Market theology

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

15 October 2013

“Do others, for they would do you”

This is the central tenet of market theology. A market transaction involves one party trying to enrich themselves by impoverishing another. Competition between human beings is the sacred mantra. By definition, some will gain in a competition and some will lose. As far as the losers are concerned, well, that’s just too bad. Social Darwinism rules, OK? The fittest alone will survive. Market economics glorifies greed as the indispensable driver of human progress. This is to take a vice and spin it as a virtue. Human beings deserve better than to be fettered to an economic ideology based on vice. Apart from being an immoral and inefficient method of tapping human potential, such a focus on individual economic prowess inevitably leads to disputes, conflict and war. War is economics by other means.

We do not think that market economics is a satisfactory basis for conducting economic relations between human beings. Nor do we think it is the only show in town. Market apologists like to portray the market as an inevitable part of life like the air we breathe or the water we drink. They want us to think of capitalism as being part of the wallpaper, an immutable feature of economic activity.  It’s just there, like it or not, and we’d better get used it. The fact is, however, that you can change the wallpaper – and that’s precisely what we propose.

In opposition to the market’s glorification of selfishness and callous unconcern for the fate of others, we support an economy based on cooperation. Human beings are all in it together. Every human being has an equal right to food, shelter, health and happiness. Compared with the time-line of the universe out there, humans don’t live very long. They might as well muck in together for the short time they are around. In our view, the overall economic benefits of pulling together overshadow any putative advantages claimed for a system based on competition.  The market economy brings material wealth to the few at the expense of the many. It is biased from the start in favour of the rich – those who already possess an unfair share of the earth’s wealth. It follows, moreover, that apologists for the market are also champions of the gross economic inequality,  devastating poverty and untold human misery that flow from it.

Instead, we support a democratically approved and democratically regulated economy based on the following precept formulated by Karl Marx in his 1875 “Critique of the Gotha Programme”: “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!” (From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs!). And Marx is not alone. You could not slip a tobacco paper between what the Communist philosopher is recommending and the ethical preachings of many of the world’s major religions. See, for example, chapter 7, verse 12, of the Gospel according to St Matthew:

Πάντα οὖν ὅσα ἂν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς· οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται

Textus Receptus Graecus of 1550 edited by Robertus Stephanus (Robert Estienne)

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

King James Authorized Version of 1611 (a translation into English based on the Greek text by Stephanus)


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.


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