Eugene McCarraher’s new book, The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity, offers a different rendering of our modern age—one in which the mysteries and sacraments of religion were transferred to the way we perceive market forces and economic development.
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”
We talk with historian Eugene McCarraher about the myths and rituals of the market, the lost radicalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the rise of neoliberalism.
by Daniel Jenkins edited by O Society October 13, 2019
One would be hard-pressed to find a form of modern rationalism more extreme than capitalism. The laws of supply and demand and the commodification of goods like health and education strip away the mystery and sense of sacredness once a vital part of human life. Capitalism, Marx observed, tears asunder “all fixed, fast-frozen relations” and “drowns the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor…in the icy water of egotistical calculation.” It wrings…
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