“a neoliberal gospel …, bind[s] up the wounds that it inflicts”

“a neoliberal gospel …, bind[s] up the wounds that it inflicts” (‘Tom’s shoes’ source below)

I’ve been thinking about spirituality and the economy – particularly as it relates to inequalities and growing rich/poor gap as recently shown by NZ Census figures.  Something along the lines of we get the economy we want/vote for based on a neoliberal spirituality.  Is there such a thing as neoliberal spirituality?  And if so, what are it’s dominant values and beliefs –what’s seen to be meaningful in such a worldview? These ideas are better considered below:

Our local paper, the Otago Daily Times reported a recent Otago University graduation ceremony were NZs Salvation Army leader said,

 “People should not tolerate ”the sort of society that keeps people poor”, Major Campbell Roberts, of the Salvation Army, told University of Otago graduates yesterday.

Otago University had a great tradition of producing graduates who had contributed to a better New Zealand, he said.

 ”Reducing the divide between rich and poor is a vital task requiring people with the sort of skills and attitudes, enriched and developed in this university.”

 He challenged graduates to help ”close the inequality gap in New Zealand and globally and create meaningful and lasting change wherever you go.”

 Inequality also produced spiritual poverty.

 ”It’s probably no coincidence that poverty in New Zealand and globally is greatest among colonised indigenous people who have lost knowledge and access to their spiritual roots, traditional values and knowledge systems.”

 Spiritual poverty also afflicted the ”non-poor” as well as the poor, and ultimately ”diminishes all of our lives”.

 By this, he meant ”the absence of a spiritual life or a spiritual dimension to your life”, which provided a ”connection to the past and the future and to the world and people around you”.

 In the non-poor, consumption and materialism often covered up spiritual poverty.”

See: http://www.odt.co.nz/campus/university-otago/285071/close-inequality-gap-graduates-urged

 “The globalization of neoliberal capitalism, and particularly the popularity of “conscious capitalism” as a practice and a discourse, signals a change in the landscape of U.S. religion and politics. “Neoliberalism” most often refers to a loosely cohering set of economic, social, and political policies that (1) seek to secure human flourishing through the imposition of free markets and (2) locate “freedom” in individual autonomy, expressed through consumer choice. But it is also a mode of belonging, where ritual acts of consumption initiate individuals into a global community of consumer agents. Within neoliberal logics of religious and political action, consumer transactions and corporate expansion are recast as forms of spiritual purification and missionary practice. And within conscious capitalism, the “higher purpose” is a world in which all people have a chance (or obligation) to participate in free markets—understood as a multicultural community of consumers.”

See more at: http://religionandpolitics.org/2013/10/01/toms-shoes-and-the-spiritual-politics-of-neoliberalism/#sthash.IvXLjkfl.dpuf

Any thoughts on spirituality and the economy?

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