Political Theology Today A Forum for inter-disciplinary and inter-religious dialogue among clergy, scholars, students, and activists

All posts tagged Capitalism

Residents of Dade County work electronic

A Revisionist Reading of the Midterm Elections, or the Unmentionable Contradictions of the New Knowledge Economy

One can read the results of the 2014 mid-term elections in the United States in terms of whatever dominant political inkblot they favor. The narrative of the American right-wing, of course, is that the resounding Republican victories at both the Congressional and gubernatorial levels constituted a resounding repudiation by the voters of the Obama administration’s policies and pari passu the much vaunted progressivist politics that seemed to have finally taken solid root in American political soil with the 2008 election.

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piketty_capital

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (1/2): A Rich New Resource on Inequality (Kate Ward)

Despite its intimidating size and scope, Capital has the potential to be extremely helpful to scholars and activists concerned with inequality, and I hope to convince at least a few readers of Political Theology Today to add it to their reading lists. Like all economic works, Capital makes claims about what is good for humans, human nature and motivations, and social justice.

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David-Brat

Christo-Capitalism or Capitalanity? David Brat’s Political Theology

David Brat’s upset of Eric Cantor in Virginia’s District Seven congressional race last week generated waves of buzz, with no small stir churning in the Christian blogosphere. Although political upstarts, especially those that identify as conservative Christians, always tend to create a storm of media buzz, the close attention to Brat is perhaps more justified than most. As I hope will become clear in this brief profile of Brat’s scholarship and political theology, Brat’s somewhat bewildering and seemingly idiosyncratic synthesis of theology and economics illustrates the tensions endemic to the increasingly-libertarian sectors of the Christian Right.

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government building

A response to the responses; or, A note of clarification about nudges, paternalism, and agency

We were happy to have received these provocative responses to our original piece, and appreciate the chance to extend the conversation. We hope that in what follows we adequately answer some of the concerns raised by professors Vallier, Boer, and Baker and Watson about our original essay, and advance discussion on two levels.

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Catholic Progressives

Book Preview – Catholic Progressives in England after Vatican II by Jay P. Corrin

This book examines the development of Catholic social philosophy from the end of World War II up through the turbulent 1960s. Vatican Council II can be seen as the culmination of the Catholic liberal or progressive tradition, the earlier history of which was the subject of my previous book Catholic Intellectuals and the Challenge of Democracy (2002). Thanks to the ground-breaking work of such Catholics as Jacques Maritain, Virgil Michel, Hans Küng, John Courtney Murray and others, there was in place by the calling of Vatican II a theological platform from which the Church could launch a progressive approach to the secular challenges of the modern age.

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Adam Smith

Adam Smith, Storyteller

Adam Smith’s skill was as a storyteller of the first order. It takes one a while to realize where his appeal lies. As many have noted, his Wealth of Nations is rambling, polemical, and rather cavalier with evidence. All this sits rather strangely with the popularity of his writing, both then and now. How to understand that appeal? We suggest it may be found not in any skill at constructing careful and detailed argument, but in his ability to tell stories.

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office cubicles

The Meaning of Work

There is a famous anecdote in which a man, after death, wakes up surrounded by all the pleasures of life: food, sex, and leisure. An angel approaches him and says “Welcome, enjoy all the pleasures you have ever wanted.” The man basks in all the pleasures available, but after a few weeks of uninterrupted ecstasy, he grows bored. So, the man approaches the angel and says “Is there anything I can do, any work?”

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The Man with the Hoe, by Jean-Francois Millet

John Locke, the Fall, and the Origin Myth of Capitalism

At the beginning of the fifth chapter of the second treatise of his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke writes:

It is very clear, that God, as king David says, Psal. cvx. 16, “has given the earth to the children of men;” given it to mankind in common. But this being supposed, it seems to some a very great difficulty how any one should ever come to have a property in any thing … I shall endeavour to show how men might come to have a property in several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and that without any express compact of all the commoners.[1]

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Dutch merchants

The Arminian Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

For the sake of the following argument, I would like to grant the premises of Max Weber’s idealist argument: religion and culture (superstructure) are causative agents in socio-economic change. As is well known, Weber argued that Calvinism acted as a crucial vanishing mediator for capitalism. It provided the cultural, behavioural and religious framework that enabled capitalism to establish itself and gain ground.

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strike-debt-better

Forgive Them Their Debts

It’s become something of a commonplace among commentators and critics on both ends of the political spectrum to declare the death of the Occupy movement, whose campaigns against social and economic injustice and political corruption began to garner international attention in mid-2011. Although the last of the movement’s higher profile encampments were shut down in early 2012, it would be a mistake to conclude that Occupy is no more.

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