The world-atmosphere teaches us what we can value. In the Domination System generally, it teaches us to value power. In any particular society, however, power is given specific shape by the peculiar conditions of the time. What characterizes our society is the unique value ascribed to money. People in every age have coveted wealth, but few societies have lionized the entrepreneur as ours does. Aristocratic societies—and most societies have been aristocratic—have tended to look down on acquisitiveness and to despise merchants. Modern capitalism, by contrast, has made wealth the highest value. Our entire social system has become an “economy”; no earlier society would have characterized itself thus. Profit is the highest social good. Consumerism has become the only universally available mode of participation in modern society. The work ethic has been replaced by the consumption ethic, the cathedral by the skyscraper, the hero by the billionaire, the saint by the executive, religion by ideology.
Engaging the Powers