“Financialization” is a term that has come to describe the process by which economic activity shifts from the “real” production of goods and services to ever more complex forms of financial transacting. Religious critics of practices that led to the financial crisis admonish behaviors commonly associated with financialization, yet these criticisms offer incompletely articulated ideals of what constitutes real economic production from the perspective of their faith traditions. This paper contends that Christianity has the potential to transform the nature of finance and investment but only if theologians and ethicists provide more tangible definition to what is real in economic life—particularly in the labyrinth of finance—and thus help guide religious consumers and investors in market decisions. Evidence of financialization is analyzed and Christian responses to it are surveyed. Nascent elements of a theology of the real economy from contributors such as D. Stephen Long and William Cavanaugh provide a possible way forward in the much-needed transformation of the financial culture.
McDaniel, Charles A. Jr.
"Theology of the "Real Economy": Christian Economic Ethics in an Age of Financialization,"
Journal of Religion and Business Ethics:
Vol. 2, Article 1.
Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/jrbe/vol2/iss2/1