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  • Can Christians be Capitalists?

    Last week the American Enterprise Institute hosted Jay W. Richards, visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and author of the new book Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem. The conversation focused on why capitalism and Christianity are compatible.

    Highlighting three of the eight myths surrounding capitalism he makes in his book, Richards explained the “Piety Myth”, which he defines as well-intended people ignoring unintended consequences when searching for a quick fix solution to an economic or social problem. An example of this is the United States enforcing western-style laws outlawing child labor on developing countries where children may work in less-than-ideal circumstances, but are actually safer than alternative work environment. The laws protecting children in developed countries fit their situation, but have proven to have negative consequences in other places.

    Richards also explained the “Greed Myth”–that the essence of capitalism is inherently greedy. Adam Smith, who was a moral philosopher, shows through his works that self-interest is not selfishness. In order for an individual to make money and provide for his family, one must first consider the needs of his neighbor.

    The last chapter highlighted was the “Zero-Sum Myth.” which stipulates that some people only get richer if others become poorer. Richards showed that this is not the case, though, that capitalism is a positive sum-game because both parties are winners. The one who does not necessarily “win” can still improve her condition, therefore benefiting.

    Richards, in his brief but thorough explanation of why Christians can be capitalists, showed that this idea is not rocket science. However, it does take the intellectual fortitude and patience to think through an economic problem and respond in the best interest of everyone involved.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    29 Responses to Can Christians be Capitalists?

    1. MAS1916 says:

      In an effort to reign in 'Greed' the left has created policies that only exacerbate wage disparity between professional and service workers. ( http://www.conservativeblog.thewebinfocenter.com/… )

      Democrats have long made the zero-sum argument to gin up resentment against successful people. They also have used it in a back-handed fashion to gin up resentment against Christians. Richards' piece is a real call to honesty!

      Thanks!

      MAS

    2. Marc Pacchioli, Barn says:

      Not only can Christians be comfortable with capitalism but read former Berkeley sociologist, Rodney Stark's book "Victory of Reason" and see the history of capitalism as it arises and blooms to fruition in the Christian mileau of Italy to Northern Europe and beyond. Capitalism was invented by Catholic monks in Italy to maintain their monastery's. Now there is a little known fact that's been repressed into oblivion by the soul destroying Left.

    3. G Cos, Pittsburgh PA says:

      I have been teaching for some time that the key to capitalism is a Judeo-Christian underpinning. Without it, you run the risk of some of the things we have recently seen in the US. With it though, I believe you get the best system this world has to offer…

    4. Wingnut says:

      Hi

      You DO see the pyramid scheme symbol on the back of the USA one dollar bill, right? You DO see the servitude infestation in capitalism, right? And do you see the "pay up or lose your wellbeing" Chicago mob-like felony extortion widespread within capitalism? Do you see the "join or starve" felony extortion done to the 18 year olds… by this ugly competer's church called capitalism? See how forcing competer's religions onto 18 year olds… kills membership in the cooperator's church (Christianity/socialism)?? Do you understand that AmWay (American Way) (New World Order) got "the exclusive" (legal tender) on the TYPE of survival coupons (money) accepted in supply depots (stores) and leverages 18 year olds into the organization via that felony activity as well? (It puts AmWay-coupon slaving requirements called price tags… on all the survival goods). Do you understand how farmyard pyramids work… from your childhood?? Remember?? Upper 1/3 are "heads in the clouds" while the kids on the bottom ALWAYS GET HURT from the weight of the world's knees in their backs? Still with me? Do you see anything illegal, immoral, or just plain sick… in any of this pyramid scheme's activities?

      Us American Christian socialists are still patiently awaiting the natural fall of the pyramid-o-servitude, or the busting of the free marketeers felony… by the USA Dept of Justice. Us Christians are VERY CLOSE to issuing a cease and desist order until the servitude and inequality goes away… which means it turns into a commune. Commune is a word we LOVE when used in the word "community"… but its one the caps HATE when used in the term "commune-ism". Go fig. PROGRAMMED!!

