Monday, August 25, 2014

Money Wisdom #293

Benjamin likens capitalism not simply to religion per se, but more specifically, to a cult: capitalism is a ‘purely cultic religion’, he says, ‘perhaps the most extreme that ever existed’ (Benjamin 1996a: 288). A cult is an emaciated religion: it lacks a proper theology, cannot answer questions of ultimate value, and offers only superficial comforts. A true theology would promise redemption: forgiveness, an encounter with God, resolution of life’s underlying tensions. A cult offers only distractions: it is closed and inward looking, everything is drawn back into its nexus of value – ‘things have a meaning only in their relationship to the cult’ (Benjamin 1996a: 288) – while every action and every deed is assigned a rating in its shallow moral economy (Hamacher 2002: 87). A cult offers ritual, but not transcendence. Capitalism is such a cult.

Nigel Dodd Nietzsche's Money in Journal of Classical Sociology 13(1) p. 55 (2012) (link)

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