Economic theory is deeply theological; to imagine otherwise makes it a dangerous knowledge.
Let me begin with a few remarks concerning the figure of Eric Packer in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis. In a certain way, he is not only an allegory of contemporary finance capitalism but also the fallen angel of an illusion—of the illusion that markets and especially financial markets tend towards equilibrium, that they assure perfect allocation and the best distribution of information, that they finally create a sort of social order. This illusion represents the kernel of liberal market theories from Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” up to the present and still characterizes what economists have named the “efficient market hypothesis.”
This theory—which has been developed since the 1970s and became dominant or hegemonic in the knowledge of financial markets—holds (to put it very briefly) that it is financial markets which depict market activity in their most beautiful purity. Unburdened by transaction costs, unencumbered by transport and by the tribulations of production, they are the ideal stages for pricing mechanisms and perfect competition.