Take & Read: Ethics

New books that are shaping discussions about ethics in a capitalist society

Modernity didn’t kill religion—it remade it, replacing the God of Christianity with the god of money. At least that’s what Eugene McCarraher argues in his tour de force The Enchantments of Mam­mon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity (Harvard Uni­ver­sity Press).

The book begins with a startling claim: “The ‘disenchant­ment of the world’ is a myth.” McCarraher ac­knowledges that “the enchanted universe of medieval Catholicism collapsed, succumbing to Protestant theology, the new science and its quest for technological mastery, and the pecuniary reason and promethean ethos that emboldened capitalist enterprise.”

It’s not that we’re no longer enchanted, McCarraher explains. It’s that a different spirit took over for God: