November 6, 2016

God or Mammon?

While reading Money, the novel by his son Martin, Kingsley Amis suddenly reached a point where he could no longer continue. When Martin wrote himself into the novel—via a character named Martin Amis—Kingsley threw the book across the room. "He wasn't having any of that," Martin recounted in an interview. "No buggering around with the reader."

I had a similar urge about halfway through Harvey Cox's The Market as God. In a discussion comparing Adam Smith to Christian saints, Cox asks whether the free market has performed any miracles. He notes that postwar Germany had an economic miracle of sorts, but only in the capitalist West. Some people, he writes, "attributed the miracle to the faithful application of free market principles, and liked to contrast West Germany's recovery with the very different experience of the command economy of East Germany."

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