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The enchantments of Mammon : how capitalism became the religion of modernity

McCarraher, Eugene2019
"Far from displacing religions, as has been supposed, capitalism became one, with money as its deity. Eugene McCarraher reveals how Mammon ensnared us and how we can find a more humane, sacramental way of being in the world. If socialists and Wall Street bankers can agree on anything, it is the extreme rationalism of capital. At least since Max Weber, capitalism has been understood as part of the "disenchantment" of the world, stripping material objects and social relationships of their mystery and sacredness. Ignoring the motive force of the spirit, capitalism rejects the awe-inspiring divine for the economics of supply and demand. The author challenges this conventional view. Capitalism, he argues, is full of sacrament, whether or not it is acknowledged. Capitalist enchantment first flowered in the fields and factories of England and was brought to America by Puritans and evangelicals whose doctrine made ample room for industry and profit. Later, the corporation was mystically animated with human personhood, to preside over the Fordist endeavor to build a heavenly city of mechanized production and communion. By the twenty-first century, capitalism has become thoroughly enchanted by the neoliberal deification of "the market." Informed by cultural history and theology as well as economics, management theory, and marketing, The Enchantments of Mammon looks to nineteenth-century Romantics for salvation. The Romantic imagination favors craft, the commons, and sensitivity to natural wonder. It promotes labor that, for the sake of the person, combines reason, creativity, and mutual aid. McCarraher makes the case that capitalism has hijacked and redirected our intrinsic longing for divinity--and urges us to break its hold on our souls."
Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019.
xii, 799 pages ; 25 cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Part one. The dearest freshness deep down things: capitalist enchantment in Europe, 1600-1914: About his business: the medieval theological economy, the Protestant theology of "improvement," and the emergence of capitalist enchantment -- The god among commodities: Christian political economy, Marx on fetishism, and the power of money in bourgeois society -- The poetry of the past: Romantic anti-capitalism and the sacramental imagination -- Part two. A hundred dollars, a hundred devils: Mammon in America, 1492-1870: Errand into the marketplace: the Puritan covenant theology of capitalism -- The righteous friends of Mammon: evangelicals, Mormons, slaveholders, and the proprietary dispensation -- Glows and glories and final illustriousness: transcendentalism, the religion of the slaves, and the romantic imagination in antebellum America -- Part three. The mystical body of business: the corporate reconstruction of capitalist enchantment, 1870-1920: God gave me my money: the incorporation of America and the persistence of evangelical enchantment -- The soulful corporation: corporate fetishism and the incorporation of enchantment -- Blazers of the one true way: corporate humanism, management theory, and the mechanization of communion -- The spirit of the thing: advertising and the incorporation of the beatific vision -- Modern communion: corporate liberalism and imperialist eschatology -- Part four. The beloved commonwealth: visions of cooperative enchantment, 1870-1920: The producers' jeremiad: the populist reformation of the covenant theology -- The cross is bending: the socialist jeremiad and the covenant theology -- The priesthood of art: anarchism, arts and crafts, and the reenchantment of the world -- Another kingdom of being: the crisis of metaphysical experience and the search for passionate vision -- Part five. The heavenly city of Fordism: enchantment in the machine age, 1920-1945: Business is the soul of America: the new capitalism and the business millennium -- The American century and the magic kingdom: mythologies of the machine age -- A new order and creed: human relations as Fordist moral philosophy -- Beauty as the new business tool: advertising, industrial design, and the enchantments of corporate modernism -- Part six. Predicaments of human divinity: critics of Fordist enchantment, 1920-1945: The mysticism of numbers: postwar enthusiasm for technocracy -- Secular prayers and impieties: the cultural front as migration of the holy -- Small is beautiful: the religion of small property and Lewis Mumford's Novum organum -- Human divinity: F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Agee, and the son of God -- Part seven. One vast and ecumenical holding company: the prehistory of neoliberal enchantment, 1945-1975: God's in his heaven, all's right with the world: the political economy of containment and the economic theology of the Cold War consensus -- Machines of loving grace: auguries of the counterculture -- The new testament of capitalism: the resurgence of evangelical enchantment and the theology of neoliberalism -- The statues of Daedalus: post-materialism and the failure of the liberal imagination -- To live instead of making history:Herbert Marcuse, Norman O. Brown, and the romantic eschatology of immanence -- Heaven which exists and is everywhere around us: the sacramental vision of postwar utopians.
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