption
Watch: Wicked cool animation of philosopher Slavoj Zizek explaining the flaws of modern charitable giving.