The Value of Comparison
Peter van der Veer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at Göttingen, Germany and Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University. He is the author of several books, including The Modern Spirit of Asia: The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India.
Market and Money: A Critique of Rational Choice Theory
This chapter argues that market theories of religion that are based on the notion of “rational choice” do not contribute to our understanding of the transcendental value of money and markets in our social life. Such theories depend on a too narrow interpretation of “rationality” and neglect the importance of enchantment in financial transactions, consumption patterns, and religious life. The chapter addresses studies of religion in China and South Asia to illustrate its theoretical points.