Chapter

Paradox, People, and Project

in Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226137063
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226137087 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226137087.003.0013
Paradox, People, and Project

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Accompanying the development of market capitalism were the obvious vices of competitiveness and pride, and the traditional republican bugbears of luxury and greed. These social pathogens threatened first the virtue of individual Christians within the market mechanism, and by extension the stability of the republic itself. Some believers therefore reasoned that the “principles of trade are immoral and unchristian,” and that “no prosperous merchant can be a good Christian.” In this Manichean view of things, the structure of the modernizing economy was so rotten and its temptations so irresistible that it simply could not be reconciled with Christianity's principles and practices. There was apparently no way to be both moral and successful, and given the choice, some Christians were conceivably prepared to forsake business altogether.

Keywords: capitalism; competitiveness; pride; Christianity; trade; modernizing economy; luxury; greed

Chapter.  4402 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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