Economics

David Bentley Hart on ‘America’

Gustave Doré - Pantagruel's meal (1854).jpg

‘America — with its decaying infrastructure, its third-world public transit, its shrinking labor market, its evaporating middle class, its expanding gulf between rich and poor, its heartless health insurance system, its mindless indifference to a dying ecology, its predatory credit agencies, its looming Social Security collapse, its interminable war, its metastasizing national debt and all the social pathologies that gave it a degenerate imbecile and child-abducting sadist as its president — remains the only developed economy in the world that believes it wrong to use civic wealth for civic goods. Its absurdly engorged military budget diverts hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the public weal to those who profit from the military-industrial complex. Its plutocratic policies and libertarian ethos are immune to all appeals of human solidarity. It towers over the world, but promises secure shelter only to the fortunate few’.

– David Bentley Hart, ‘The New York Yankees Are a Moral Abomination’. The New York Times, 14 July 2018.

[Image: Gustave Doré, ‘Pantagruel’s meal’ (1854)]

Some Recent Watering Holes

croft-shutmouthscream-detail-2016

Brenda L. Croft, ‘shut/mouth/scream’ (detail), 2016. Source

 

I haven’t posted one of these for a while. Here are a number of pages I’ve appreciated visiting this past week or so:

And this:

Thoughts in the Presence of Fear

What Wendell said.

Eucharist and the politics of power

‘The church expresses a corporate existence where divine agency interacts with human affairs, and such an interaction nurtures, that is to say gives life and shape to, the ecclesial body … [A] theopolitics of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist is rooted not exclusively in power, but, in a more primary sense, in divine caritas, which is expressed with a radical gesture of kenosis, reciprocity, and concrete communal practices. This is not to say that power is herein dismissed, or that the Eucharist is a sign of disempowerment. There is a politics of power here. Yet it is a power that integrates plenitude of desire; it is the paradoxical force of sacrifice on the cross; it is the humble power of bread broken into pieces for the purpose of sharing; it is the washing of feet that means a life of service to one another; it is the power of giving one’s life for the other. In other words, this is the theopolitical power of caritas, where the extraordinary embraces and transfigures the ordinary: God’s “sovereignty disclosed at the breaking of the bread,” as Samuel Wells remarks’. – Angel F. Méndez Montoya, The Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 115–6.

A Creed for Modern Times

GreedAndrew Bradstock is Howard Paterson Professor of Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago, Dunedin. He recently (5 August 2009) delivered a public lecture at the University of Auckland’s School of Theology titled ‘Profits Without Honour?: Economics, spirituality and the current global recession’. I love his opening:

We believe in one Market, the Almighty,
Maker of heaven on Earth,
Of all that is, priced and branded,
True growth from true growth,
Of one being with the Economy.
From this, all value is added.

We believe in Deregulation, once and for all,
The only way to prosperity.
For us and for our salvation,
Reagan and Thatcher were elected
And were made gods.
In their decade they legislated
To take away our economic sins.
They were crucified by the Liberal Media,
But rose again, in accordance with their manifestos.
They ascended in the polls
And are seated at the right hand of Milton Friedman.

We believe in the Invisible Hand,
The giver of economic life.
It has spoken through our profits.
It proceeds from the Law of the Deregulated Market,
And with the Market is worshipped and glorified.

We believe in one Globalised Economy.
We believe in one key business driver
For the increase in Gross Domestic Product.
We acknowledge one bottom line
For the measurement of wealth.
We look for the resurgence of executive compensation packages
And the life of the financial years to come.

Amen.