Philip Goodchild’s new book, Theology of Money, promises to be a rich investigation into the spectral power of money. Just thirty pages in to the book and I’m reminded why I moved to England to study with Goodchild; Goodchild has the ability to make clear complex movements of thought through a process of crystallization. While he may not be held in the same light that Deleuze scholars like Daniel Smith are, his thinking is an actualization of Deleuzian meta-philosophical concepts.
What I find attractive about the book so far is its refusal to give its subject over to idealism or materialism, or to any other form of dogmatic thinking in general. For those who have read Goodchild’s various articles in Telos, Theology and the Political, and Ecotheology, all written after the publication of his Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety, the book will present some familiar themes. He repeats his ecology of money showing the rootedness of money in concrete relations; concrete relations that ultimately make the current economic system mathematically incompatible with the real ecological situation of the earth. Also familiar will be the investigation into the religious ontology of money that shows its immaterial pervasiveness in questions of belief and obligation. What seems, so far, to be one of the more interesting notions is his development of the notion of money as concentration of political energy in a development of political theology far beyond its current configuration.
Ultimately the book should be read as a new Phenomenology of Spirit. Granted Goodchild is not a new Hegel, and for that thank God, but this book gives us concepts adequate to the material reality in which we live and breath. A material reality that no longer leads us to say that spirit is a bone, but rather that money condenses the spirit of capitalism.