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Fundamentalism- The Capitalist Way 
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Post Fundamentalism- The Capitalist Way
Most of us have a sense of what religious fundamentalism is. The Free Market is one. All adherents of the Free Market see their lives driven to the worship of the One All-Powerful and Jealous God -- Capital. Underpinned by its theology -- economics -- it has numerous huge temples in the form of shopping malls that are bent on driving out all the little corner churches propounding insignificant little heresies such as "the humanness of chatting to your own friendly butcher."

Our lives rotate around the worship of Capital and many of us, like suicide bombers, drive ourselves to death as sacrificial lambs (or martyrs) at the altar of success. (Heard of "shop till you drop?") You cannot leave your home or switch on your TV without being confronted by its missionaries or having a pamphlet thrust in your hand: "Convert Now or You Will Lose Out! Buy Now. The Sale Ends Today!" So successful, however, have their missionary activities been that we restrain our annoyance at these intrusions, while we might not do so with Jehovah's Witnesses.

The major symbol of this religion, the notorious "M" arch of McDonalds, has driven out that other symbol of a now old-fashioned religion, the crucifix of Christianity, as the most widely recognized symbol in the world. It's as if the arch is telling the cross: "The Lord, Your God is One; You shall have none others in my presence."

Paradise awaits those who believe and hell to those who reject or who fail -- or who have failure written in their destiny. ("The unemployed are just lazy; the poor shall always be with us.") Consider Free Market images of the ideal: The Gloriously Carefree Resort! The perfect toilet for you! The BMW accompanied by your very own sex-bomb, etc. How do they really differ from the images of paradise presented by other religions that sometimes have your own sex-bomb (an houri or two) thrown in as an added incentive?

The religion of the Market is also a fundamentalist one. The struggle against socialist countries is unashamedly described as a "crusade" with collateral damage. ("There are no innocent victims in our crusade against Cuba; those children dying under our sanctions are the offspring of infidels. So who cares?")

There is damnation for those who do not believe as we do, and even for those who fail despite being faithful practitioners, as most are. (And, inevitably, many must fail. Under the market economy, success can only come to a minority, for -- and here lies the damning rub -- its paradise is founded upon an earth that has limited resources.)

This fundamentalism of the Market, with Capital as its God, seeks to convert all other cultures in its image, utilizing them for consolidating the system. It presents itself as the only way, and claims that outside its pale there is no salvation for the world, but only the hell-fire of destruction or the limbo of "primitivism."

As Buddhist thinker David Loy has said: "The collapse of communism makes it more apparent that the Market is becoming the first truly world religion, binding all corners of the globe into a worldview and set of values whose religious role we overlook only because we insist on seeing them as 'secular.' "

TO WHOM SHALL WE GIVE ACCESS TO OUR WATER HOLES?
by Farid Esack


FARID ESACK is the author of Qur'an, Liberation and Pluralism (1996), On Being a Muslim: Finding a Religious Path in the World Today (1999) and An Introduction to the Qur'an (forthcoming), all by Oxford: Oneworld. Delivered as the Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, October 10, 2001.

www.crosscurrents.org/Esack.htm




Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:06 am
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Post Re: Fundamentalism- The Capitalist Way
Very good! Right On!

I just consider it part of a malicious memeplex that is winning over and assimulating other forms.

Lifeforms have been known to transform (destroy) their environment, to their extinction. In the new environment, new form will adapt and evolve.

It is only through vulnerable cooperation such as what we see in rain forests that have any long term sustainability. But all things must have checks and balances for that to occur.

With humans, this is yet to occur. We will create a dull bland scenery of sameness and have to take on the chore of doing what nature did for us for free. This will require an enormous amount of energy, but we are running out of that. So humanity will face a crisis.

Monty Vonn
Meme Wars




Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:03 pm
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Post Re: Fundamentalism- The Capitalist Way
"At the apex of any theological system, of course, is its doctrine of God. In the new theology this celestial pinnacle is occupied by The Market, which I capitalize to signify both the mystery that enshrouds it and the reverence it inspires in business folk.

