The Earthist Challenge to Economism: A Theological Critique of the World Bank.
By John B. Cobb Jr. St. Martin's, 192 pp. 

Since the World Bank affects poor people around the globe more directly than any other social institution, John Cobb's exploration is important for anyone concerned about how Christians can creatively engage economic issues and trends. Cobb thinks the pursuit of continued economic growth within an integrated, liberalizing, market-based global economy will lead to increased social injustice and ecological destruction. Only through a fundamental shift to an environmental theology of "earthism" and a rejection of global economic integration in favor of more self-sufficient local economies can we avert this doom. The World Bank could be an important agent in that conversion.

Cobb views history as a series of epochs, each ordered by a dominant social institution. Each epoch moves through a dialectical period of development and demise, of fruitful construction and self-aggrandizing destruction. In each period the dominant institution—church, government or the economy—develops an ideology that functions as that society's "shared religion." The excesses of this ideology lead to the demise of the dominant institution and the rise of another.