Friday, March 04, 2022

The lust of the eyes

In light of the apocalypse, the church can at least be honest about the shortcomings of neoliberal capitalism. As Hart writes, “It eventuates in a culture of consumerism, because it must cultivate a social habit of consumption extravagantly in excess of mere natural need or even (arguably) natural want. It is not enough to satisfy natural desires; a capitalist culture must ceaselessly seek to fabricate new desires, through appeals to what 1 John calls ‘the lust of the eyes.”’ Furthermore, “A capitalist society not only tolerates, but positively requires, the existence of a pauper class, not only as a reserve of labor value, but also because capitalism relies on a stable credit economy, and a credit economy requires a certain perennial supply of perennial debtors. . . . The perpetual insolvency of the working poor and lower middle class is an inexhaustible font of profits for the institutions upon which the investment class depends.”— Naming Neoliberalism: Exposing the Spirit of Our Age, 111

<idle musing>
I recall hearing the story of a US company opening a factory in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of the first month, the workers received their check and didn't come back to work. When asked why not, they replied they had earned more than enough for the rest of the year. At a loss, the company brainstormed how to get them to work. One brilliant person suggested giving them a Sears catalog. After looking at all the bobbles and bits in the catalog, the workers not only came back, but asked for overtime in order to obtain what a few months before they didn't even know existed.

Basically, they ruined their lives. I don't know if the story is true, but it rings true. The first time I heard it, I wept inside and asked God's forgiveness on behalf of the US's blatant sin toward those people.
</idle musing>

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