8/13/2006

A Biblical View of Economics:

What's In The Soul Of Your Moral Wallet?

I was doing some research on economic theory regarding laissez-faire capitalism and its social impacts and came across this interesting overview by Kirby Anderson. The author points out some interesting comparison between Christian morals and the economic theories of capitalism.
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Capitalism: Moral Critiques

One of the first moral arguments against capitalism involves the issue of greed. And this is why many Christians feel ambivalent towards the free enterprise system. After all, some critics of capitalism contend that this economic system makes people greedy.

To answer this question we need to resolve the following question. Does capitalism make people greedy or do we already have greedy people who use the economic freedom of the capitalistic system to achieve their ends? In light of the biblical description of human nature, the latter seems more likely.

Because people are sinful and selfish, some are going to use the capitalist system to feed their greed. But that is not so much a criticism of capitalism as it is a realization of the human condition. The goal of capitalism is not to change people but to protect us from human sinfulness.

Capitalism is a system in which bad people can do the least harm, and good people have the freedom to do good works. Capitalism works well if you have completely moral individuals. But it also functions adequately when you have selfish and greedy people.

Read complete article.

5 comments:

Gree D. Mann said...

JPN,
You said: "The goal of capitalism is not to change people but to protect us from human sinfulness."
I've never heard that from any capitalist. What I have heard is the goal of Capitalism is to make a profit. You must be taking to one of the Faux Capitalist.....

JPN said...

I believe the author of this article, Kirby Anderson, said that in this article. Here's more context surrounding his statement:

"Because people are sinful and selfish, some are going to use the capitalist system to feed their greed. But that is not so much a criticism of capitalism as it is a realization of the human condition. The goal of capitalism is not to change people but to protect us from human sinfulness."

"Capitalism is a system in which bad people can do the least harm, and good people have the freedom to do good works. Capitalism works well if you have completely moral individuals. But it also functions adequately when you have selfish and greedy people."
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I think Anderson makes a very important point -- especially in light of the the free-market, laizze-faire discusions we've had here. Adam Smith's "guiding hand" isn't one hand, I think it's everybody's hand. Some hands are greedier than others, some are chipled and missing fingers and some hands are attached to blind people. Adam Smith talked about perfect competition not greed-drive capitalism where the strong bully the weak into the submission of corporate sharecroppers at the mercy of the company store.

Anonymous said...

jpn supporting capitolism? Who are you, and what have you done with the real jpn?

JPN said...

I believe I would be accused of favoring social democracy as to laizze-faire capitalism and Marxism. At OTBL that would make me a Marxist along with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bush 41, Kitty Rhoades and Shelia Harsdorf.

AndyRand said...

JPN,
I still believe in the evil 3 fingered
hairy claw of the market and I'm sticking to it.