“An important goal of the religion of money is to inculcate in society not only the spirit of greed, but also the spirit of consumerism. These are two sides of the same coin called capitalism. These are two heads of the “spirit of capitalism.” Any economist will tell you that the most “bottleneck” of the “market economy” is effective demand. I. e. demand, which is supported by money (and not just the need for a product or service). Therefore, in order for the capitalist economy to function smoothly and bring profit to capitalists, it is necessary to stimulate solvent demand in every possible way. And for this, in turn, it is necessary: a) to stimulate the desire to consume; b) to provide people with money for such consumption.”
Having developed in the people irrepressible thirst of consumption, capitalists managed to turn hired workers into “live robots”, “workaholics”, ready to work day and night to earn money and to satisfy this irrepressible thirst. If in the 19th century employees could arrange strikes, strikes and even uprisings, the “living robots” for the capitalists are safe. Their energy is sublimated not in the sphere of class struggle, but in the sphere of consumption.
However, even the most intensive work is not able to provide workers with enough money to satisfy the thirst for pleasure. It’s like running after your own shadow forever. In the West, the share of wages of employees in the gross product, despite all the attempts of “living robots”, is not growing, and recently there has even been a tendency to reduce it.
The capitalists found a way out in the fact that they began to increase the effective demand of the population at the expense of loans to workers. “Living robots” began to take consumer loans, falling into the debt trap. Many people in America today live in good homes, have several cars per family, their homes are equipped with all kinds of household appliances, etc. But, strictly speaking, they do not own anything: the amount of debt “household” (together with the accumulated interest) exceeds the value of all the property that the American family uses. Is obtained in the pure debt slavery. All this can be read in various books on the Economics and sociology of capitalism.
Thus, modern capitalism is based on the promotion of three main and interrelated passions: a) the thirst for wealth; b) the thirst for consumption; C) the thirst for credit. Accordingly, man was enslaved by wealth, things and debts.”
We can partially agree with the position of Katasonov, as humanity has always sought to obtain certain benefits, and the more inaccessible this benefit to others, the sweeter the possession. That is, a person is so eager to have wealth (which can open many doors and make available a lot) that he drives himself into a trap. This will undoubtedly spur a capitalist economy based on individual benefit and due to the expansion of demand.
Also refer to articles Valentin Katasonova “Capitalism as religion. Part I” and “Capitalism as religion. Part II” 2012: “Capitalism has all the signs of religion. In this Chapter we will try to justify it. First of all, let me remind you the definition of religion: “Religion (from lat. religio – piety, piety, Shrine, object of worship) – worldview and attitude, as well as appropriate behavior and specific actions (cult), which are based on the belief in the existence of (one or more) gods, “sacred”, ie, one or another kind of supernatural”.
Thus, any religion has five main features:
- appropriate behavior;
- specific actions (cult);
- the belief in the existence of gods (one or more) and the supernatural (“sacred”) is the belief that is the basis of the first four attributes.
Capitalism has all the above features and without any stretch can be called “religion”. We cannot agree with those who, observing the slow “dying” of traditional religions in the modern world, conclude that capitalism is turning into an atheistic society.
THE SECOND CIRCUIT AUTHORITY IN THE WEST AND CAPITALISM
The most important thing in any religion is the fifth sign. Capitalism as a religion is no exception. It is based on the belief in mammon – the God of wealth (money) and his miraculous power. Some authors who pay attention to modern capitalism as a spiritual phenomenon, to refer to the religion of capitalism use the terms associated with the name of its God: “religion of money”, “religion of mammon”, “mammonism”. If necessary, we will also use these alternative terms.
An important feature of capitalism as a religion is that it is an unofficial, de facto religion. It’s more convenient in every way. The legislation of most countries of the world provides a clear boundary between religious and secular (civil) life of society. The illegal status of the religion of money allows it to freely penetrate into all institutions of civil society, use them for their own purposes and subjugate them. Moreover, this status allows it to effectively infiltrate the Church institutions of other religions, also to act under the cover of such institutions, causing invisible and irreversible mutations of other religions, leading them to complete decline. In modern terms, the religion of money is much more “competitive” than traditional religions.
In addition to the main features of religion, capitalism has some other important features that are not included in the above list. For example, – the presence of the Church organization (of course, within the religion of money it exists de facto, not de jure and prefers not to call itself “Church”).
