By Robert H. Nelson
An insightful exploration of the strong position that monetary trust performs in our smooth society as an earthly faith that serves a number of the similar capabilities as early Christian and different religions did of their time.
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Additional info for Economics As Religion: From Samuelson to Chicago and Beyond
The prophesies of economics would then be a substitute for the traditional messages of the Bible. Perhaps the biblical God has reconsidered. Perhaps, instead of Jesus, he has now chosen economists to be a new bearer of his message, replacing the word of the Old and New Testaments that has now become outdated for the modern age—as Islam advertised the Koran as a later and more accurate statement of God’s real plans for the world. Perhaps God has decided that the underlying ordering forces of the world, the ultimate reality that will shape the future outcome of history, will truly be economic.
Since Economics has had sixteen editions, it is a bit misleading to speak of it as one book. 30 It was the publication of this edition in 1948, and its almost immediate success, that set the stage for not only Samuelson’s subsequent efforts but also those of other introductory textbook writers in economics. At the same time a new school of economics based at the University of Chicago took center stage in American intellectual life. It was not a coincidence, as I will argue below, that Chicago replaced Cambridge as the focal point for American economics.
In Christian theology the twin coercive instruments of government and property are both products of the fallen condition of mankind in this world since the Garden of Eden, and in heaven neither will exist. Secular religion,as this example shows,can follow remarkably closely in the path of Judeo-Christian religion. Marx thus is best understood not fundamentally as an economist at all, but as another Jewish messiah—like Jesus—with another message of salvation for the world. If the message of Jesus had conquered the Mediterranean and European world, the Marxist gospel in the twentieth century would spread over Russia, China, and many other nations—to billions of people throughout the globe.