Sunday, March 02, 2008

capitalism v. christianity

"It’s hard to deny that capitalism is the best economic system around. It creates wealth far better than feudalism, communism, socialism or any other system one could name. But for all its advantages, capitalism has one major drawback that Kingdom people need to be concerned about: it needs people to stay perpetually hungry for more. If Americans as a whole ever followed Paul’s instruction to be content with basic food and clothing and not pursue wealth (1 Tim. 6:6-11), the system would come to a grinding halt. The undeniable truth is that capitalism runs on greed." ~ Greg Boyd

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ilona said...

"The undeniable truth is that capitalism runs on greed"

Is that undeniable truth? I think that is a simplistic thought that plays to a certain set of presumptions, reactionary presumptions, in our society.

Perhaps the licentious type of capitalism that we often experience is running on greed (certainly), but the system seen in Mosaic law is capitalism tempered with a socialist facet. People owned stuff and they did business. Jesus gave parables that can be understood in the framework of a capitalist economy. I don't think He was promoting a greedy system. What might be considered is why God loves multiplication, and whether we want to lump such a concept in with the sin appellation 'greed'.

Like many things, capitalism is not intrinsically moral, it is how we use it that gives the moral framework. IOW, we are moral or immoral. Communism was run on greed in its practical form and yet the idea of it wasn't intrinsically greedy... It had more excesses than our government system allows in the economic sector. The checks and balances of power are not for the greediness of a capitalist economy, but for the greed and excesses of people who use the vehicle of any system, governmental and/or economic.

Could we have a trimmed down version of capitalism with the virtue of contentment? I believe that is possible. Are we likely to? Given human nature... probably not any time soon, and probably not willingly without a new nature.

ilona said...

Another thought: maybe Americans..."as a whole" are a lot of Gentiles.

rick said...

Ilona - as always, good insight ... thanks.

We are going through a series in our church and small groups called consumed and this quote was in that material. I liked the point that it was scratching at even though overall it felt a bit off. After reading it in our group, someone whole-heartedly agreed and added that Jesus taught communism. That felt very off but I didn't have the words to work through the point.

I like how you put it - thanks again!