How Much is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life (McDonald Centre, 2014)

In “How Much is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life” (Penguin, 2012 and 2013), Robert and Edward Skidelsky argue that wealth is not—or should not be—an end in itself, but rather a means to the good life. In this McDonald Centre conference, held at Christ Church, Oxford on 28 February 2014, the Skidelskys debate with theologians Rowan Williams and John Hughes; philosopher Cecile Fabre; economicsts Donald Hay, Edmund Newell, John Thanassoulis, and David Vines; and journalist Diane Coyle.

The Unfreedom of the Free Market (Cavanaugh, 2003)

There is a gap between dual perceptions of the market economy that seems to be getting wider in the age of globalization. On the one hand, we are told that we live in an era of unparalleled freedom of choice…On the other hand, there is a profound sense of resignation to fate in attitudes toward the market…The argument of this essay is that there is a fundamental connection between these two types of perception of the market. In the ideology of the free market, freedom is conceived as the absence of interference from others. There are no common ends to which our desires are directed. In the absence of such ends, all that remains is the sheer arbitrary power of one will against another. Freedom thus gives way to the aggrandizement of power and the manipulation of will and desire by the greater power. The liberation of desire from ends on the one hand, and the domination of impersonal power on the other, are two sides of the same coin. If this is the case, then true freedom requires an account of the ends of human life and the destination of creation.

The World in a Wafer: A Geography of the Eucharist as Resistance to Globalization (Cavanaugh, 1999)

I was going to subtitle this essay “How to be a Global Village Idiot”, but “A Geography of the Eucharist” better captures what I hope to accomplish, for I believe that much of the Christian confusion over globalization results from a neglect of the Eucharist as the source of a truly Catholic practice of space and time. Globalization marks a certain configuration for the discipline of space and time; I would like to juxtapose this geography with another geography, a geography of the Eucharist and its production of catholicity.

When Enough is Enough: Why God’s abundant life won’t fit in a shopping cart, and other mysteries of consumerism (Cavanaugh, 2005)

Consumerism is not so much about having more as it is about having something else. It is not buying but shopping that captures the spirit of consumerism. Buying is certainly an important part of consumerism, but buying brings a temporary halt to the restlessness that typifies it. It is this restlessness—the moving on to shopping for something else no matter what one has just purchased—that sets the spiritual tone for consumerism.

Consumption, The Market and the Eucharist (Cavanaugh, 2005)

Economics, we are told, is the science which studies the allocation of resources under conditions of scarcity. The very basis of the market, trade – giving up something to get something else – assumes scarcity. Resources are scarce wherever the desires of all persons for goods or services cannot be met….Consumerism is the death of Christian eschatology. There can be no rupture with the status quo, no inbreaking Kingdom of God, but only endless superficial novelty….The Eucharist tells another story about hunger and consumption. It does not begin with scarcity, but with the one who came that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).