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The Gospel of Capitalism is the Biggest Religion of All – Book Review

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.

Forms of Capital and Moral Legitimation of Capitalism

“All the chapters converge around that claim that, without both social and cultural capital in place, business owners are handicapped, and their enterprise cannot flourish even when money is abundant. However, the case studies also suggest that, although both resource types are still and always have been important, the balance of relative importance shifted over historic time from business-friendly ideas to business-supporting communities.”

How the Welfare State Became the Neoliberal Order

“Amy C. Offner’s Sorting Out the Mixed Economy remakes a popular understanding of how today’s neoliberalism was built. Offner shows that neoliberalism, rather than having been imposed by the Washington Consensus, was in fact first developed at a local level. The book shows American entrepreneurs, trained in big government as Lilienthal was, working together with Latin American businesses, banks, and landlords. It was when these new kinds of partnerships returned to the US—when private companies, treated as public concerns and sustained by government funds, began to take shape in the “developed” world—that neoliberalism truly began.”

The Post-Capitalist Hit of the Summer

“The pandemic has reinforced that which has been undermining the foundation of capitalism since 2008: the link between profit and capital accumulation. The current crisis has revealed a post-capitalist economy in which the markets for real goods and services no longer coordinate economic decision-making”, writes Yanis Varoufakis.

Fight for Economic Equality Is as Old as America Itself

“Americans are increasingly worried about the rising tide of economic inequality, as fewer control more wealth. For the origins of these concerns, commentators usually point to the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century, when a few men gained immense wealth and power in the U.S. and workers suffered extreme poverty. But fears of great wealth and the need for economic equality go back to the country’s origins.”

Tea and Capitalism

“The story of Asia has been fundamental to the transformation of the global political economy since the late-20th century, but it has often been marginalised in accounts of neoliberal capitalism that focused on a handful of intellectuals in Euro-America. In turn, these accounts struggle to make sense of the rise of China, without a deeper understanding of how the history of capitalism has long been intertwined with the region.”

The Economy and Religion: Two Worlds? Catholic Thoughts on the Spirit of Capitalism

Economy and morality, or rather, capitalism and its ‘religious-ethical despisers’: two worlds and never the twain shall meet? On the contrary: the economic domain is not and has never been without morals and beliefs. Historically, Catholicism has contributed to the spirit of contemporary capitalism. But modern Catholic social thought has gradually developed a vision that suggests a conversion of the present global system. I will argue that it is necessary to continue the dialogue, not only because economists and faith traditions can critically contribute to each other, but also because this fosters the self-understanding of both faith traditions and economists.

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