Feb. 25th, 2008

mithriltabby: Adam Smith with caption “Invisible Hand” (Economics)
A deranged notion that occurred to me as I was clambering toward consciousness this morning:

The Church of the Eternal Profits treats the following theological tenets as revealed truth:

  • The Supreme Executive Being and his Angelic Accountants, Auditors, and Actuaries calculate all of the economic externalities that you incur. Creating positive externalities is a virtue; forcing other people to pay for your negative ones is a sin.
  • The world you help create in this life determines the characteristics of the world in which you will spend your next life. e.g.: if you contribute to pollution and litter, you can expect to find yourself in an environment choked with it in your next life, and will need to spend that life cleaning up your own externalities (which will have developed with compound interest at current market rates) before you can go on.
Preachers are in the habit of wearing business suits, holding a staff surmounted by a lamp patterned after the original street lighting on Wall Street, and standing in the financial districts of large cities haranguing passersby about paying off their credit cards every month, reducing their externalities, saving for the future, market transparency, and exhorting their government representatives toward fiscal rectitude. They tend to quote from classic economics books as if they were scripture, e.g.: “Is it not written in The Wealth of Nations that...?”

If the church gets any larger than street-corner preaching, they incorporate for tax-exempt status, provide free financial planning services for the poor, and eventually begin creating financial instruments that allow people to profit from virtue.

If I had the time and energy, it would be fun to put this together as performance art (put together a web site, put some sermons on YouTube, go stand in front of major banking skyscrapers and sermonize publicly), but I’m just turning this notion loose instead. [livejournal.com profile] exoterica, please feel free to pass it to anyone you know who would enjoy taking the idea and running with it.

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