Consider first only the first indication of the specified religion – worldview compare with the worldview of Christianity. The worldview of any formed religion is expressed in the coined formulations of its dogmas. Recall that “religious dogmas (from Greek. dógma, genitive dógmatos – an opinion, doctrine, decree) is approved by the highest ecclesiastical authorities of the provisions of beliefs issued by the Church of absolute truth and cannot be criticized”.
In the religion of money such dogmas are many, they already exist as indisputable truths and axioms for several hundred years, recorded in different theories, doctrines, party programs, other political documents, constitutions and laws. For each dogma there are countless interpretations and comments in the form of “scientific” monographs and textbooks. A large number of state and non-state institutions ensure that the tenets of the religion of money are preserved in their “purity” and that no one dares in their personal and public life to deviate from their observance. All those who do not recognize and observe these dogmas in the West are outcasts and marginalized, not only deprived of social status, but also persecuted.
Let us focus on the four key tenets of the religion of money:
- The accumulation of wealth (capital) – the main purpose and meaning of human life.
- The above objective may be achieved by any means (“the end justifies the means”).
- Sanctity” of private property.
- Individualism as a principle of personal life.
The religion of money has a place in modern society, many seek to possess wealth, not how many of them desire to possess much because it gives perspective. That is, it is impossible to fully agree with the dogma of accumulation, since some people are engaged in investing “in themselves”, thereby developing an independent personality. The end justifies the means, this statement is deeply individual, since most people are not able to transcend the moral and ethical laws of society, formed long before capitalism and completely imprinted in culture. Capitalism is based on individual gain, which continuously spurs a person to obtain greater benefits, and in my opinion is quite justified, since competition and fear of losing weight in society, the main stimulants of man in modern society. This contributes to scientific development, the chance to be above others.
The first dogma: Wealth as the goal and meaning of life
The key word in this dogma is “wealth.” It is necessary to define the concept of “wealth”.
All the variety of definitions can be reduced to two:
- the presence of a (possession) of such person of the amount of benefits which exceeds his natural needs (wealth in the narrow sense);
- the presence of a (possession) of such person of the amount of benefits that exceeds the number of goods in the possession (the possession) of other people (wealth in the broad sense).
As you can see, “wealth” is a relative concept. From the point of view of Orthodoxy, any wealth is a manifestation of one or another sin or even several sins at once. Obviously, the key is the sin of greed (the sin of money-making is close to it). It was stated by the Apostle Paul: “for it is the root of all evil is the love of money” For the love of money follows a trail of other sins and passions. As John Chrysostom said, “the soul of the rich is full of all evils: pride, vanity, innumerable wishes, anger, rage, self-interest, untruth, and the like.”
The Holy fathers of the Church constantly warned against those spiritual dangers which for a Christian are fraught with wealth (the desire for wealth), contrasting poverty with wealth (including voluntary); also in Christianity, wealth is contrasted with prosperity, i.e. such an amount of goods that is sufficient to meet the vital needs of a person (the Christian’s choice of poverty or prosperity depends on the degree of his spiritual preparedness).
Wealth in the narrow sense is a manifestation of different carnal passions. A person suffering from such passions is not enough to satisfy the natural needs (food, clothing, shelter, warmth, etc.). He needs additional means in order to indulge in gluttony, drunkenness, fornication, or even just idleness and idleness and various amusements (which is a manifestation of many sins at the same time). Probably, that’s the kind of wealth talked two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Tim. 6: 9). About wealth in a narrow sense is very clearly stated in the gospel parable of the rich and Lazarus. The rich man, who had a good harvest in the field, was looking forward to receiving carnal pleasures for many years. Here are his words: “and I will say to my soul: soul! many goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry”.
