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.
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).