Religious Perspectives on Markets, Capitalism, Economics & Business

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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.

‘Two Hundred Years Back, One Hundred Years Ahead: From One Revolution to Another’

Two hundred years ago, a seemingly megalomaniac and even hopeless project was started in the West: overcoming poverty by creating more prosperity. This project was called “Progress”. Two hundred years later we can only conclude that this project was more successful than we could have anticipated. However, this project also has some serious shadow sides. As humanity we have to start a new, at first sight almost equally megalomaniac project for the next hundred years: making our prosperity sustainable.

The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity

Far from representing rationality and logic, capitalism is modernity’s most beguiling and dangerous form of enchantment, argues Eugene McCarraher, associate professor of humanities and history at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. He recently published The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity (Harvard University Press, 2019).

Hajj: How Globalisation Transformed the Market for Pilgrimage to Mecca

“As long as they are fit and financially able, the pilgrimage is an obligatory act of worship that followers of Islam owe to God once in their lifetime. […] But until the introduction of modern transport systems, most Muslims beyond the Arab world had little expectation of completing this fifth and final pillar of Islam. […] A look at Hajj-going among British Muslims in an age of globalisation underlines the growing role of the market for religious tourism in shaping the organisation of the pilgrimage.”

McMindfulness: Buddhism as Sold to You by Neoliberals

“The celebrated French activist philosopher and psychotherapist Félix Guattari observed some time ago that contemporary capitalism had begun to determine who we think we are. The power of corporate media, advertising, video games, Hollywood and the rise of social media condition how we present and think about ourselves. And in turn, our visions of ourselves participate in the production of all other commodities.”

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