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Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism$
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Kathryn Tanner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300219036

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300219036.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 02 December 2021

The New Spirit of Capitalism and a Christian Response

The New Spirit of Capitalism and a Christian Response

(p.1) 1 The New Spirit of Capitalism and a Christian Response
Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism

Kathryn Tanner

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Max Weber’s approach to the influence of Christian beliefs and practices on economic behavior, and ties it to the sort of comparison of forms of ‘spirituality’ offered by the French philosopher Michel Foucault in his Collège de France lectures. The chapter explores the general characteristics of finance-dominated capitalism, especially with reference to derivatives and financial markets. It discusses how finance disciplines other economic organizations, such as states through the issuance of public debt, and non-financial corporations through the priority given to shareholder value. The culture of finance-dominated capitalism is also talked about as a specific form of work ethic. Finally, the chapter outlines the basic shape of the larger argument of the book, concerning the potential for Christianity to counteract contemporary capitalist modes of control.

Keywords:   Derivatives, Finance, Max Weber, Michel Foucault, Shareholder value, Work ethic

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