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An Other Kingdom by John McKnight, Walter Brueggemann, Peter Block

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INTRODUCTION: CONTEXT IS DECISIVE

Let us begin by describing the nature of the consumer kingdom. We live within a dominant cultural narrative best described as the Free Market Consumer Ideology. This is a totalizing narrative, which provides the water within which most of our ideas and actions swim. The time is right to change the water and thereby the kingdom that it nourishes.

The Free Market Consumer Ideology is an economic narrative in which:

Free means that there should be few constraints on individuals and institutions. It signifies the elevation of individual rights. The freedom to do business and to privatize the common assets such as government, air, water and the land, as it suits us. This appropriated language of economic freedom is welded to the idea of democracy.

Market means that how we conduct commerce is a first priority. It is not just a place of buying and selling, it is a world view. An invisible hand, perhaps an instrument of God. It is touted as the essential element of democracy. If it must be protected by military action at home and abroad, which it does, then so be it.

Consumer means that our capacity to purchase is the measure of our well-being and our identity. That what is essential to life—such as raising children, our health, our safety, our care—can be outsourced and purchased. It also means that whatever we have is not enough.

Ideology means that our beliefs about Free, about Market, and about Consumer are True. Beyond question. Expressions ...

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