This major work offers an historical description and systematic analysis of the root causes of this global economic crisis, which the authors understand as a crisis of western civilization. Secondly, they assume (and prove) that the religions of the Axial Age were shaped by the suffering of people, deepened by the emergence of a new economy - based on money, private property and interest. They assume that the proven convergence of the Axial Age religions in responding to the social, psychological (and already ecological) consequences of the new economy can inform, motivate and empower faith communities and their members to join hands with social movements towards a new personal and collective culture of life. In part I they show the linkage between the contexts of antiquity and modernity concerning the role of money, private property and the related structures and mentalities of greed, producing suffering, and psychological, social and ecological destruction. They show how the religions of the Axial Age responded to this context in similar ways but with interesting specific emphases. In relation to today's situation we also raise the question of psychological hindrances to change in the different social classes, affected by neoliberalism, and how to overcome them. Before drawing the conclusions for present-day alliance-building between faith communities and social movements for alternatives to neoliberal globalization in Part III they offer a fundamental critique of the ambivalence of modernity in Part II.