Some excerpts from a scintillating review article by Eugene McCarragher ‘Love is Stronger that Debt’ in Books and Culture, May/June 2013. Reviewing David Graeber, Debt: The first 5000 Years and Simon Critchley, The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology. McCarrahger is writing The Enchantment of Mammon: Capitalism and the American Moral Imagination.
And his words about the American Plutocracy equally apply to the European elites’ ruthless self-protection at the expense of the plebs. Just ask the Cypriots.
“ If the last five years of American politics have demonstrated anything, it’s that Marx’s dictum about the modern state couldn’t be more indisputable: our government is the executive for the common affairs of the bourgeoisie. Now, more than ever, our liberal democracy is a corporate franchise, and the stockholders are demanding an ever-higher return on the investment in America, Inc. Over the last four decades, the Plutocracy as decided to repeal the 20th century, to cancel the gains and protections won by the workers, the poor, and others outside the imperial aristocracy of capital …
.. The Plutocracy’s beatific vision for the mass of Americans is wage servitude: a fearful, ever-busy, and cheerfully abject pool of human resources. Rendered lazy and recalcitrant by a half-century of mooching, American workers must be forced to be free: crush labor unions, keep remuneration low, cut benefits and lengthen working hours, close or narrow every avenue of escape or repose from accumulation. If they insist on living like something more than the whining, expendable widgets they are, reduce them to a state of debt peonage with an ensemble of financial shackles: mortgages, credit cards, and student loans, all designed to ensure that the wage slaves utter two words siren-sweet to business: “Yes boss.” …
Alas, we’re are living in the early, bewildering days of the demise of the American Empire, the beginning of the end of that obsession-compulsion known as a the American Dream….
… Don’t expect any breadth or grandeur from the Empire’s Christian divines. Across the board, the imperial chaplains exhibit the most obsequious deference to the Plutocracy, providing imprimaturs and singing hallelujahs for the civil religion of Chrapitalism: the lucrative merger of Christianity and Chapitalism, American’s most enduring covenant theology. It’s the core of “American exceptionalism,” the sanctimonious and blood-spattered of providential anointment for global dominion. In the Chrapitalist gospel, the rich young man goes away richer, for God and mammon have pooled their capital, formed a bi-theistic investment group, and laundered the money in baptismal fonts before parking it in offshore accounts. Chrapitalism has been America’s distinctive and gilded contribution to religion and theology, a delusion that beloved community can be built on the foundations of capitalist property. As the American Empire wanes, so will its established religion; the erosion of Chrapitalism will generate a moral and spiritual maelstrom ….
… the God of Jesus Christ has no business sense at all, and violates every canon of the Protestant Ethic. He pays the same wage for one hour of work as for ten, and recommends that we lend without thought of return. (Finance capital could not survive a day with this logic, which is one excellent reason to recommend it.) He’s an appallingly lavish and undiscriminating spendthrift, sending his sunshine on the good and the evil. He has a soft spot for moochers and the undeserving poor: his Son was always inviting himself into people’s homes, and never asking if the blind man deserved to be cured. How can you run a decent economy this way?”