The authors examine - following Max Weber - the new religious spirit that seems to accompany the rise of global capitalism. The paradox of simultaneous homogenization and difference, the increase in both wealth and poverty, and the rise of new forms of chauvinism and exclusion amidst a discourse of laissez faire are some widely remarked features of this "new world order". Less often noted is the exuberant spread, at a time of hyper-rationalization, of prosperity-gospels and fee-for-service religions, of occult practices and pyramid schemes; i.e. of the enchantments of a distinctly neoliberal economy, whose increasingly inscrutable speculations seem to conjure novel specters in their wake. The authors seek to interrogate the reasons and new aspects of these events. With specific reference to examples from postcolonial Africa, the authors explore the characteristic ways in which neo-Protestant movements try to encourage an age-old messianic spirit with the singular signs and values of neoliberal enterprise.##
Keywords: neo-Protestantism, Protestant ethic, Weber, M., globalization, postcolonial Africa, neo-liberalism, poverty, wealth, capitalism, global capitalism, chauvinism, 'world order'