Monday, October 27, 2008

Readings: Marilynne Robinson (1)

American culture has entered a period in which atavism looks to us for all the world like progress. The stripping away of humane constraints to liberate "natural" forces, such as capital flow or the (soi-disant) free market, has acquired such heady momentum that no one even pauses to wonder whether such forces are indeed particularly "natural." The use of the word implies a tendentious distinction. Billions of dollars can vanish into the ether under the fingers of a bad young man with a dark stare, yet economics is to be regarded as if it were lawful and ineluctable as gravity. If the arcane, rootless, disruptive phenomenon we call global economics is natural, then surely anything else is, too.
Marilynne Robinson, "Darwinism", in The Death of Adam (1998)

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