Summary In John Cavanaugh's Theory Of Economics

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In the first chapter he allows us to consider the idea of capitalism and the free market. His main emphasis being the question “When is a market free?” He directs us away from the common ideology of freedom from something to a new notion of being free for or free to, with a specific ‘telos’ in mind. In the second chapter Cavanaugh draws our attention toward consumerism and our attachment to materialistic goods as well as our detachment from the production process, the producers and products themselves. The third chapter takes us through the concept of globalisation which allows for everything to be available but in turn nothing seems to matter and finally, the last chapter addresses the question of scarcity based on the assumption that human…show more content…
He describes a scenario of resources being scarce where the increasing desires of consumers cannot be met. Seemingly there is never enough to go around. Marketing and advertising constantly seek to stimulate new desires in us. Scarcity describes a hungering, not of the starving person for sustenance, but of the consumer for more without any consideration to what they already have. Our desire to consume continually falls on goods that fail to satisfy. Cavanaugh points us toward a solution to the restlessness by cultivating a desire in the individual for God, for the Eternal where one can stop hungering and find rest. In our consumer culture dissatisfaction and fulfilment are not opposites, pleasure is found not in the possessing of an item but in the pursuit of possessing. In this vicious cycle of pursuit, possessing and discarding of possessions the consumer is kept distracted from the desires of the truly hungry, those experiencing real deprivation. Cavanaugh contends that the idea of scarcity implies that goods are not held in common and that the consumption of goods is therefore an individual experience. Furthermore, one is able to give charitably if not distracted by one’s own continuous desires for constant consumption. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of nations propagates the idea of the needs of the hungry being met by the providential care of the market, through an “invisible hand” and the medium of a mechanism of demand and supply resulting in an eschatology in which abundance for all is just around the corner. In today’s consumer driven world greater consumption is often the recommended solution to the suffering of others, in order to stimulate the economy, but Cavanaugh points out that this only adds to the suffering as the low prices that consumers hanker after are only possible because of the low wages paid to producers. The Eucharist conveys a different story of hunger and

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