Exposing Mammon: Devotion to Money in a Market Society


  • Philip Goodchild

    1. Philip Goodchild is Professor of Religion and Philosophy in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham, U.K. He is the author of Gilles Deleuze and the Question of Philosophy (1996), Deleuze and Guattari: An Introduction to the Politics of Desire (1996), Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety (2002), and Theology of Money (2009). He is also currently a Senior Fellow of the Rethinking Capitalism Initiative at the University of California Santa Cruz.
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Abstract:  The recent financial crisis has exposed the extent to which the contemporary global economy is driven by credit. Yet credit is the obverse of debt, and where overspending threatens instability through an increasing debt spiral, austerity measures also threaten instability through reducing growth, also leading to an increasing debt spiral. Humanity is increasingly exposed to the force of money, which is created as debt with a given expiration date. Yet to place our credit or faith in the power of debt itself is to place faith in a world of shadows, in estimations of the value of things as perceived by others or market prices. Redemption from debt involves a restoration of our capacity to judge intrinsic values rather than mere prices.