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A Religion Called Economy

A Religion Called Economy

The idea that religions are giving way to a more advanced human level of existence is part of common knowledge. Science and technology are emancipating humankind from mythical and religious discourses under the effect of the belief that only rationality should guide us. Reason has replaced the old God.

Nietzsche, more than a century ago, warned that God was dead and that we had killed him. Nowadays a spectre wanders in our societies: it is nihilism, a consequence of God’s death. What is it? According to Nietzsche, it consists in the “devaluation of all values,” including the sacred ones on which the Western civilization was founded.

“What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism.  This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here.  This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now.  For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect”. (Nietzsche, Unpublished notes, 1887-1888)

It is not necessary for a God to be transcendent. A consequence of the secularization of society is a new, immanent, God: it is now called “Economy”. No longer “intra-world ascesis” (Max Weber) and will of salvation; oikonomos (in greek, “home care”) has become the only concern of humans. This necessity had been growing over the centuries, starting already with the Renaissance when the growth of global commerce started the process that would lead, today, to a planetary commercial machine generating billions or even trillions of monetary, computerized transactions every second.

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Olduvai II: Exodus
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