Saturday, November 8, 2014

Problems with Neoliberalism

A religious sister columnist in View from the Ark introduces us to Jung Mo Sung a lay theologian who emigrated to Brazil from Korea in 1966 and is well known as a liberation theologian. He is a disciple of Franz Hinkelammert and Hugo Assmann who have influenced, she says, Pope Francis in the way he sees society. She reflects on a lecture she heard delivered by Jung Mo Sung.

Liberation theology shows the idolization of money.The fundamental problem with capitalism is the greed with which it is associated. Professor Sung  says the neoliberalism has entered our way of thinking and she was in sympathy with the way the professor examined and listed the problems associated with capitalism. She was familiar with neoliberalism but not with any depth.

From the time we get up in the morning what we see and hear incites our greed. Many go to the shopping centers not for what they need, but to satisfy their desires: others have it and we want it. We have not fully discovered the possibilities of our i phone 5 but we want to possess the new i phone 6. The catalyst that advances our capitalistic system is the desire to imitate. The financial system of the neoliberalism has entered deep into our lives and transformed itself into a religion. The shopping malls become elegant church buildings and the market transforms into a religion.

Religion is directed to the everlasting life. Churches say this is something we will achieve after death. But neoliberalism tempts us to believe that we will have it here and now. Everything we would ever want is here, now. The almighty market will be able to do everything for us. The present economic system is fostering problems between the rich and the poor. God of the market is being monopolized by a few and is making the life of the poor more difficult.

Neoliberalism is using sacrifice to put our minds at rest. "Without sacrifice we will not have salvation," which justifies the sacrifices that the poor have to make. The logic of competition accepts the  sacrifice of the poor as a necessary step. The poor become the sacrificial lamb for those who want to make an earthly paradise.

We have the freedom to determine what kind of life we choose to live. Who are we going to use as a model to follow?  Many choose to be rich as the idol to follow, which can't help but challenge the Christian, who follows our Lord.  Daily our cravings are provoked and Jesus continues to affirm: "No one can serve two masters; he will hate the one and love the other (Matt. 6:24).          

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