Our Religion Of Economism Is Bankrupt
Brian E. Konkol Chaplain of the College at Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minn.)
<...In the midst of it all, our collective and blind faith in the divine-like invisible hand remains strong, and we relate to it like an omnipotent deity that must be piously and repeatedly praised and pleased. As a result, one can persuasively argue that we are increasingly “Economistic”, as production and consumption has become our communal worship, because rising gross domestic product is our salvation, the market is our god, and “Economism” is now our most popular and prosperous religious practice.
Economism, a term coined by Joel Kassiola in 1990 and later used by Paul Ekins and Manfred Max-Neef in 1992, is our most organized and flourishing popular religion. As theologian John B. Cobb wrote at the turn of our current century, religion is ultimatley “whatever binds the multiple aspects of human existence together”, and faithfulness to the holy creeds of economism redefines citizens into consumers and affirms competition as the defining characteristic of all human interactions. In doing so, Economism requires people as homo economus to believe that economic growth will somehow directly solve any and all of our most pressing problems, and ultimately, provide the resources needed to pursue any and all of our most important values. The dogmas of economism require, both directly and indirectly, that the structures and systems we set are all designed in such a way that our faithfulness is judged primarily in financial terms, as if our deliverance is somehow determined by whether or not the invisible hand is worshipped and pleased. Our ultimate concern, therefore - especially in times of difficulty - becomes a narrowly and erroneously defined notion of public health and personal wellbeing, and our prayers are most zealously offered to the real god of our communal devotion: the almighty market.>