Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Quick Thought on Capitalism

Capitalism is built on the principle of greed. It suggests that greed will motivate people to earn more money, and not make bad decisions because nobody wants to lose everything. In this system obvously there will be rich and poor, because not everybody is as motivated, but according to ones ability and giftedness they will be able to make money.

Communism, often seen as a great evil, is built on the concept that all humans are equal and should be equal. It believes that everybody gets an equal cut of the financial success of the country. This system is usually less productive, but it also attempts to eliminate the divide between those who have and those who do not have.

Now I am not attempting to suggest that we should be communist, or even promote communist princples. I just wonder why as Christians we are so determined on supporting capitalism when it is founded on a principle that is so obviously anti-Christian?

3 comments:

David Goran said...

Dan - Always interesting to think about, especially now that we're living in an ex-communistic country and seeing it continue to struggle and fall further behind as it tries to become capitalistic. You would think that all people over here would hate communism - but not everyone, they just did not like how it was implemented.
Shannon

stephencady said...

I'm not totally sure how to respond to this post because I always appreciate when Christians are reminded that we are empowered live like Christ in his indiscriminate selfless love and sacrifice, so I do not want the criticism that follows to be directed at that.

But I do not feel like that is the full intention of this post. I would characterize communism and capitalism by who has control over property, not by characterizations of greedy and equal.
The problems with communism and capitalism from the Christian perspective are the same: they are systems of human organization that cannot protect against all abuses of human dignity. In communism God's image in humanity expressed by the ability to give and create is suppressed in the same way as sinful greed; capitalism is a vehicle through which both altruism and greed can freely function as motivating forces for the good and the bad (and the jury is still out on whether virtue is or isn't cultivated by a capitalist system).

The reason I wrote was not to defend communism or capitalism, although you may sense that I have some bias, but to clear some distortion of the issues. It's hard not to have opinions, but as Christians we have a responsibility to be salt and light that does not take dogmatic sides (which I don't think you're doing, just explaining my ideal approach) as much as it points to the truth of the Gospel. This is peacemaking, and its done by using our faith and theology to lead those in the debate to an option that addresses specific needs of specific people, not an option that proves to others consistency in and allegiance to a specific system.

Thanks for always making me think, and provoking me to work through some issues for myself. I'm in college, so its good for me to have a place to do that. ;) If you are interesting in reading more about this issue (I haven't had time to dive into this yet but hopefully will soon), check this conversation out: Does the free market corrode moral character?
http://www.templeton.org/market/

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