Economy of Desire by Daniel M. Bell Jr.

Economy of Desire

In this addition to the award-winning Church and Postmodern Culture series, respected theologian Daniel Bell compares and contrasts capitalism and Christianity, showing how Christianity provides resources for faithfully navigating the postmodern global economy. Bell approaches capitalism and Christianity as alternative visions of humanity, God, and the good life. Considering faith and economics in terms of how desire is shaped, he casts the confl...

Details Economy of Desire

TitleEconomy of Desire
Release DateNov 1st, 2012
PublisherBaker Academic
GenrePhilosophy, Economics, Religion, Theology, Christianity, Politics

Reviews Economy of Desire

  • Tim
    Bell offers some criticism of capitalism in this book. In fact, he calls it a sin. This might not sit well with some American Christians, but I voiced a loud Amen when I came to this comment from series editor James K. A. Smith in the foreword: "By locating the challenges for Christian discipleship in arcane cults or sexual temptation or the 'secularizing' forces of the Supreme Court, evangelicalism tends to miss the fact that the great tempter o...
  • Bruce Hamill
    I should probably let it lie before reviewing, but this book seems too good. It ties together a range of key themes and issues, arguably the major practical issues facing Christian existence today, in a way which is beautifully clear and precise. It is about economics, but, drawing on Foucault and Deleuze broadens our vision of economic existence in terms of the social shape of our desires and their formation. This is an account of Christian econ...
  • Dave
    Let me use an economic metaphor to recommend this book: bottom line, you should read it whether you're a Christian who believe capitalism is God's economic ideal or a Christian who thinks capitalism is the devil's economic farce. Bell's chapter on the theology of capitalism was an especially powerful critique. A few readers are going to have a hard time with a long section toward the end addressing the atonement; Bell is not a fan of the debt/acc...
  • Lowell AfdahlRice
    Bell is fine at his Christian critique of Capitalism, but really no more enlightened than the atheistic critiques of Foucault, Deleuze or Zizek. When it comes to an alternative to Capitalism he offers monastic living for our global world order which is so pie- in- the- sky that it makes Marxist Communism (meaning that form of governance which has never been tested or tried) look downright possible.
  • Danijel Brestovac
    Str. 76- Vladnost zadeva vprašanja, "kako vladati sebi, kako biti vladan, kako vladati drugim in kako naj ravna nekdo, ki hoče postati najboljši možni vladar". Str. 78- Državni oziri pomenijo predvsem krepitev in ohranjanje države, a država se ZAVEDA, da je njena moč v moči in blaginji njenih subjektov. Zato se država nenehno zanima za podrobnosti življenja svojih državljanov.Str. 95- Ustvarjeni smo  bili za prijateljstvo z Bogom in...
  • Ben Thurley
    Daniel Bell's provocative and stimulating work pits capitalism against a theological vision of the divine economy and concrete practices that arise within this alternative economy. Happily it is never fully engaged in denouncing or renouncing capitalism in its entirety, but through a historically informed, sociologically rich, and theologically engaged account of God's work and the church's history, seeks to set forth redemptive theological accou...
  • Gipson Baucum
    This is a really interesting book. The thesis is that though capitalism is a very efficient economic approach for society it is not the best economic approach to accomplish God's purpose for humanity. Bell points out that capitalism is built on desire, and thus references 20th century philosophers Foucault and Deleuze's exploration of how insatiable and unsatisfied desire drives our pursuit of scarce resources, effectively pitting us against one ...
  • Stephen Hicks
    This book has striking similarities to Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith. Both pieces reveal to us that our lives are not ordered by institutions or processes but rather desires. We bow down to these internal desires either knowingly or unknowingly, and it is they who guide us through this world. Bell takes this concept and sees how capitalism operates in the formation of our desires. The main question is not whether or not capitalism work...
  • William Smith
    I have enjoyed James K. A. Smith's books greatly. Because is the editor of this series, I was looking forward to reading Bell's book. I was quite disappointed. While Bell does a good job in critiquing a *laissez faire* capitalism, I believe he has some severe weaknesses in some of the principles of capitalism that he condemns. For example, his discounting of all self-interest in an economy for some type of idyllic altruism (which does not and wil...
  • David
    This book is an extended critique of capitalism in conversation with the philosophy of Foucault and Deleuze. I enjoy books such as this because I have always wanted to read and understand philosophy but have never had the time or patience to wade through the likes of such writers. Someone like Bell not only explains aspects of philosophy but applies it to real life. Bell’s argument is that capitalism shapes our desires in numerous ways that we ...
