I'm writing about the Northern Rock crisis and responses to it at the moment. The need for a radical re-conception of dominant economic modes is highlighted by the New Economics Foundation, The Christian Council for Monetary Justice, the work of Richard Douthwaite, and Peter Selby's book Grace and Mortgage, among other sources. Meanwhile, I look forward to Philip Goodchild's forthcoming book (October 2007) The Theology of Money, summarised below. (My own modest contribution is a research paper called Is God bankrupt?)
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.
Philip Goodchild came to prominence as one of the earliest generation of scholars of Deleuze, and he has also made a significant contribution to Continental philosophy of religion with two edited volumes, Rethinking Philosophy of Religion, 2002 and Difference in Philosophy of Religion, 2003. His major monograph, Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety, 2002 was described by one academic journal as ‘a defining book of the decade’. This book develops these ideas further.