Re-thinking Economics, Theology, and Politics for a better Future

The Guardian posted an article, “Mainstream economics is in denial: the world has changed“, challenging economists who teach of the greatness of our  global economic system. In Great Britain, economists in higher education dare not speak against global capitalism or even teach about the 2009 economic crisis. Clearly, this is ideology. These economists are riding on a hamster wheel of their own theories and cannot construct new theories for our present situation or the future.

I find this to be true for other disciplines in universities and in the public sphere. In seminaries, classes are taught with books by theologians living in the mid-20th century, or earlier. Few theology classes teach constructive  theologies or have students pursing their own theological voice. In the political realm, few and far between are others challenging those who have created economic and social disparities. Instead, we begrudgingly work within the political system making baby steps for the way of justice.

Radical Black Lesbian Audre Lorde in her famous speech titled “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” says,

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.

Leaving behind the oppressive structures (the master’s house) is not an easy task. Small victories have come for some oppressed groups in the US, yet new challenges arise thus new tools are needed to dismantle it. Injustices such as the military-industrial complex, prison-industrial complex, racism with voter id laws and other structurally racist injustices, police brutality, transphobia, homophobia, anti-Islamic laws and attitudes, etc. dominate US culture and society. Thus I believe institutions in the US and Europe have fallen behind, not able to keep up with new ideas, cultures, and theories. Students are not equipped in how to think about injustices. Cultural lag infests religious communities. I don’t have any kind of answer with how to deal with our institutions. I try my best to engage contemporary questions, injustices, and trying to incorporate myself with people fighting for justice–but find it too overwhelming– trying to be on top of everything and still have a life. Possibly, the solution will come from organizations and groups of freedom fighters making demands on our institutions for justice and pushing them to think about the future. I pray I am part of it, if this is true.

Audre Lorde quote on dismantling the Master's House