I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. This article was written by a Rabbi affirming the Old Testament’s support of Free Market Capitalism.
Here’s a paragraph:
More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor.
Regarding mankind, no theme is more salient in the Bible than the morality of personal responsibility, for it is through this that man cultivates the inner development leading to his own growth, good citizenship and happiness. The entitlement/welfare state is a paradigm that undermines that noble goal.
The Bible’s proclamation that “Six days shall ye work” is its recognition that on a day-to-day basis work is the engine that brings about man’s inner state of personal responsibility. Work develops the qualities of accountability and urgency, including the need for comity with others as a means for the accomplishment of tasks. With work, he becomes imbued with the knowledge that he is to be productive and that his well-being is not an entitlement. And work keeps him away from the idleness that Proverbs warns leads inevitably to actions and attitudes injurious to himself and those around him.
Yet capitalism is not content with people only being laborers and holders of jobs, indistinguishable members of the masses punching in and out of mammoth factories or functioning as service employees in government agencies. Nor is the Bible. Unlike socialism, mired as it is in the static reproduction of things already invented, capitalism is dynamic and energetic. It cheerfully fosters and encourages creativity, unspoken possibilities, and dreams of the individual. Because the Hebrew Bible sees us not simply as “workers” and members of the masses but, rather, as individuals, it heralds that characteristic which endows us with individuality: our creativity.
At the opening bell, Genesis announces: “Man is created in the image of God”—in other words, like Him, with individuality and creative intelligence.”
Check out the rest of the article for more. The New Testament affirms those principles and more. Godonomics are God’s principles for economic development. The New Testament affirms property rights loudly and clearly. Many will say, “Chad, How convenient of you to ignore the book of Acts which is clearly socialistic and anti-capitalism…” Hardly the case. Capitalism is the “free exchange of privately held goods and property.” Socialism is government control over business or commerce. Marxism denies property rights and says, “no one owns anything.” The book of Acts celebrates property rights and the generosity produced by capitalism. Case in point: Barnabus, the son of encouragement. He was a successful businessman who produced, profiting, saved, and gave enormous amounts of his “private property and wealth” to others. He inspired others to give their own money away as seen in Acts 2-4. Everyone began to assess other’s needs and give generously to the needs of both the Christians and the secular needy (impacting the skeptical leader of the land -as recorded by historian Josephus). When Ananias and Sapphira are inspired by this businessman and want to be known as generous. The sell their land (Private property) and take “their earnings” (Affirmed in a few verses by the Apostle Peter) and pretend to give the money away fully. Peter confronts them about… Lying. Not about holding the money back. Peter affirms property rights. Peters says TWICE, the land was yours before you sold it… And the money was YOURS after you sold it. You can do what you want with it… The issue was not about the amount they gave (or didn’t give), it was about the motivation and the lying to God.
Back to Barnabus. Imagine Barnabus giving all his money away totally. It would be an amazing amount of generosity… And then what? Barnabus would need someone to provide for him. He would need to fire all his employees since he sold the farm, the business, the supplies, etc. Wouldn’t it be much better and generous for Barnabus to be generous to everyone by selling products that put others first which enable him to hire people and keep them employed? Wouldn’t Barnabus inspire and equip more generosity by leading by example and giving A LOT away to others and making a means for his employees to make money so they too could continue to give A LOT of money away? Of course. Business and free market capitalism is the engine for generosity. Giving everything away once is alot like Daffy Duck’s famous “explosion” on stage. He drank gasoline, swallowed a stick of dynamite, and then a match… POW!!! He blew up. It was amazing. It was a huge bang!! As his angel floats to Heaven, his friend says, “That was amazing, can you do it again?”
Daffy says, “The problem with that act is I can only do it once.” The same is true of one time generosity and selling all you have. The only exception, of course, is the rich man. If money becomes your god (the thing that is more important to you than God), Jesus will challenge you to give it ALL away. Why? Money, and the love of money, cannot satisfy or play the role of God in anyone’s life.
For more information, check out www.godonomics.com