Different faiths have, of course, different views of the divine attributes. In Christianity, God has sometimes been defined as omnipotent (possessing all power), omniscient (having all knowledge), and omnipresent (existing everywhere). Most Christian theologies, it is true, hedge a bit. They teach that these qualities of the divinity are indeed there, but are hidden from human eyes both by human sin and by the transcendence of the divine itself. In "light inaccessible" they are, as the old hymn puts it, "hid from our eyes."

Likewise, although The Market, we are assured, possesses these divine attributes, they are not always completely evident to mortals but must be trusted and affirmed by faith. "Further along," as another old gospel song says, "we'll understand why."

As I tried to follow the arguments and explanations of the economist-theologians who justify The Market's ways to men, I spotted the same dialectics I have grown fond of in the many years I have pondered the Thomists, the Calvinists, and the various schools of modern religious thought. In particular, the econologians' rhetoric resembles what is sometimes called "process theology," a relatively contemporary trend influenced by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. In this school although God wills to possess the classic attributes, He does not yet possess them in full, but is definitely moving in that direction.

This conjecture is of immense help to theologians for obvious reasons. It answers the bothersome puzzle of theodicy: why a lot of bad things happen that an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God -- especially a benevolent one -- would not countenance. Process theology also seems to offer considerable comfort to the theologians of The Market.

It helps to explain the dislocation, pain, and disorientation that are the result of transitions from economic heterodoxy to free markets."

The Market As God
Living in the new dispensation


by Harvey Cox

www.theatlantic.com/issue...ketgod.htm




Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:56 am
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Post Re: Fundamentalism- The Capitalist Way
"From a religious perspective, the problem with market capitalism and its values is twofold: greed and delusion. On the one hand, the unrestrained market emphasizes and indeed requires greed in at least two ways. Desire for profit is necessary to fuel the engine of the economic system, and an insatiable desire to consume ever more must be generated to create markets for what can be produced.
Within economic theory and the market it promotes, the moral dimension of greed is inevitably lost; today it seems left to religion to preserve what is problematic about a human trait that is unsavory at best and unambiguously evil at its worst.

Religious understandings of the world have tended to perceive greed as natural to some extent, yet rather than liberate it they have seen a need to control it.

The spiritual problem with greed -- both the greed for profit and the greed to consume -- is due not only to the consequent maldistribution of worldly goods (although a more equitable distribution is of course essential), or to its effect on the biosphere, but even more fundamentally because greed is based on a delusion: the delusion that happiness is to be found this way.

Trying to find fulfillment through profit, or by making consumption the meaning of one's life, amounts to idolatry, i.e. a demonic perversion of true religion; and any religious institution that makes its peace with the priority of such market values does not deserve the name of genuine religion.

In other words, greed is part of a defective value-system (the way to live in this world) based on an erroneous belief-system (what the world is). The atomistic individualism of utilitarianism, which "naturalizes" such greed, must be challenged and refuted intellectually and in the way we actually live our lives.

The great sensitivity to social justice in the Semitic religions (for whom sin is a moral failure of will) needs to be supplemented by the emphasis that the Asian enlightenment traditions place upon seeing-through and dispelling delusion (ignorance as a failure to understand). Moreover, I suspect that the former without the latter is doomed to be ineffective in our cynical age.

We are unlikely ever to solve the problem of distributive social justice without also overcoming the value-delusion of happiness through individualistic accumulation and consumption, if only because of the ability of those who control the world's resources to manipulate things to their own perceived advantage.

That is not to demonize such people, for we must recognize our own complicity in this system, not only through our own levels of consumption but also through the effects that our pension funds have upon the workings of the market."

RELIGION AND THE MARKET

By David Loy
Faculty of International Studies
Bunkyo, Japan

Copyright, 1997 by David Loy

www.sacredchoices.org/loy.htm




Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:48 pm
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