Davos

As the 2014 Davos World Economic Forum kicks off this week, it’s worth recalling Adrian Pabst’s 2012 plea to our global leaders. The main problem is that,

Locally and globally there is an inchoate sense that big business and big government have colluded at the expense of the people. Both states and markets are disembedded from society. Interpersonal relationships are replaced by coercive laws and commercial contracts.

Pabst argues that we are beyond the level of mere moral outrage; we are now experiencing heresy:

The capitalist economy redefines the sacred in ways that destroy the sanctity of life and land. Capital, which is disembedded from social relations and civic bonds, sunders material objects from their moral meaning and symbolic significance. This also has the effect of separating responsibility from both risk-taking and reward.

So what is to be done? As Pabst makes clear, a good start as any is begin rethinking the economic foundations of the world’s religions:

Amid the moral crisis of global capitalism, Christianity and other world religions offer some of the most transformative ideas and practices. Faiths enjoin their followers to impose ethical and civic limits on the activity of businesses. The prohibition of gambling and usurious interests rates are not merely matters of private choice but must be applied to global finance in the public interest.

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