Global crisis: The soul of man under capitalism
24 September 2009
On the day the G20 summit opens in Pittsburgh, author Jeremy Seabrook in the Guardian argues that in order to solve global problems such as climate change and the economic crisis, we need to escape our market-driven definition as greedy individuals.
The global imagery of capitalist plenty has long ago been usurped, not only by other visions of an earthly paradise, but also other versions of prosperity. Capitalist ideology has ceased to be abstract theory and is made tangible in every object of desire set before us. At the same time, in this promiscuous spillage of commodities, a whole moral universe is implicit.
Puritans and moralists sometimes identify consumerism, the bonus culture, the acquisitive society, live-now-pay-later philosophy as "greed". But these, like all other sins and vices, have been recast by the altered moral order. Many of what were regarded as human failings have been transformed into economic virtues. Covetousness has become ambition, envy now reappears as a manifestation of a healthy competitive spirit, gluttony is only a natural desire for more and lust a necessary expression of our deepest human reality. Temptation is no longer an impulse to be resisted: it is our duty to yield to it in the name of that most exalted of purposes, "consumer confidence". Read full article in the Guardian...