Before capitalism there was also wealth (in the narrow sense)
Then wealth still somehow served as a person (despite all the tyrannical master of its “servants”). Under capitalism, everything was the opposite: man began to serve wealth. This feature drew attention to the already mentioned Max Weber: “Summamum bonum (the Highest good) of this ethics (Protestant ethics – VK) – primarily in profit with a complete rejection of the pleasure given by money, from all eudemonic or hedonistic moments; this profit is so much thought of as an end in itself that it becomes something transcendental and even simply irrational in relation to the “happiness” or “benefit” of the individual (emphasis mine – VK). Now is not the acquisitive serves man means of meeting his material needs, and man’s existence are aimed at acquisitive, which becomes the purpose of his life”. Capitalism is used to boast of its rationality, pragmatism, iron logic and methodical approach to solving any problems. And here even sympathetic to capitalism M. Weber absolutely true eye for its most important feature is the irrationality. Now is not the acquisitive serves man means of meeting his material needs, and man’s existence are aimed at acquisitive, which becomes his life’s purpose»
So, pride – a passion that knows no limits, eventually enslaving the person. First, a vain person wants to rise above others, seeking admiration and reverence from them. But this is not enough: imperceptibly the passion of pride grows into the passion of power. And the person begins on a long ladder of the power: extending this power on more and more wide circle of people (a limit – the power over the whole world), and also passing from the power economic to the power political and finishing with the power spiritual. But participation in this constant race for power requires more and more money. Thus, an additional “spring” of capital accumulation is included.
If we consider capitalism in the coordinates of socio-economic concepts, the desire for wealth and the passion of its increment is the ultimate goal of man. However, if we look at it from a spiritual point of view, we will see that wealth (capital) is only a means. The tool is designed to meet the sinful desires of carnal passions, the passions of pride, lust to rule over other people. And Christians know well that the source of all these passions is the one who opposes God and tries to fight him.
The second dogma: the ends justify any means
Capitalism from an economic point of view is a model of society, which is not programmed to create benefits, and their redistribution (production of goods can take place under capitalism, but by the criteria of profit is not the most effective way of enrichment; redistribution – much more effective). The word “redistribution” is a politically correct term for “scientific” monographs and textbooks. In fact, it is a banal robbery of a small group of people (capitalists) of all other members of society.
The funds used for such a robbery are divided into two groups:
- means based on direct (physical) violence;
- non-violent means (more precisely, means of indirect, indirect violence).
In the era of capitalism, the means of direct violence were mainly used. In history and Economics textbooks, this is called “initial capital accumulation.”
Specific means of such “accumulation»:
- “fencing” of peasant lands, i.e. forcible expulsion of peasants from their lands and turning them into paupers and lumpens (future “proletariat»);
- colonial policy (“the era of great geographical discoveries”), which was reduced to the robbery of the local population mastered colonies (of particular interest were gold and silver), the transformation of local residents into slaves, the seizure of vast territories with their natural resources, etc.;
- confiscation of Church lands and other Church property.
Since the initial accumulation of capital, the emphasis has been on the use of indirect violence. The essence of these methods is simple – the exploitation of employees, ie capitalists receive most of the product produced by these workers. Of course, exploitation has also been and remains violence, but without the use of weapons and the open killing of people. Such violence can be described as economic violence. However, economic violence necessarily implies the possibility of direct violence. Otherwise, employees will refuse to work in favor of the capitalist. Quite often, the threat of direct violence is practically realized (the fight against strikes, strikes and demonstrations of employees with the participation of the police or even the army).
Returning to the methods of indirect violence, the following specific methods of exploitation of employees should be mentioned:
- in the process of production (expropriation by the capitalists of most of the product produced by these workers);
- the sphere of circulation and credit (weaning of a part of the remaining product of labor by means of monopoly prices for consumer goods and services, by means of consumer loans in the form of loan interest, etc.).);
- through the tax system (payment of income and a number of other taxes, most of which are then redistributed through the budget system in favor of the capitalists).
Particular attention should be paid to such a “non-violent” method of robbery as the collection of interest on loans and credits – usury. Christianity has always been extremely negative about usury as one of the most disgusting forms of greed. To this it is worth adding that the first carriers of the “spirit of capitalism” were precisely moneylenders. The first form of capital, which originated long before the advent of Christianity in the world, was usury capital (Babylon). “The virus of usury” in the transformation of Christianity into a state religion for many centuries was suppressed thanks to the firm position of the Church.
Ultimately, the use of all methods of capital accumulation (all without exception!) means violation of the most important commandments of Christianity. First of all, the commandments “do Not steal.” Where capital is formed by direct violence, another commandment is broken – “thou shalt Not kill.” This commandment is also violated by the use of economic methods of capital accumulation: the capitalist’s withdrawal from an employee of most of the product produced by him often deprives the employee and his family of funds sufficient to meet vital needs, and this causes illness and premature death. However, often occur not only premature, but and instant death.