      Do a Google IMAGE SEARCH for 'pyramid of capitalist' to see a full color picture made way back in 1911, when capitalism was first discovered to be a con/sham instigated by the Free Masons/Illuminati. Folks sure bought into the thing… hook, line, and sinker just the same. The caps didn't even check if a string was attached! Now THAT'S easy fishing, eh?

      Time to level the felony pyramid scheme called capitalism. Abolish economies and ownershipism worldwide, and hurry. Economies just cause rat-racing, and rat-racing causes felony pyramiding. BUST IT, America! Look to the USA military supply/survival system… (and the USA public library system) for socialism and morals done right. Equal, owner-less, money-less, bill-less, timecard-less, and concerned with growth of value-criteria OTHER THAN money-value. Quit doing monetary discrimination immediately, and make it illegal. There are MANY measurement criteria of "value"… not just dollars. Try morals, efficiency, discrimination-levels, repairability, etc etc. Economies are cancerous tumors, and to cheer for their growth… is just insane. Profiting causes inflation, so if caps LIKE inflation, and if they LIKE a terrible time in afterlife when they meet the planet's ORIGINAL OWNER before caps tried to squat it all with ownershipism, then keep it up with the felony pyramiding. I dare you. While us Christians are finally bulldozing that pyramid scheme back to level, lets make servitude and "join or starve" (get a job or die) illegal in the USA, and lets level the architecture seen in USA courtrooms, too. Right now, USA courtrooms are church simulators or "fear chambers", by special design. Sick.

      Isn't that back-of-the-dollar pyramid… a Columbian freemason symbol? And WHERE is the USA gov located? District of Columbia? (Not even part of the USA!). How much more blatant can ya get? The "Fed" runs a pyramid scheme called the free marketeers. If you're using the "federal reserve note" certificates, or using no-other-living-thing-on-the-planet entitles of ownership, you're bought into a servitude/slavery con/sham… called capitalism. Pyramiding 101.

      Larry "Wingnut" Wendlandt

      MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain't Right

      (anti-capitalism-ists)

      Bessemer MI USA

    5. JC says:

      The book author and the blog post author should read "Capitalism : The Unknown Ideal" by Ayn Rand. It lays out the moral arguments for Capitalism.

    6. marcia says:

      proverty is a curse, some teach God's people how to work over those who have money, who have worked for it. that to is a form of greed. some of the most greedy people are poor, go figure. what cracks me up is when people say we need more regulation. you cannot regulate the heart, God turns the heart of a man…if a man is moral, wonderful, if a man's desire is to be corrupt, so he will be. writing laws will never change the inner workings of the desires of the human heart. money in a very big sense a a very big test for the human race, not the systems….

    7. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      We need capitalism, when the seetlers landed in Jamestown and Plymouth they were working for existance, they worked and reaped the rewards, only the sick and aged were excused from work, even children had their chores. Now we have those who think they should reap from the labors of others, even Obama thinks this way. I say NO

      Remember we can change this 2010 VOTE

    8. Mike, WI says:

      I just caught a little of Michael Moore on Hannity last night. His "arguement" against capitalism centered on his Christian "values". I found it interesting, but was left (no pun intended) wondering what system he thinks is compatable with his Christian "values". Communism has no room for Chrisitan religion or any religion for that matter. Socialism and tollerance for religion? So the paradox for Moore seems to be what system other than Capitalism would allow for his practice of religion although I'm sure he sees no paradox.

    9. Susan , Detroit Mich says:

      I am a proud catholic who saw the past benefits capitalism had brought to the Detroit Area. I now I am witnessing the demise of Detroit brought on by the left way of governing for over 40 years.

    10. Taylor Hoynes says:

      Why are we even having a discussion on this? Most of the Founding Fathers were Christian and our Constitution was founded on "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God". We are a Republic Under God with a Free Market Capitalist system. Just a few of God's Word says "be diligent in business"; "bad bad says the buyer and then he goes away and boasts"; "he who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel"; "those of you who are rich, be rich in good works" and many more. It seems that too many churches are teaching philosophy instead of the Bible. Methinks too many Christians hang their brains on a hat rack when they become Christians. Socialism and humanism are a two sided ticket; you can't have one with out the other.

