Walter Benjamins 1921 formed fragment "Capitalism as a religion" Reads like an adaquate description of the opposite crisis. Capitalism as a sacularized religion – Part 3
The perception of the capital ratio as a religion, as a fetishistic vapor cult, is not new. In particular, those enhanced in Sudamerika "Theology of the liberation" criticized "The market as Gotzen and neoliberal capitalism as a salutory teaching and vapor cult", How the Theologian Heribert Bottcher formulated. In response to the neoliberal revolution in the 80s of the 20. For the century, the liberation theology toked to the biblical distinction between the Christian "God of liberation" and the "Gotzen of death" which is identified, which is spelled to the totality of worthy capital ratio.
Part 2: Ora et Labora
In response to the depth crisis of the capitalist system in the 70s of the 20. Century (the end of the "Golden age" Capitalism and the rise of neoliberalism) went to neoliberalism in an offensive over, in which system principles were spelled into extremely driven. Everything becomes goods, all of the divisions are subjected to the laws of the capitalist market, all people have to spend their lives in continuing capitalist self-optimization. The capital fetish now does not tolerate any alternative reproduction forms, no non-capitalist niches more besides himself.
This market-mediated total ratio of the capital ratio, which has been driven into extremely in response to its everlasting crisis, have this to one "all determining reality" make. This term acts in "The pluralistic religion theory … as a preamble for the God", Like BoTcher based on a thesis of the theologian Thomas Ruster:
No longer Christianity, but capitalism reproduces the religious experience of one "all determining reality" and become the religion of society. Capitalism he understands [Ruster, T.K.] as the exchange of goods mediated by money. His self-purpose is the multiplication of the money. The money replaces God and becomes "all determining reality".
The capital cult in the extremely geared capital cult in response to its deep system crisis is only in its all-consuming totatat as a religious system, as one "all determining reality", recognizable. In his crisis, the irrational, god-like character of the people – and by the people – ruling automatic subject (see part 2: Ora et Labora) appears.
Capitalism as a religion
However, the religious character of the capital culture of the philosopher and literature critic Walter Benjamin has already been recognized far sooner. His highly probably 1921 written fragment "Capitalism as a religion" Reads like a prophecy of the contemporary crisis distortions, the author of his time looked at the general enforcement of this realization – their proof – as it is free:
In capitalism is a religion to see, D.H. Capitalism is essential to satisfy the same worries, torments, riots, on which formerly the so-called religions answered answer. The proof of this religious structure of capitalism, not only, as Weber says, as a religious conditional structure, but as an essential religious appearance, was still on the disposable universal polemik today. We can not consult the network in which we stand. Lifter will overlook this.
The capitalist system thus lives a concrete, historical dynamics own; It does not set it "natural" Overhistoric constant human existence, as is propagated by the eternity claim of the capital culture. Capitalism is a fetishist social formation that has a beginning, a historical constitutional phase in the early modern times, it achieves its epoch of civil capitalism in Spade 19. and 20. Century to enter the historical relegation period of spat capitalism about 40 years ago. The essence of capital as one "Essential religious appearance" is therefore apparent only with its full historical development – especially with the total development of the inner contradictions of the capital ratio, as soon as it stobs the total barrier of its reproduction ability.
The network of the ever-continuous system force, the escalating contradiction, is increasingly becoming stronger to the occupants of the capitalist treadmuhle, so that its stitches become visible and the cultic character of rush-free capital accumulation is evident by the automatic subject in globally escalating distortions and breakdown tendencies. The absurditat ever-powered lift abstract wealth, in which more and more people are excluded, is actually evident in the face of their devastating social and ecological consequences.
The opposite crisis thus represents a prerequisite to provide proof that capitalism is a cultural event. Benjamin names three character trends that these religious structure of capitalism are own:
First, capitalism is a pure grade religion, perhaps the most extreme that has ever given it. It has everything in him only directly related to relationships on culture, he knows no special dogmatics, no theology. Utilitarianism wins its religious color under this aspect. With this concretion of the cult a second train of capitalism together: the permanent duration of the cult. Capitalism is the celebration of a cult Sans Rêve et Sans Merci. There is no "weekday", No day, not the festive day in the terrible sense of the unfolding of all sacral pompes, the most populous tension of the worshiping goods.
The Capital Cult, which has to be practiced from the Utiletaryism, which must be practiced by the blind useful life-thinking, is on a basis that applies as a sacrosage in spat capitalist ideology: on wage work. The religious glow that the Protestant ethics and the monchorides of the Middle Ages of the work missed is crowded from the hereafter in this part.
Cultural action constituent to capitalism as a religion, which have to perform all destruction dependents, which have not yet been banned from the crisis work, is in the direction of wage work. Work under capital is actually more than she seems to be. The concrete work in capitalism serves an abstract, "strange" Purpose, but which does not have to be projected into the hereafter, as in the Benedictine or Calvinists, but quite according to this-real: work has a double character and is only carried out in capitalism, if in addition to the creation of utility values also to propagate the value contributor.
Since wage work constitutes the substance of capital, the capital dynamics ultimately therefore in the addition of increasingly large quantum spent work will find their self-purpose, the capitalist work process forms the real basis of capital cult. The creation of utility materials thus serves to realize the automatic subject only to realize the added value under them. The concrete (the utility value, the concrete working activity) is only as a carrier of the abstract (value and abstract-general work) of the concern that the concrete work is only valid for simultaneous realization of the value added by them as socially valid.
That’s why in capitalism "sensible" be, mass "unsolveless" To destroy apartments or foods – whose value can not be realized – while at the same time hungry or freeze. The cultic essence of wage work as a source of the recycling movement of the automatic subject also brings out the corresponding goods, which briefly breaks up after the expiry of the warranty period should break up or quickly abroad, so as to quickly create the basis for a uplied recycling cycle.
At the same time, this means that the concept of the automatic subject has a double meaning. On the one hand, the said self-movement and uncontrollable total social dynamics of the market-mediated recovery movement is meant, which the market assistants – which they produce themselves in their entirety – as a stranger, "divine" Makes counter. But at the same time, the term expresses that subjectivity in capitalism is only possible within the automatism of the recycling movement.
Only when deciding on how to accelerate and optimize the bankless accumulation of capital, the "Economic objects" In fact, bring their subjectivity to the validity. The people to imparty objects of the managed world (adorno) can only be made behind the cultic character master (Marx) of their economic function the perverted dream of a self-dominant subject trauma – by permanently optimizing the automatism of the recycling movement in its own Register.
The Odnis of this cult is obvious: all human activity, all the versions of this society serve only to ask the growth of the automatic subject – by providing people as automatic subjects.
The Utiletarism mentioned by Benjamin, a hollow rationalistic life of use of use of the irrational goal of recycling the wage labor, is actually the bearing moment of the capital cult. By means of a bunched instrumental rationalitat that leads to an existing revolutionization of the production force, the dynamics of the automatic subject is accelerated. But with this, the contradictions are too tiled, which inherit the capitalist mode of production. The Cap Cult, whose only cultural act is in the endless expenditure of warranting, strives to ban the wage labor through rationalization from the social reproduction process. The capital is as successive of its own substance – the value-forming work – losses, so that capitalism can only be maintained by means of global debt making as a total world system.