Cavanaugh quote

“Adam Smith’s economy underwrites a separation between contractual exchanges and gifts. Benevolence is a free suspension of self-interested exchange. As such, benevolence cannot be expected or even encouraged on the public level, because the market functions for the good of all on the basis of self-interested consumption and production. Benevolent giving freely transfers property from one to another, but nevertheless respects the boundaries between what is mine and what is yours. In the Eucharistic economy, by contrast, the gift relativizes the boundaries between what is mine and what is yours by relativizing the boundary between me and you. We are no longer two individuals encountering each other either by way of contract or as active giver and passive recipient. Without losing our identities as unique persons – Paul’s analogy of the body extols the diversity of eyes and hands, heads and feet – we cease to be merely other to one another by incorporation into the Body of Christ. In the Eucharist, Christ is gift, giver, and recipient. We are neither merely active nor passive, but participate in the divine life, such that we are fed and simultaneously become food for others.”

–William Cavanaugh,   “Consumption, the Market, and the Eucharist”


1 Comment

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One response to “Cavanaugh quote

  1. I certainly love Cavanaugh’s use of the Eucharist to counter Capitalism, even while as a Protestant I disagree with his theology of the Eucharist! Go figure. I would locate what he calls a Eucharistic Economy in what I’d call a Christocenteric Economy. Jesus Christ himself is our economy.

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