      To be sure we need to take care of those in real need, but one more verse people need to remember is "if he does not work, then do not let him eat". This would eliminate a lot of welfare.

      Taylor

    11. Earl, Queens, NY says:

      Why not be a capitalist? Although capitalism isn’t perfect, I think there is overwhelming evidence to say that it’s okay according to the Bible. With words like rewards and blessings, it’s safe to assume that profits are okay. And why shouldn’t achievers and those who produce prosper? I.e., JD Rockefeller recently condemned profits by insurance companies (see CNSnews). But what did he ever achieve other than inherit millions? Although some people abuse the free market and capitalism, it’s ridiculous to compare anyone who has a dollar more than you to Bernie Madoff. The Bible doesn’t condemn being rich per se, but rather those who worship money as their God.

      But to appreciate the truth about capitalism, look at the differences between our 2 major political parties. The GOP, usually pro-capitalist, is also usually opposed to abortion and in favor of other good moral values. Unlike many phony rich socialist Democrats, Republicans don’t condemn others for being or wanting to be successful. Nor does the GOP want to confiscate wealth by taxing the wealthy to death. (And of course many Democrats cheat on the taxes they advocate on everyone else.) It’s the Democrats who want us to hate anyone who has more than us. Is it not a sin to covet? (BTW – if you must covet, covet the rich Democrats currently in power. Their policies will never let the nation prosper!) Most conservatives, Republicans and Christians are not against a safety net – public assistance to those who can’t find work, the disabled and others going through hardship. However, the Democrats want to make people dependant on government by redistributing wealth from the productive to the drones, or those who don’t want to produce. This goes against my understanding of the Bible – that the able-bodied must be productive. If the able-bodied won’t work, they shall not eat!

    12. Tim Az says:

      Liberals have been engaged in the demoralization of capitolism from the beginning. In an attempt to replace it with the cruelty of socialism. It has taken them over two hundred years to accomplish their goal. There is a solution to this problem. In the process of demoralizing capitolism liberals have exposed their own moral bankruptcy to the citizenry. All we need to do now is ostracize them from every facet of society as the cancer they are to a healthy free society.

    13. Ivona, San Diego says:

      Capitalism, like communism, sound good on the paper. Unfortunately, both theories seem to miss the most important factor: human nature.

      We are designed to want more at least expense. This is how we progressed through the centuries. Greed is a fact, not a choice. Doesn't matter how we describe it with words. As long as a state does not take care of its working (middle) class, there will always be a resentment toward the rich. It is not a question of which party our politicians belong to. As long as they represent special interest at the expense of the middle class, there will always be a sense of exploitation and abuse.

    14. Earl, Queens, NY says:

      Why not be a capitalist? Although capitalism isn’t perfect, I think there is overwhelming evidence to say that it’s okay according to the Bible. With words like rewards and blessings, it’s safe to assume that profits are okay. And why shouldn’t achievers and those who produce prosper? I.e., JD Rockefeller recently condemned profits by insurance companies (see CNSnews). But what did he ever achieve other than inherit millions? Although some people abuse the free market and capitalism, it’s ridiculous to compare anyone who has a dollar more than you to Bernie Madoff. The Bible doesn’t condemn being rich per se, but rather those who worship money as their God.

      But to appreciate the truth about capitalism, look at the differences between our 2 major political parties. The GOP, usually pro-capitalist, is also usually opposed to abortion and in favor of other good moral values. Unlike many phony rich socialist Democraps, Republicans don’t condemn others for being or wanting to be successful. Nor does the GOP want to confiscate wealth by taxing the wealthy to death. (And of course many Democraps cheat on the taxes they advocate on everyone else.) It’s the Democraps who want us to hate anyone who has more than us. Is it not a sin to covet? (BTW – if you must covet, covet the rich Democraps currently in power. Their policies will never let the nation prosper!) Most conservatives, Republicans and Christians are not against a safety net – public assistance to those who can’t find work, the disabled and others going through hardship. However, the Democraps want to make people dependant on government by redistributing wealth from the productive to the drones, or those who don’t want to produce. This goes against my understanding of the Bible – that the able-bodied must be productive. If the able-bodied won’t work, they shall not eat!

