The Market has deified itself, according to Harvey Cox's brilliant exegesis. And all of the world's problems--widening inequality, a rapidly warming planet, the injustices of global poverty--are consequently harder to solve. Only by tracing how the Market reached its "divine" status can we hope to restore it to its proper place as servant of humanity.Read more...
The Market has deified itself, according to Harvey Cox's brilliant exegesis. And all of the world's problems--widening inequality, a rapidly warming planet, the injustices of global poverty--are consequently harder to solve. Only by tracing how the Market reached its "divine" status can we hope to restore it to its proper place as servant of humanity.
The Market as God captures how our world has fallen in thrall to the business theology of supply and demand. According to its acolytes, the Market is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It knows the value of everything, and determines the outcome of every transaction; it can raise nations and ruin households, and nothing escapes its reductionist commodification. The Market comes complete with its own doctrines, prophets, and evangelical zeal to convert the world to its way of life. Cox brings that theology out of the shadows, demonstrating that the way the world economy operates is neither natural nor inevitable but shaped by a global system of values and symbols that can be best understood as a religion.
Drawing on biblical sources, economists and financial experts, prehistoric religions, Greek mythology, historical patterns, and the work of natural and social scientists, Cox points to many parallels between the development of Christianity and the Market economy. At various times in history, both have garnered enormous wealth and displayed pompous behavior. Both have experienced the corruption of power. However, what the religious have learned over the millennia, sometimes at great cost, still eludes the Market faithful: humility.
- ISBN-13: 9780674659681
- ISBN-10: 0674659686
- Publisher: Harvard University Press
- Publish Date: August 2016
- Page Count: 320
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-09-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Over 50 years ago, Cox anticipated the cultural turn away from religion and toward secularism in his classic work, The Secular City (1965). In this exceptional book, he now turns his attention to economics and theology. In 2013, Pope Francis remarked in Evangelii Gaudium that the environment stands defenseless against a "deified market." With typical brilliance, Cox takes up the pope's words and examines in sparkling detail the features of the market as a religion. "The diviners and seers of The Market's methods are the financial consultants and CEOs of major investment houses," he writes. Like God, the market is seen as omniscient; through its diverse set of marketing tools, it searches our every desire and develops products to satisfy them. God's purpose (according to Cox) in knowing the desires of our hearts is to make us capable of love of God and others; the market's "purpose is to multiply sales." The market also operates according to a liturgical year: Black Friday, Christmas, Mother's Day. Cox is also quick to point out that banks mimic some contemporary megachurches: "The Market's edifices can also reflect those of religious culture." The church can be restored, he argues, through a process of democratization and dismantling the temples of the market. Cox's book is both timely and provocative. (Sept.)