Yves here. This post describes Eugene McCarraher’s contention that modern capitalism has assumed many of the features of religion. And it’s not hard to find plenty of corroboration, one being the sense of moral outrage about defaulting on debt…..which goes back well before the industrial era. For instance, consider Michael Hudson’s work on debt jubilees and his view that Christ’s real offense was taking on money-lenders and advocating for debt forgiveness. But McCarraher focuses on the role of acquisition and wealth in contemporary society.
By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website
The latest book by Villanova University’s Eugene McCarraher, who teaches humanities, is a deep dive into the history of a perverted love story and a false religion — the western worship of money and markets. The author testifies against a creed that has dominated our lives since the 17th century and offers an imaginative look at what can help us break the spell. In the following essay, cultural historian Lynn Parramore discusses The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity. (For a recent conversation with McCarraher and Institute for New Economic Thinking president Rob Johnson, tune into this episode of the “Economics & Beyond” podcast).
Do you, inhabitant of the marvelous and menacing late-modern world, detect something missing – some kind of vitality, meaning, connectedness, love, beauty, or wonder? If so, you’ve likely searched for a story to explain it.
A popular narrative offers that something rather