When the University of Chicago decided to turn a theology school into a “temple of neoliberal economics”, it only underlines what the Chicago monetarists or Friedmanites are about – privatization of public enterprise, “freeing” markets from usury laws and promoting deregulation – as opposed to the idea of moral justice and economic regulation that Western religion teaches. By economist Michael Hudson.

Many academics recently received a petition signed by 111 University of Chicago faculty members, explaining that “without any announcement to its own community, [the University] has commissioned Ann Beha Architects, a Boston firm, to remake the Chicago Theological Seminary building into a home for the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics (MFIRE) and has renewed aggressive fund-raising activity for the controversial Institute.”

It would be hard to find a more fitting metaphor than what the press release characterizes as “conversion of the Seminary building into a temple of neoliberal economics.” Even the acronym MFIRE seems symbolically appropriate. The M might well stand for Money in Prof. Friedman’s MV = PT (Money x Velocity = Price x Transactions). And the FIRE sector comprises finance, insurance and real estate – the “free lunch” sector whose wealth the Chicago monetarists celebrate.

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