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Line vs. Market Culture

Have you ever thought that things like V.I.P. access, preferred customers, premium memberships, special rush services, and in general things that you can pay to get ahead of others, have no difference, in principle, from the uncivil behavior of scrums elbowing one another to cut in lines? New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas argues so:

“A line conceives of people as citizens, presumed equal, each with an identical 24 hours a day to spread among the lines around them. A market conceives of people as consumers, presumed unequal, with those who can pay in front of the others. It allocates efficiently, but it eliminates a feature of line culture: the idea that, in line at least, we are no better than anybody else.

In a way, the market’s spread is a return to another kind of scrum, one in which financial, and not physical, might means right.

Getting in (and Out of) Line by Anand Giridharadas (New York Times, Aug 7, 2010)

When the church succumbs to the market model and treats people fundamentally as consumers, inequality and privileged access becomes an inevitable consequence. Think about how big donors often receive the honor to sit in the best seats in events and treated with extra sensitivity.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism…… But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (James 2:1, 9)

Posted in Church, Posts in English.

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