economic mysticism

Economic Mysticism: Why People Believe that Capitalism is Something Like Heaven

Anti-capitalism is growing in popularity in Western countries — nearly half of Millennials and Gen-Z’ers disapprove of capitalism. Wealth accumulation is viewed as exploitative and damaging to the human condition.

Money-mongers do awful things in the name of a correct calculation. Monetary sway has a moral weight for these people. In having more money, you are considered to have more uprightness, not just by yourself, but by those from whom you have stolen. Since the higher number is thought the higher cause, it follows that wealth = virtue, even by the fruit of untold atrocities.

Untold, that is, until told.

And the atrocities seem justified, tied up at both ends by asset and debit, because in the math of a capitalist economy the greater power is the more righteous.

It’s that people believe that capitalism is something like heaven. And that’s why we have a theology of numbers, of a bottom line that ethically has reached rock bottom.

“Military Policeman arresting the spirit,” by Yiannis Tsaroychis

Loyalty, taxes, military. Loyalty, taxes, military. Who owns your loyalty? Who owns your military? To which set of oligarchs are you in debt to for blood or money? To which corporately-owned brainwashed apathetic craven law-making majority?

The right to your body, the right to your money, the right to your attitude. The right to your allegiance. They seem to think they have that right. The demand for your patriotism. Your birth certificate is a bill of sale for these three items: loyalty, taxes, military; military, taxes, loyalty.

Loyalty to your country. What does it mean?

In my book, it means to the “principles for which it stands…” as opposed to veneration of a piece of cloth, which has become the idolatrous replacement for those principles.

The idea is the thing. The plan that was outlined. The agreement that was made. The document. Though one should not be slavish about a document either. It, too, represents. It, too, is not the real thing. The thing loyalty tries to lasso in, ensnare, manipulate. The real real thing. I pledge allegiance to principles of true democratic participation in our common destiny rather than an imaginary America.

I do not consider America to be its military might. Its assumed right to be involved militarily in every land. Its militarization of municipal police. Its gluttonous military budget. Serving the interests of the weapons manufacturers and oily-gassy corporate masters who want only expansion of their personal powers through furthering the supposed greatness of this imaginary Nation.

Multi-millionaires, multi-billionaires. They want to get to the top before the others. Whatever for?

Principles be damned except as platitudes that justify slaughter. Join the club, stay the course, use the club. Educate people to be labor, and like it. De-educate them. Blame the deficit on the poor getting poorer. The comfortable people pass judgment on the disenfranchised. The fault lies with people not morally upright as their bankers and praetorian military. Our group of brokers and wheeler-dealers and generals and prosperity pastors. And their body guards.

Keep the people insecure, keep working one group against the other. Start a war and raise the war flag, drape the coffins and dip into the coffers. The collective unconscious — driven by fears and misinformation. No glory in that kind of Oneness at all.


Have you considered whether there is an Invisible Hand, whether that is after all a kind of mystical economics, voodoo economics, that holds us in debt peonage while only a few continue to own the world? What kind of world do you want to leave your children’s children’s children? Any?

It used to be, “He’s got the whole world in His hand.” Now, the Invisible Hand has got the world in its clutches. It is a form of economic mysticism, no doubt — another religion. It holds us all in thrall. The weak, the small, the large.

It’s about a kind of fear. It’s about bad ol’ greed. People with way more than enough wanting still more. Still not secure. People who have almost everything wanting actual everything. People who want to be great, great, great and remembered for posterity…even if it means we all suffocate, drown, starve together as One — they act as if they have never heard of Ozymandias.

Maybe they haven’t.

ivars balkits

Ivars Balkits works as a writing tutor and course facilitator at Ohio University. His poems and prose have been most recently published by Havik, Fiction International, Fleas on the Dog, LitroNY, cahoodaloodaling, Angry Old Man, and Uut Poetry He is a recipient of two Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, for poetry in 1999 and creative nonfiction in 2014.

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