The Press on Economics/Neoliberalism/Capitalism as Religion

In my dissertation I explore at length the various permutations and readings of the “capitalism as religion” or “economics as religion” or “neoliberalism as religion” paradigm in the scholarship of theologians, philosophers and economists. Here I am attempting to produce a philosophy of religion of capitalism and its relation to economics, which I then turn to the neo-Gramscian paradigm of neoliberalism I’ve detailed earlier in the work. The thing is, there is something about this comparison that seems intuitive and clear: I rarely have to explain to people what I am doing in my work, they automatically ‘get’ it. In trying to show this I’m dredging up as much coverage from the press as I can to show the idea is “in the air”

So what I’m looking for dear readers is your news stories or short opinion pieces from the popular press that discuss or allude to the idea that capitalism is a religion, or economics is a religion, or neoliberalism is a religion. I am not looking for books or academic titles on the subject, as I feel I have a good overview and have sifted the wheat from the chaff here. Something else I am not particularly interested in is the “consumerism as religion” trope, which is probably more common than the examples I’m talking about here. Religious leaders commentating on it are interesting, but more interesting are otherwise secular commentators making this connection. I am also looking for articles which simply use religious language – “the gospel of neoliberalism”, “prophets of market doom” and so on. Also practical examples – Alan Greenspan’s crisis of faith, for example, would be fun.

I think I have quite a few good ones of this genre, but with the infinite eyes of the internet I am absolutely positive you out there have great examples of this I have missed. You will, of course, be footnoted with aplomb. Thanks a lot in advance.

6 thoughts on “The Press on Economics/Neoliberalism/Capitalism as Religion

  1. ‘The Market as God’ is weirdly prescient (being published in 1999) when it comments on whether “traditional religions” would react to global capitalism:

    “Disagreements among the traditional religions become picayune in comparison with the fundamental differences they all have with the religion of The Market. Will this lead to a new jihad or crusade? I doubt it. It seems unlikely that traditional religions will rise to the occasion and challenge the doctrines of the new dispensation. Most of them seem content to become its acolytes or to be absorbed into its pantheon, much as the old Nordic deities, after putting up a game fight, eventually settled for a diminished but secure status as Christian saints. I am usually a keen supporter of ecumenism. But the contradictions between the world views of the traditional religions on the one hand and the world view of the Market religion on the other are so basic that no compromise seems possible, and I am secretly hoping for a rebirth of polemics. ”

    Related to this and kind of my own response to the request for suggestions would be Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods,” which among many other fascinating things pits the “old gods” of conventional mythology against the new, abstract gods of media, technology and the like.

  2. Yeah, sorry all, thanks for the rolling contributions. Cox’s article was one of the things that sparked this whole project. It is remarkably clear sighted, feels right, but ten years later, have we really seen a re-birth of polemics?

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