Monday, July 25, 2011

Of Neoclassical Economic Theology

Philip Pilkington laments the success of neoclassical economic theology in our modern financial discourse.
The neoclassical paradigm offers its adherents a very attractive theology. It allows them to look at the world through a remarkably powerful set of rose-tinted glasses. It assures them that everything is okay – provided regulators and Sinners don’t get into positions of power – and that order and harmony will be established by an over-arching, quasi-external power. It gives its adherents a being that they can, in a very real sense, worship. It gives them a moral code that they can follow and that they can use to justify their actions, even when these appear to an external observer as being disgusting, idiotic and objectionable.

Perhaps this last point is the key one. The most dangerous personality trait of dogmatic religious devotees is their ability to insist that their extreme views are pure truth and that any action they undertake, no matter how destructive and stupid, are always already sanctioned by a higher power.

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