Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Story in Economics

Economics seems to have a great deal to do with our new world - maybe it always has. I've posted a few times on the pervasiveness of the consumerist mindset and the dangers it poses to discipleship. Having lots of money and stuff makes it harder to follow Christ. Or as Jesus put it in Luke 18:25 "Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Well I was reading some stuff over at the The Church and Postmodern Culture blog and came across this interesting take on it. The whole post is a bit tough to get your head around but if you like thinking about postmodernism and philosophy. it's a pretty interesting read. Here's a quote from one of the commenters"

"The hyper-modernists have realized that the royal road to (private) riches comes not in making things, but in making stories, narratives; or rather, in making symbols upon which we can project our stories. What, for example, does Nike manufacture? Not one thing! They make no shoes or shirts or anything you can touch. Rather, they manufacture a symbol, the swoosh, and their task is to associate that symbol with fashion, with athleticism, with what-have-you. To actually make a useful product, to have factories and to deal with real workers, would be considered crass and vulgar; there are slaves enough in the East to perform those tasks. No, Nike makes a symbol, and markets it, and contracts with slaves to make products to which the symbol can be attached."

This puts marketing and consumerism into perspective. Nike hires "swoosh" missionaries to evangelize the world with the good (?) news of Nike. Then people flock to the Nike store to worship and come out with things that identify them with the swoosh. (you can insert your own brand - Apple seems to fit a little too well here!)

It really is a scary proposal. We are built to live by a story that guides our lives or at least the helps us make sense of this world. If the one that is true doesn't seem to fit, or we have grown tired of it, or other stories are being told more convincingly, we can see the result in our world. I wonder if we've forgotten how to tell His story or how to link it with symbols that make sense to our world.

This stuff will require more thought.

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