The third dogma: the “Sanctity” of private property
By and large, this dogma is derived from the first dogma. The acquisition of wealth is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the existence of a capitalist order. This wealth must be protected from attacks by other members of society. First of all – from the “plebs” (employees). It is also possible that the wealth of one capitalist is encroached upon by another capitalist.
Although of course the social ideal of Christian life is public property – that is, joint ownership of all property by all members of the Christian community. This stems from the common understanding of all Holy Fathers that God is the sole proprietor of everything in the world.
In the economic life of society it is necessary to distinguish two main types of real objects:
- those that are created by man, are the result of his work (agricultural products, mining and manufacturing, construction);
- those that God gave to man and which are not yet mediated by human labor (natural resources).
Regarding the legal status of the first type of objects, we have already given an explanation (it should be individual or collective labor property). With regard to the second type of objects, the position of Christianity is unambiguous – it is a common heritage, the heritage of people; such objects can only be in public (public) property, their privatization (transformation into private property) is not allowed.
Another (third) type of objects can be identified – those that, for objective economic, social and political reasons, can only be in common use; attempts to transfer such objects into private hands can pose a threat to the existence of the state and society. These are objects of economic and social infrastructure, military property, property of public administration, etc.
It is extremely important to emphasize that money also belongs to this category of objects.
The privatization of money as a medium of commodity exchange and of payments made for the purposes of converting them into capital undermines normal development of the economy and living standards of the community. But it is the privatization of money and the perversion of its functions that is the most important feature of modern capitalism, which, in fact, is built into one of the cornerstones of the religion of money. Consideration of this important independent dogma of the religion of money is beyond the scope of this work. It should be noted that the privatization of money and money circulation is out of sight of even the most discerning Christian critics of capitalism. Meanwhile, this is no less a threat to humanity than the privatization of natural resources.
Objects of the third type can be only in public (public) property. Here’s what I wrote, for example, a thousand years ago Symeon the New Theologian: “the world’s money (my italics – V. K.) and estates are common to all, as the light and the air we breathe, as dumb animals grazing in the fields, on the mountains and in all the land. In the same way, everything is common to all and is intended only for the use of its fruits, but by domination belongs to no one.”
In summary, we note that the institution of private property abhors Christianity for at least two reasons:
- this actually means the legalization of robberies and thefts committed by capitalists;
- this is the manifestation of individualism, which is the opposite of collectivism as a Christian ideal.
Dogma four: Individualism as a way of life
Individualism – largely identical to the concept of “egoism”; it permeates all aspects of personal and social life. It is well known that man is a social being. In Christianity, this social being, likening to its Creator, treats the surrounding people with love and mercy; brotherly love unites people into a single whole (family, commune, community, etc.). In the sphere of economic relations, this is manifested in mutual assistance, cooperation, collective (community) forms of ownership, production, distribution, based on the principles of justice, honesty and socio-economic equality.
Under capitalism , the opposite is true. There is a separation of people, the bonds of love and cooperation are broken, a person perceives others as “strangers”, excessively develops egoism (ego). Recall that “individualism” is about the word “individual”. The latter comes from the Latin individum, which means “indivisible”. It is meant that the smallest indivisible particle of society (atom of society) is the person (the analogy was taken by philosophers from the physical world; until recently it was considered, atom – “indivisible brick” of the universe). Thus, the transition from collectivism to individualism can be described as certain processes in the physical world: as the destruction of integral material objects first to the molecular level, and then the transformation of molecules into atoms. The analogue of the molecule in society is the family.
The individualist man begins to perceive other people as his enemies. In society begins to dominate the principle of homo homini lupus est (“man to man wolf”).
The flip side of egoism is the feeling of loneliness, generating despondency and despair. The famous German philosopher and culturologist Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) showed on the example of literary works of famous writers the loneliness of the Western man of Modern times: “Shakespeare’s Dramas are one continuous monologue. Even the dialogues, even the group scenes, give a sense of the monstrous inner distance that separates these people, each of whom speaks only to himself. Nothing can remove this mental remoteness.”
Individualism is not egoism in its purest form, it is the desire to improve oneself in the first place. That is, egoism is everything to me, everything to me, and individualism is for achieving its goal(achieving individual benefit), not a simple requirement. As the achievement of individual benefits, may prevent the same purpose of the other person, then each individualist can be considered an enemy, this rule is not universal, but very common. I think this is a good competition, which is the engine of global progress.
