AbstractFrench economist and philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy has drawn attention to the dominance of society by not only the powers of finance and commerce, but also by economic rationalism, a methodology of maximising profit, rent, utility, happiness, given suitable sets of incentives. Financial markets are largely irrational as they move from major booms into busts and instil a speculative mentality throughout society. Society itself is compared to a supermarket in which we choose from amongst a wide range of closely related alternatives, without having any clue of adverse consequences. This is a form of fatalism. Similarly, threats of major catastrophes are downplayed, including a nuclear conflagration, climate warming and moral collapses, especially individualism stimulated by desire as a key motivator of indefinite economic growth. The author’s proposal of enlightened catastrophism is discussed and an alternative is proposed in the form of enlightened subversion inspired by moves that would strengthen the ability of families and those responsible for managing businesses, education and health to exercise their own vocations in mutual service.
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