Some authors suggest that capitalism has become the new religion and that God did not die, but was instead transformed into money. Society has come to worship financial success as our reason for being, our raison d’être.
The Market as God analogy (Harvey Cox 2016) replaces the rights of people with the rights of shareholders. In deifying itself, the Market has become omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, basing its existence on the business theology of supply and demand. In this type of economic infrastructure, compassion for humanity cannot exist because the poor and needy have no currency, respect nor relevance.
In the book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari takes this analogy one step further stating that the “capitalist-consumerist ethic” has strong religious overtones, setting the lifestyles of the rich as the utopian paradise-reward. Money and envy have become the benchmarks for achieving heaven-on-earth. Our religion of consumerism encourages the less well-heeled to “go into debt buying cars and televisions they don’t really need. The supreme commandment of the rich is Invest! The supreme commandment of the rest of us is Buy!” (Harari 2014:349).
The meek shall not inherit the earth; the rich shall profit from the flock in huge abundance, with gifts received tax-free, guilt-free and delivered with admiration and thanks.
In John Rapley’s Twilight of the Money Gods: Economics as a Religion and How it all Went Wrong, the promised land of material abundance is discussed. The book examines the discipline of economics covering the last five centuries. “While its prophets—from Adam Smith to John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman—concerned themselves with the human condition, its priesthood gradually grew remote from its followers, until it lost sight of their tribulations.” Rapley blames the unsustainability of our current economic state on the flawed relationship between governments and markets. The globally supported notion that the market knows best creates delusional infrastructures and financial problems, such as the inevitability of bursting bubbles, from Amsterdam tulips in 1637 to Bitcoin in 2022 (maybe?).
In a Market as God world, losing faith becomes more than personal; it can be profoundly devastating on mental, physical, economic and societal levels (Rx Music 2020).
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