Zizek seems to be arguing that were we, the everyman, to fully comprehend the 'reality' of the exchange farce, "the effective act of exchange would no longer be possible" (p 20). That we cannot grasp its scope and depth is essential to its veil, he claims -- certainly echoing the likes of Jameson and Baudrilliard on the tactics of postmodern forces in ensuring our complacency. I have a few issues to take up with the politics of this claim.
Beginning on p.39, Baud delves into his analysis of the psychology of nuclear might, arguing that acquiring the tangible means for nuclear warfare will never result in the 'real' deployment of these weapons. Acquiring nuclear weapons is to acquire the deterrent. Because they can, they will not. Hence, deterrence, in Baudrillard's account. Global acquisition (and consumption) of this deterrent is "an accelerated process of implosion."
Since Baudrillard consistently describes representative absorption of simulacra in resuscitatory terms ('a sympathetic nervous system' [Baudrillard, 13]; 'a sort of hormonal treatment through negativity and crisis--to escape--real death throes' [Baudrillard, 19]; 'a stimulant--to a dying system--fresh blood--revive it through the negative' ), are we then to understand simulacral 'envelopings of the whole edifice of representation' as in some sense euthenasic, delivering 'mortal blows' [Baudrillard, 27], however successfully, to ideology and power?
Baudrillard helpfully distills the four "successive phases of the image" as follows (letters inserted to facilitate future references):
"the image is the reflection of a profound reality; [a]
-- masks and denatures a profound reality; [b]
-- masks the absence of a profound reality; [c]
-- has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum" [d] (6).