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Agamben and Radical Politics$
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Daniel McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402637

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402637.001.0001

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Capitalism as Religion

Capitalism as Religion

(p.15) 1 Capitalism as Religion
Agamben and Radical Politics

Giorgio Agamben

, Nicholas Heron
Edinburgh University Press

This chapter is the first translation into English of Agamben’s essay ‘Capitalism as Religion.’ It develops on Walter Benjamin’s thesis that capitalism is an extreme form of religion by considering the role that money plays in the capitalist cult. Agamben argues that the theological content of capitalism was clarified by the end of the gold standard in 1971 because money no longer refered to a concrete thing whose value it represented, but rather, to credit. The capitalist religion puts money in the place of God and replaces faith in God with faith in credit, which is, ultimately, faith in faith. The chapter concludes by drawing out the destructive implications of this parodic form of Christian faith by considering its relationship to the contemporary hegemony of finance, the development of the spectacle, and the “profound anarchy of the society in which we live.”

Keywords:   Agamben, Benjamin, capitalism, religion, finance

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