  • John
    It took way too long to read this book. For a few reasons. First, I procrastinate, work, and think. During the time of reading this I probably read about 15 to 20 other books. Why? Because this book is filled with so much heavy knowledge. There were sentences I literally had to memorize and think about for a week before I could sit down and read it again. Bell really does a great job exploring some of the root problems with capitalism as a lifest...
  • Chuck
    Daniel Bell helped me think through many of the issues that are created living in a capitalist culture. Without attempting to move the reader toward a specific economic system, Bell helps clarify why we find it so difficult to critique the current economic system. Placing capitalism historically and philosophically, Bell suggests a kingdom economic in the end.By seeking to see desire in a more wholistic sense, Bell helps to see how pre-modern sys...
  • Rod White
    I rarely happen upon a book that puts together the bits and pieces of what I have experienced so cogently. This is one of them. The enslaving toxicity of the economy of desire that is capitalism is very aptly exposed by Daniel Bell. Most of us do not even know we are enslaved, we are just experiencing "reality." The author goes on to describe the alternative Circle of Hope is striving to become: an "economy" of desire with a beginning, purpose an...
  • Jeff
    I hope to write a more substantial review of this excellent book. Suffice it to say that it had some absolutely amazing chapters and an overall argument that I am going to be working through for a while. I am very hopeful that it will shape my thinking and actions going forward. Sadly, the book could have used a more substantial edit for consistency of style as it didn't seem to know whether it wanted to be for an academic audience or a popular o...
  • Curtis
    Although the works of Foucault and Deleuze were new to me, I found this a very enriching read. I was most impacted by the contrasting views of man, God and the good life found in capitalistic and the divine economies. Centering the divine economy on the restoration and extension of communion were also key to framing the change in perspective I experienced. Also, the footnotes added many more books to my reading list.
  • Eric
    I am disappointed with this book mostly because I expected something else. Its a difficult read and very philosophical which is not something I tend to enjoy. There was some interesting things to learn, especially close to the end but overall I could not recommend this to many people.If anyone wants to borrow or own this I unfortunately purchased this brand new: never again.
  • Neil White
    The discussion of Foucalt and Deleuze, Postmodern philosophers, and particularly using Deleuzes focus on desire in the realm of capitalism is dense but insightful. The author points toward some concrete ways a Christian economy of desire (desire rightly oriented on God) could be formed but this seemed to remain more of a philosophical discussion and not a strong alternative vision.
  • Timothy Maples
    This book is a great encouragement toward a Christian economic worldview. As a response to valid criticisms of consumerist capitalism, the author advocates creating "Christian economies" within the prevailing system while refusing to commit the error of conflating the status quo with Biblical righteousness. Recommended.
  • Jonny
    Excellent use and deconstruction of Delueze and Foucault in this "college class in a book." Great volume, easy to read, hard to put down, honestly. Great work undoing the capitalist myth and how Christianity is so often an artifact in it. Recommended for all, especially Christians duped by the U.S. machine.
  • Dwight Davis
    An absolutely brilliant critique of capitalist consumeristic culture. Bell offers a compelling view of the church as a place of counter-formation against the desire shaping institution of capitalism. Vital reading.
  • Vanessa Siemens
    My three stars would equate to 3.5. Thought provoking and challenging but at times a bit extreme in its views without full articulation of what the alternative to capitalism would look like. Good points as to making small step by step changes but what does the end result in its fullness look like?
  • Lindsey Ginter
    Interesting - but not being a Christian put me at a distinct disadvantage - miracles? Yes, Bell's full remedy to man's natural state (one he describes in what I believe are delusional, optimistic terms) requires the "second coming" of GOD - Jesus. What's a Buddhist to do?
  • Jeremy
    Need to write a good review of this!
  • Dustin
    One of the better books I read this year. I was pleasantly surprised at its approach to this topic. Pretty academic reading style.
  • Adam
    Clear. Concise. Critical. Inspired. Engaging. Instructive. Productive.
  • Doutor Branco
    In the whole series I think this is one that I liked most. I cannot agreer with all things, but the author highlights some real good points.