Wednesday, 22 October 2008

A new book on the theology of money

A very timely book on The Theology of Money by Philip Goodchild has been published by SCM Press. You can read the first chapter here and the introduction here.
Goodchild is Professor of Religious Studies at Nottingham University.

This philosophical and theological study of the nature and role of money in the contemporary world comes from one of the UK’s most renowned philosophers. By contrast to the received wisdom of economics that money is a passive object of human invention and control – an instrument of exchange and a measure of value – this work explores the significance of money as a social contract and therefore as a dynamic social force within the global economy. Goodchild examines the theory of money in a comparable manner to Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Georg Simmel. However by contrast to the conclusions of these thinkers, he proposes that money is essentially created in excess of reserves, making it a simultaneous credit and debt. Since money is a debt that must be repaid with interest in the form of money, then the creation of money imposes a social demand for an increase in profit and an increase in the creation of money in order to repay debt. This vicious circle drives the expansion of the global economy. In summary, Goodchild argues that money is a promise, a supreme value, a transcendent value and an obligation or a law. He argues that money has taken the place of God. It is the dominant global religion in practice, even if no one believes in it in principle.

So when will I have time to read all these books I keep learning about??