Capitalism, & Socialism, Christianity: Many Christians Believe That "Capitalism" Is Immoral. but Such a Belief Represents a Misunderstanding of Both Capitalism and Christian Teachings

By Farmer, Brian | The New American, January 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Capitalism, & Socialism, Christianity: Many Christians Believe That "Capitalism" Is Immoral. but Such a Belief Represents a Misunderstanding of Both Capitalism and Christian Teachings


Farmer, Brian, The New American


One of the most erroneous and harmful ideas of our time is the notion that free-enterprise capitalism and the society upon which it is based are incompatible with the moral standards of Christianity. Indeed, one of the main drivers of the Occupy Wall Street movement is its condemnation of "corporate greed." And before the Occupy Wall Street crowd got going, Michael Moore was condemning free-enterprise capitalism in his spurious 2009 documentary, CapitAalism: A Love Story. In one scene, Moore, one of those so-called limousine liberals who have profited very handsomely in our free-enterprise economy, asked a couple of religious leaders about capitalism. They both agreed that capitalism is "evil," without explaining exactly why. Presumably, we are supposed to understand that Moore provides the explanation throughout the film. (One cannot help but wonder how many religious personages Moore had to interview, in order to get the responses he used.)

In fact, the very opposite of this popular belief is true: Free-enterprise capitalism and Christianity are not incompatible, because the strongest reasons to defend economic freedom and the market economy are related to Christian morality. It is economic freedom and the market economy that the moral standards of Christianity require, not the opposite economic system, commonly referred to as socialism, the welfare state, or some other name for collectivism. At the same time, economic freedom and the market economy require Christian moral standards in order to function properly.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines capitalism as "an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market." It should be noted that all economies require capital, that is, the means of production. The question is who controls the capital, namely, the private sector (free-enterprise capitalism) or the state (monopolistic capitalism).

The same dictionary defines Christianity as "the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies." Free-enterprise capitalism is an economic system based on volun-tary relationships, and is in complete conformity with the 10 Commandments.

Honoring a Christian Covenant

"Honor thy father and thy mother" implies that the family, not the state, is the basic social and economic unit of society and should be the strongest. Throughout human history the most significant provider of social welfare has been the family. The family, in providing for its sick and needy members, in educating children, in caring for parents, and in coping with emergencies and disasters, has done and is doing more than the state has ever done or can ever do. A society characterized by economic freedom is a society dominated by strong family units that provide for their own. Compare that with socialism, whose basic goals, as stated by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto, include destroying the family in the interests of the larger collective:

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  Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this
  infamous proposal of the Communists.

  On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family,
  based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed
  form this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state
  of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the
  family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

  The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its
  complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of
  capital.

  Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children
  by their parents? … 

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Capitalism, & Socialism, Christianity: Many Christians Believe That "Capitalism" Is Immoral. but Such a Belief Represents a Misunderstanding of Both Capitalism and Christian Teachings
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