It seems to me that there is now the assumption of an intrinsic fraudulence in the old arts of civilization. Religion, politics, philosophy, music are all seen by us as means of consolidating the power of a ruling elite, or something of the kind. I suspect this is a way of granting these things significance, since we are still in the habit of attending to them, though they are no longer to be conceded meaning in their own terms. If they have, by their nature, other motives than the ones they claim, if their impulse is not to explore or confide or question but only to manipulate, they cannot speak to us about meaning, or expand or refine our sense of human experience. Economics, the great model among us now, indulges and deprives, builds and abandons, threatens and promises. Its imperium is manifest, irrefragable—as in fact it has been since antiquity. Yet suddenly we act as if the reality of economics were reality itself, the one Truth to which everything must refer. I can only suggest that terror at complexity has driven us back on this very crude monism. We have reached a point where cosmology permits us to say that everything might in fact be made of nothing, so we cling desperately to the idea that something is real and necessary, and we have chosen, oddly enough, competition and market forces, taking refuge from the wild epic of cosmic ontogeny by hiding our head in a ledger.
Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam