Money as God
By L. Murbandono Hs
Many of us claim to be religious and believe in God, but most of our starting points to determine our fate and real life do not deal directly with religion or God, but with capital. Money! This is our new God.
A direct result of bad secularism? Yes! But what’s more important is that secularization itself is not only neutral, but could become gateway to civilization, including science and knowledge, such as theology, if these do not want to lose their roles. In a society that became increasingly secular during the Industrial
Revolution in Western history, people were freed from the absolute. Relieved?
Wrong! Because, any civilization in any era needs an absolute as a binder. Real community is framed in a particular state and government which always creates “ideology” for its people to obey. Most countries on earth these days, replacing conventional religion with state ideology, are professing another religion:
The religion of economy with money as God!
What has been happening since the Industrial Revolution through our current Internet age of globalization is the “glory” of economy. It has filled the void needed by its era: When the God of conventional religions has no real impact, whereas people always need the absolute as a binding means.
Economy smartly fulfills the needs of the people through free market global capitalism. The dynamics of the religion of economy creates profits and capital accumulation. The money! This eventually became the basis of an absolute dogma to determine the nature of human behavior.
Places of worship are the free market economy, which becomes absolute in promising food, clothing, housing, jobs, prosperity, freedom and justice for their adherents. Belief in the market economy is the way to salvation.
This is represented by three basic symptoms. First, the bigger the merchants are, the greedier they became. Second, rogue elements of the state bureaucracy increasingly play with unfaithful bosses. Third, the frustration of people without power will increase because they cannot participate in the liturgy of the religion of economy.
The three points above led us to the degradation of humanity as a result of unbridled economic progress. The target of economic mechanisms is to gain money and capital accumulation that will control the majority of human beings.
It requires non-human offerings, in a sense, which demands that money accumulation will become the norm above basic humanitarian values. Religion of economy has led people, as human resources, into abstract shapes.
In the production process, human beings (the real workers) are changed into the figures of income, or money, which is abstract. Extortion and utilization of real human beings in turn generates abstract profits, which are manifested in the accumulation of money in bank accounts.
This occurs due to the engineering of the political economies of a number of business giants, but essentially serve the accumulation of money in the form of abstract figures in the stock market.
The accumulated earnings, or money, then has become the principle and overcomes human dignity. If in the name of profits a factory must be closed, then it will be closed, irregardless of the fate of workers. If the market demands expansion of a project, then it happens, sometimes by destroying of villages, forests and people, all of which are changed into abstract shapes.
Human abstraction occurs due to the dialectic of abstraction and concretization in the religion of economy. Money is another form of labor (real) which is changed to become abstract. Labor is money (abstract) which is changed to become concrete.
Benefits (abstract) are racketeering (real), which has been changed to become abstract.
Abstraction and concretization have become more devastating because political economy (abstract) is often unfair. In fact, even when politics goes straight without unfairness, abstraction and concretization still go well. Therefore, the more modern and more sophisticated the era, the more complex the political economy and the more blurred become homo homini lopus practices.
In the ancient era everything was clearer. The phenomenon of the oppressor versus the oppressed was clearly manifested in articulation and meaning. Its dichotomy was clear. Landlords, employers and the strong were in one camp as oppressors of farmers, slaves and the weak in another camp.
In the modern world, transparency of articulation and meaning fades away. Quality of extortion and oppression become so sophisticated and blurred that it seems as if not to be oppression and extortion anymore.
Unfortunately, suppression seems to be a necessity for and even in the needs of the oppressed. That is what happens in the religion of Economy, where the almighty money reigns.
Finally, the almighty money is also an abstract creator. He conjured up real injustice to become abstract needs. In the process of production-distribution-consumption in the religion of economy, the extortion and injustice that is necessarily rolling could not be prevented by the victims. Manipulation and injustice than becomes a must, and even seems to become the embodiment of free will of the victims.
L. Murbandono Hs
The writer is a journalist.
Source: The Jakarta Post, Sunday, 1 February 2011