The Economy of Desire
Christianity and Capitalism in a Postmodern World
Where to Purchase
Bell engages the work of two important postmodern philosophers, Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, to illuminate the nature of the postmodern world that the church currently inhabits. He considers how the global economy deforms desire in a manner that distorts human relations with God and one another. In contrast, he presents Christianity and the tradition of the works of mercy as a way beyond capitalism and socialism, beyond philanthropy and welfare. Christianity heals desire, renewing human relations and enabling communion with God. This book will work well for courses in theology and ethics, philosophical theology, discipleship, and Christianity and culture. Pastors and church leaders will also find it enlightening.
1. The Multitude: The Micropolitics of Desire
"There is no getting around the cry for a just Christian economics in Bell's argument, nor the vision for a virtuous market participating in the divine economy of salvation. Bell's passion is prophetic, and this book screams out to be read in the new era of austerity that all of us are entering now. A revolution is needed, and it has to begin with a right disciplining of desire."
Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford
"Dan Bell persuasively demonstrates that every economy presupposes a theology because they share in common the production, distribution, and communication of desire. Using Deleuze and Foucault without being used by them, he diagnoses the formation of capitalist desire and compares it to God's ecclesial economy. This is the most thoroughly researched and accessible book on theological economics available today. Its breadth is impressive, its argument compelling. It deserves to be widely read and used at all levels in the university and church. Readers will be richly rewarded."
D. Stephen Long, professor of systematic theology, Marquette University
"We need books that ask us to think carefully, and in a Christian manner, about what an economy is ultimately for. Bell's The Economy of Desire enables us to go deeply into the heart of today's economic activity so we can assess its inspiration in Christ and its participation in God's redemptive work in the world."
Norman Wirzba, Duke Divinity School
"In dialogue with postmodern philosophers and theologians, Daniel Bell delves perceptively into human desire and the ways desire is held captive by the culture and structures of capitalism. He matches his expertise in this endeavor with a sensitive and imaginative mining of the monastic traditions to elaborate a biblical economy of desire that serves life against death. The result is a rich portrayal of practices from which every congregation can benefit in this time of economic and political tumult. This book is a creative blend of urgency, realism, critical acuity, and spiritual depth."
M. Douglas Meeks, Cal Turner Chancellor Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
"The most dangerous act in the world today is to believe, to desire. But desire alone is not enough. Bell's book is radical because he teaches us not just how to desire but the content of desire itself--a desire for God, for the good, for something bigger than ourselves. The Economy of Desire is the manifesto for restoring dignity in the wake of injustice."
Creston Davis, assistant professor of religion, Rollins College
Named a "Best Book of 2012" (honorable mention), Englewood Review of Books
"Capitalism has seeped into virtually every corner of the globe and claimed sovereignty over material resources, human bodies, and conceptual imaginations. It is for this very reason that the philosophical and theological reflection done so masterfully by Bell in this book is needed today, especially in the church. . . . Like the rest of the books in the marvelous 'Church and Postmodern Culture' series, [this book] is full of accessible, engaging, and practical insights related to philosophical knowledge and theological insight. Bell has a gift for drawing the reader in and clearly presenting complex thoughts. . . . We are all indebted to Bell for providing us with this map showing us the way from our imprisonment in capitalist desire to the abundant life made possible by Jesus. I cannot recommend this book highly enough."
Englewood Review of Books
"Extraordinary. . . . It is rigorous, but also pretty captivating. It is profound--asking what we most desire, what we think is the good, what is dignified and just. . . . A vision for a virtuous capitalism, with our desires disciplined and ordered properly."
Hearts & Minds BookNotes blog
- Excerpt Download PDF