We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Worshiping the free-market god

by Eric Toussaint from Socialist Worker.
The gods of this religion are the financial markets. Its temples are known as stock exchanges. Only the high priests and their acolytes can tread their holy ground. The faithful are called upon to commune with their market-god on television, on their computer screen, in the daily papers, on the radio or at the bank.

Thanks to television, radio and the Internet, even in the most remote parts of the planet, hundreds of millions of people who are deprived of the right to meet their basic needs, are also urged to celebrate the market-god. In the North, in newspapers read by workers, housewives and unemployed, an "investment" section is published every day, even though the overwhelming majority of readers do not own a single share. Journalists are paid to help the faithful understand signals sent by the gods.
Excellent article, but one might get the idea that religion is only a metaphor for the widespread faith in capitalism. I would argue that the latter constitutes a real religion, and far more powerful than what are regarded as formal religions. This religion, like the formal ones, is purely based on faith not rationality. Our educational systems function as Sunday schools that teach its scriptures to our children. If one dares to criticize it, one often experiences something like excommunication, that is to say, shunned by one's peers, punished by poor job prospects, etc.