    15. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      It is not coincidence if Chritianity fits Capitalism for in its Roots Christianity, far from being a re-ligion (in the sens of those systems with mystificative dogmas,and blood-shed champions)is the structure of Life and Nature. What can be subsumed from that is Nature works inequally;people are different and differently gifted. The urge for overcoming lack and poverty is just natural and normal. From this point of view we can see how the wealth of Gifts and Skills, when in a fertile ground can benefit more than the sole bearers themselves. Therefore Capitalism is just what we need.

      However this doesn't mean that Capitalism advocate evil or can pretend to Reform or Correct the Beast in most of us. Greed, dishonesty and all the others are just intermingled with human nature wherever on Earth.

      What socialist and other communist fail to see is this Positive Inequality among humans and the envious and unjust need to punish those who succeed instead of imitating them.

      This take on a very SIGNIFICANT ASPECT TODAY IN AMERICA BECAUSE IT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE HATEFUL ENEMY USES THROUGH THE SUGGESTION OF ALL THOSE-WHO MIGHT BE SINCERES BUT WRONG- THAT ADVOCATE SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM AND OTHER WORLD GOVERNMENT WHOSE OF AIM IS EXACTLY TO DESTROY AMERICA' SOVEREIGNETY AND THEREFORE POSITIVE AND SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE. Once again the unconscious TROJAN HORSES need to wake up to reality.

    16. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      I think Christians forgot that it was the "love of money" which was forbidden by the Master, not money itself. Greed has been caused by progressive income tax because it has undermined the confidence of rich people. No amount of money will keep you safe from a fascist liberal government. If government takes 50% then price setters have to charge four times as much. You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place! Capitalist Greed is a myth, it was brought on by Socialism. Christians don't believe in theft.

    17. Kelly, Denver, CO says:

      What JC said! I am about two thirds of the way through "Capitalsim: The Unknown Ideal" and it has been a real education. I already supported capitalism, but reading the essays in that book have made me realize I was not a proper defender of capitalism, until now.

      With regards to the selfishness issue, read "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Rand. Not only is it a great book to build self-esteem and promote philosophical and psychological health, it explains how religious morality (including Christianity) or altruism is incompatible with Capitalism.

    18. David Gentile says:

      If people want to know if the Bible is in agreement with Capitalism, the 10,000 page treatise by Gary North, available for free here at http://www.garynorth.com/public/department57.cfm , goes line by line in the Bible and exposes its affirmation of Capitalistic principles. It is by far the definitive work that will answer any question that can be raised about Capitalism and Christianity.

    19. Bobbie Jay says:

      Whoever wants to be capitalists, can be!

      Leon is right. It's the love of money, not money itself. And the love of money is in GOVERNMENT! CAPITALISM KEEPS PEOPLE FREE! FREE FROM GOVERNMENT!!!! …i am not a capitalist will always work for them as long as private industries exist. I WILL DIE BEFORE I AM FORCED TO WORK FOR INDIGNANT, INSUBORDINATE GOVERNMENT OF AMERICA!

    20. Jean Weingartner,Fl says:

      ABSOLUTELY.IF PEOPLE READ THE BIBLE THEY WOULD KNOW GOD LOVES PEOPLE WHO TAKE THEIR BLESSINGS WHETHER IT BE MONEY OR A BUSINESS AND HELP GIVE OTHERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET WHERE THEY ARE.THRU HARD WORK,HONESTY AND SHARING THEIR BLESSING WITH OTHERS.INSTEAD OF BEING JEALOUSE AND HORTING IT ALL TO THEMSELVES IT IS MORE HEART WARMING AND FULFILLING TO PASS IT ON AND GIVE THEM A CHANCE THE OPPORTUNITY THEY HAD.AND SOMETIMES IT ISN'T ALWAYS THRU CHARITY BUT THRU CAPITALISM.

