Wednesday, October 05, 2005


A friend from the USA writes: "Lewis Lapham, my guru du jour, made an interesting observation in his monthly Harper's editorial that the 'media (are) busily minting images of corporate executives like those of the emperor heroes on the coins of ancient Rome.' It got me to thinking that he could have carried the analogy still further, since what they are paid is more on the scale of tribute than earned salary; and in practice they are the unelected leaders of society." More than that, the emperors were (are) also demi-gods, transforming religion from grace into mortgage and founding an economy of beneficiary-oriented obeisance.

All of which calls to mind John M. Hull's sharp and revealing research article, Bargaining with God: Religious development and economic socialization. As Hull, whose fine website I will return to later, says: "[I]t seems likely that in an intense money culture the ultimate reality of God will be confused with, and even displaced by, the ultimate reality of money. Bargaining appears to be a developmental stage in both economic socialisation and in the development of relationships with God, and, therefore, a study of the similarities between economic and religious bargaining offers a starting point for considering the impact of money upon the spiritual development of both children and adults." And at the heart of that mix, lets not forget, is the exchange value of the media.

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