Home Forum Research The English Vocabulary and the Future of Capitalism Reply To: The English Vocabulary and the Future of Capitalism

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Scot Griffin
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So, “biblicalization” of power language correlates not with transitions of the accumulation regime but with the power grip of capital onto society. The greater the power grip the “higher” the justification needs to be, economic justification is no longer enough. Awaiting a proper charting, it seems that at least in the phase after 1980 the change in language trails the rising power grip. If ideology came first it should be the other way round. This would conform Marx’s observation that the “material” process, here rising corporate power, comes first, and only afterwards a “suitable” consciousness develops.

The end of the 19th century in America was known as the “Gilded Age,” which culminated with the passage of antitrust laws in the 1890s.  So, one could argue that the peak of biblical jargon circa 1900 resulted in the reduction of the power grip of capital on society; i.e., religion was the basis for combatting the capitalist power, not securing it.  Remember, the U.S. was much more religious then than it is today.

It is not clear to me that the current trajectory of biblical jargon will necessarily have the same result as the 1900 peak because the current trajectory coincides with the radicalization of America’s Christian right, whose prosperity gospel  is centered on capitalism.  They seek to change the capitalist order to make extractive capitalists (e.g., oil, gas, mining and agriculture) ascend above the financial capitalists who currently lead dominant capital.  That is, the current trajectory of biblical jargon may indicate a civil war within dominant capital, not society generally seeking to curtail  capitalist power.