    21. Nate, Columbus Ohio says:

      I've often wondered about the efficacy of arguments against a zero-sum perception of global economics in a world with limited natural resources. Furthermore, at what point does Richard's argument concerning the non-necessity of zero-sum economics devolve to a question of form over function. Even if capitalism does not require the impoverishment of one party for the enrichment of another, isn't that what happens nine out of ten times?

    22. Tim Az says:

      Sadly Ivona espouses the liberal belief that human nature is just too hard to be tempered with moral discipline. So why bother? Just like the child who tells their parent that the devil made me do it so you can't hold me responsible for my behaviors. The reason we are in the situation we find ourselves in is because a certain segment of the population realizes that socilaism does not require moral discipline to function. This is why liberals are desperate for Mao-Bama's hope and change so they can live their lives on the level of base instintcs like Sodom and Gamora.

    23. Bobbie Jay says:

      True Christians of all races and origins, cannot be socialist, communist, fascist, Marxist, dictatorial, or any type of government that denies or removes freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of any human life…

      When Obama stated "America is not a Christian nation," he admitted he is not Christian. His actions prove this to be true as he believes in the weakness of mankind and their dependency to keep him in power. Anything that reminds him of Christianity, he attacks. Personal responsibilities and achievements, charities, abortions etc,… He provides to keep them weak instead of having faith in freedom and strength of all mankind.

    24. Wingnut says:

      Hi again. Not a single other living creature on the entire planet… uses economies, ownership, and/or pyramiding. Its a man-made-up thing. Still think capitalism/economies is "ok" with the Earth creator(s)? Own up.

    25. Christian Church sup says:

      whether the Christian can be capitalists or not, whatever the decision will be.,…. I will respect it, coz' I know that it has good effects for everyone.

      Christian supplies

    26. William Huddleston, says:

      Christianity is a religion that goes well with capitalistic themes. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor and to give, yes, but not the socialistic way of creating equal wealth. In a Christian America, Capitalism would flourish because quite frankly you wouldn't have the number one problem with Capitalism, greed. Employers would treat their employers with the fairness and love they deserve, note I say deserve. If you're a slouch on the job, you get fired. But think about it. Christianity doesn't promote equality in the sense of wealth, but rather in a equal sense of spiritual salvation. Capitalism is good for this country, and seriously if we applied some of the Christian themes within this Capitalistc society, it would work more efficient!

    27. Wingnut says:

      Bill, if you had Christian equality, and we're talking wellbeing-equality and wellbeing Samaritanism here, you wouldn't need economies at all (money, ownership, billing, timecards/wages, or "firing" or "termination"). Businesses are little pyramids-o-servitude… many working FOR others and not WITH others. That's a form of slavery. There's a false deity "on-high" in businesses… and the servants are expected to worship that false deity, OR ELSE. "Or else" extortion is rampant in capitalism. Just open your eyes. You gave me an example of "or else you're fired", yes? And you call that anywhat Christian? UnHOLY COW!

      Capitalism and capitalism buy-ins can't hide behind Christianity, Bill. We REAL Christians see exactly what the capitalism buy-ins are doing to each other, and so do the Earth creators. Nations unto selves don't work, Bill. Only "Team World" works. The pyramid scheme-o-servitude is collapsing, like all pyramids do… including the repeat-failed pyramids-o-servitude that we crushed kids-with as children in the playgrounds. Try level things, not pyramid things.

      Wingnut

      Anti-cap

    28. Wtf says:

      I am going to laugh at all you capitalists when you are all burning in hell for you selfish action. Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth, and he said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a pen than for a rich man to enter heaven. When you treat people like an expense and not like people you are not doing Jesus' work you are doing the work of the devil.

    29. Meat says:

      I noticed this page is ridden with a myriad of spelling errors on very basic words. What does that say about pro-capitalists and Christians? Moreover, how many of you who wrote comments are wealthy? I would also ask how many of you have ever even read the Bible and if you have and still believe in its Godly infallibility I not only question your intelligence but you sanity as well. Capitalism is a zero sum game. It is cruel, unjust, and brutal. It brings out our primitive savage side, not our compassionate, loving side.

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