This is a blog about economics and spirituality: So, what do the IMF and the Vatican have in common?

28 07 2008

By Economicsfairy

Correct: Old white men tell everybody how the world works and what individuals and societies as a whole have to do in order to survive (in this world or the one still to come). I don’t want to go as far as to claim that economics is not a proper science, but i.e. even the IMF and the World Bank start to realize that their simple free markets blueprint didn’t really work in many countries (or worse, was detrimental), so might not have been grounded on thorough research, but rather on ideology:

 

We believe that this is the right way for everybody – and so it must be!

 

Fortunately, the IMF doesn’t come along with swords and axes like the crusaders in the Middle Ages, but for some of the countries that were very badly affected by the so-called “structural adjustment programmes” the difference may not be that big … Indian farmers committed suicide because of the economic pressure.

 

Certain people always tried to rule the world, be it via religious belief systems, political ideology or (most common today) economic power (and certain economic models (that don’t leave much room for the poor of this world). And there is always some kind of “big story” involved, some kind of narrative, model, belief, worldview … that serves the interests of the people in power.

 

Monty Python films ridicule this idea of “meta-stories” or “meta-narratives”, whether in religion or in politics. I think that economics could go down the same road if it does not allow for a constant reality-check. The economic/political meta-narratives of our time are: globalisation is good for everyone (“in the long run”), trade liberalisation is good for everyone, privatization is always better, Western democracy is the best model for every country (and the USA knows how to implement it), everybody is per se egoistic and a “utility maximizer”, everything needs to be assessed in terms of usefulness and rationality, money makes you happy, more money makes you happier ….

 

Okay, a bit exaggerated, but I think you get the idea: Since more and more churches are being converted into pubs – and priests had to give up their monopoly on story-telling: What kind of stories are we told these days? Who benefits from them?

 

And do we believe them?
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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