In the “religion of money” the main “economic dogma” is the installation on the acquisition of earthly goods by man, the accumulation of wealth; in Christianity – prosperity (in some cases – voluntary poverty); spiritual sources of capitalist possessions are numerous passions of man; Christian orientation to poverty or prosperity is dictated by the tasks of spiritual salvation of man;
In the “religion of money” the implementation of the main target setting (accumulation of wealth) involves the use of any means, and the most “effective” among them are those that are based on the use of human passions and vices (greed, pride, satisfaction of carnal lusts, passion for consumption, deception, murder, various forms of spiritual and moral violence, etc.); in Christianity, economic activity not only excludes the use of human passions and vices, but is considered as a means of spiritual salvation of man (through work as a creative activity);
In the “religion of money” is indisputable “dogma” about the “sanctity of private property»;
in Christianity, the social ideal is collective labor and social property;
In the “religion of money” the ideal of the socio-economic structure of human life is individualism, the separation of people and their struggle among themselves (in the sphere of economy – competition); in Christianity – collectivism and communal forms of life (in the sphere of economy – cooperation and mutual assistance).
In the economic ethics of Christianity, the key principle is man’s struggle with sin and passions as a condition of personal salvation and the organization of such a method of management that facilitates salvation to all (the realization of the commandment of love). In the economic ethics of capitalism, the emphasis has always been on the use of the sinful nature of man, the exploitation of his passions. Previously, his ideologists made attempts to elevate capitalism in the face of society, to present it as a carrier of some Christian “ideals” (of course, perverted beyond recognition). In our opinion, this can explain the unusual popularity of max Weber’s book “Protestant ethics and the spirit of capitalism”. After all, its author tried to show that the carriers of the “spirit of capitalism” still guided by Christian ideals (just these ideals differed from the generally accepted at that time ideas). Weber has seen a certain heroization of these “pioneers” of capitalism. So the book of Weber has quite obvious ideological “charge” (despite the fact that in academic circles it is considered to be an unsurpassed example of “objective”, “unbiased” sociological science).
Here is just one example. In 1999 we published in Russian translation the book of German authors “Principles of ethical economy”. One of the sections of the book is called: “Private Vices – Public Benefits (private vices – for the benefit of society) – good as an external effect.” In the title itself, the main thesis of Western “researchers”is very frankly formulated. It is a crazy idea to try to build a strong and rich society on the Foundation of sins and vices!
Thus, capitalism as a “religion of money” and Christianity not only do not coincide in their understanding of man and society, but are directly opposite to each other, are mutually exclusive worldviews.
Thus, capitalism as a “religion of money” and Christianity not only do not coincide in their understanding of man and society, but are directly opposite to each other, are mutually exclusive worldviews.
About the opposite spoke and wrote the Holy Fathers of the first centuries of Christianity – especially John Chrysostom and Symeon the New Theologian. Although in those days capitalism as a social system did not exist, but the “virus of capitalism” was present in the souls of people and even then threatened society. Here are the words of John Chrysostom: “love of Money revolted the whole universe, everything led to disorder, it removes us from the blessed service to Christ: for you can not, – he says, – God of work and mammon (Matt. 6:24), for mammon demands the very opposite of Christ. Christ says: give to the needy, and mammon: take away from the needy. Christ says: be humane and meek, and mammon on the contrary: be cruel and inhuman, consider not the tears of the poor.
I would like to stress once again that John Chrysostom saw a fundamental incompatibility between the “religion of money” and Christianity back in the days when capitalism was in a state of “dormant” virus”.
Capitalism has exposed the essence of a man who is not covered by religion
Christianity stops progress by paying attention to the past. Do not forget what sacrifices it brings. That is, it is impossible to oppose the religion of money and Christianity. Each of them has its victims.
Today in the West the process of converting Christianity into a religion of money is almost complete. Here Christ himself became only a “brand that does not need advertising”, but behind it the Jewish Protestant sects hid the worship of mammon. An example of this is the sect of the movement “gospel of Prosperity” in which “Bishop” Jordan inspires “Prophetology is a window to Paradise. The school of Economics is a miracle of materialization. Your thoughts determine your money. Money is your friends
The religion of money is not fully, in my opinion, can be considered a religion, since many of the capitalists and individualists can not perceive money as a deity, since the desire for wealth in their eyes should bring them closer to this status.