Politically, knowledge has, over time, moved from the hands of the few to anyone connected to technology. Knowledge has always been a commodity, but is now more so, as it is disseminated by mass media and linked to advertising. Since knowledge is also power, the state and news agencies now have to share their power (to control information) with citizens who can quickly obtain information from numerous sources.
Another positive trend encouraged by postmodernists is that of the Internet-created potential for sharing information with the disenfranchised, along with creating the opportunity for anyone to be an author and/or editor. The negative side of this is that with fewer restrictions and oversight, the integrity of the information authored and edited can suffer.
Summary of Knowledge and Worldviews
Given/revealed by God/Bible
Communicated in narrative form
Good, but wisdom is better
Transmitted by language
Good for its own sake
Equated with science
Nothing can ever be truly understood
Like a rhizome
Should be available to all
Money and Economics
The Christian worldview about money includes more than a few important points: God is our provider; we are merely stewards of His money; wealth is a reward for hard work and righteousness, but greed is seen as leading to evil; charity should be shown to those less fortunate; idleness is discouraged; wages and market weights/scales should be fair; workers should not be oppressed; usury is discouraged.
Some modernists reject capitalism as oppressive, seeing Marxism instead as supporting the common worker and the disenfranchised. On the other hand, consumer capitalism and conspicuous consumption have been embraced during the modern era.
The postmodern economy is a global economy, associated with outsourcing and free trade agreements. The downside is that consumer demand for inexpensive items can promote exploitation of workers overseas, and eliminate local jobs. Prosperity is seen as somewhat suspect, especially as experienced in larger, more dominant nations. More locally, this idea of unmerited prosperity is related to the concept of “income redistribution” which is growing in popularity in the US. This is the feeling that “rich” companies and socioeconomic groups (which may include the middle class), should be more heavily taxed so that others (not necessarily the indigent or helpless) might reap the benefits of social services or additional employee benefits funded with this money. There are several problems with this idea. First, it removes the incentive for individuals (the more heavily taxed) to work, and secondly, it removes the incentive for companies to invest or hire new employees. As an example, if additional employee benefits are mandated for employers, employers hire fewer employees to compensate for the expense. This is obviously a complex subject that can’t be fully discussed in this article.
On the other hand, there is a postmodern distrust of consumerism that extends also to global consumerism. In fact, all economic systems are distrusted and viewed as oppressive.
Marxist and literary critic Fredric Jameson associates postmodernism with “late capitalism“ in many of his writings. His views about late capitalism cannot be fully explored here, but are associated with the decline of institutions and the breakdown of previous economic systems.
Summary of Economics and Worldviews
Hard work is rewarded
Wages should be fair
Greed is a sin
Charity to those less fortunate
Science = progress and mass production
Capitalism is oppressive
Marxism is superior
Consumerism is a trap
All systems are oppressive
Politics, Culture, and Society
The Christian and modernistic political worldviews are essentially pro-order, but with some differences. Moral leadership is a necessity for Christians, as is freedom of religion. Harmony between governors and the governed is sought, with the sense that leaders should be motivated by a sense of service to others. Modernity, on the other hand, “is fundamentally about order: about rationality and rationalization, creating order out of chaos,” according to Mary Klages.
Postmodernism, on the other hand, rejects all political systems, seeing them as oppressive; promotes instability, and seeks decentralization of all types of power. Stronger, Western nations are labeled as imperialist if they attempt to influence other nations, although this label was once reserved for empire-building nations. Perhaps all countries could be labeled as imperialistic today, since politics is all about influence.
According to Wikipedia, the postmodern movement
“has had diverse political ramifications: its anti-ideological ideas appear conducive to, and strongly associated with, the feminist movement, racial equality movements, gay rights movements, mo
st forms of late 20th century anarchism, even the peace movement and various hybrids of these in the current anti-globalization movement. Unsurprisingly, none of these institutions entirely embraces all aspects of the postmodern movement in its most concentrated definition, but reflect, or in true postmodern style, borrow from some of its core ideas.”
A major problem with the politics of postmodernism is that it promotes instability within society. Change is essential and healthy, but rapid, poorly planned social and economic changes can have long-lasting and devastating effects. Another problem with postmodern politics is that truth suffers from the censorship of political correctness, as mentioned previously. Political correctness tends to be mass media driven, as are other fads in thinking. It might be interesting (in another forum) to study how the rejection of truth and inability to think analytically are related to societal and political instability.
Summary of Politics and Worldviews
Governments should express Christian values
Freedom of religion
Individual is important
Leaders/rulers should serve the ruled
Respect for authority
Order is good
Science can promote social order
Oppressive governments should be overthrown
All systems are oppressive
“Subjects” are unaware of being exploited
“Think globally, act locally”