Thus, some distinctions regarding purist capitalism and the Christian view
of economics are in order. We join in this task in our Special Focus, while
discussing the worldview considerations of economics and its relationship
to governance and freedom.
Some economists admit that their field is just as much a social sciencewhose
core issue is human natureas it is a hard mathematical science, as has
been the predominant view in recent decades. Historians show us that up until
the recent past, economics was inexorably bound up with the fields of ethics,
government and even theology. For example, Augustine and the Bible both say
much about how our view of man effects our view of wealth, poverty and economics
and how these issues relate directly to sin, righteousness, justice and mercy.
According to the 1981 statement by the Institute on Religion and Democracy,
Christianity and Democracy,
"We believe that the personal and institutional ownership and control of propertyalways
as stewards of God to whom the whole creation belongscontributes greatly
to freedom. We note as a matter of historical fact that democratic governance
exists only where the free market plays a large part in a society's economy."
The Church universal is still debating the balance of values like mercy for
the poor and the common good of the majority. Whatever your view, sample our
Special Focus for a (not the) broad biblical viewpoint.
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
Justice, Mercy, and Economics
Professor Paul A. Cleveland
Cleveland critiques what he sees as government's illegitimate use of its
power for the redistribution of wealth, resulting in economic hardship,
societal discord and the loss of freedom. This, he says, is a far cry from
mercy, by which a benefactor willingly bequests, rather than being forced
to give up that which he has attained.
Faith & Freedom Chapter Nine: The Protestant
Spirit of Capitalism
This chapter of Hart's book, online in its entirety here, is a survey of pre-Modern
European economics and culture (serf system, guilds) contrasted with the rise
of Protestantparticularly the Puritanwork ethic. This worldview
features anti-aristocratic independence and free market motivations derived
from an egalitarian view of man that held work as a sacred calling. Hart sees
the burgeoning Puritan experiment in America as a vindication of this system.
A Biblical View of Economics
This article provides a biblical framework for economics by showing how a
biblical view of human nature is key in developing an economic system. The
program also discusses the free enterprise system and addresses the economic
and moral critiques of capitalism.
Money: A Biblical Point of
Christian Leadership Institute
What does the Bible say about money? Is it all bad?
Capitalism and the Suicide
Brian C. Anderson in First Things
Anderson's essay draws from three fairly recent works on economics by Francois
Furet, John Gray, and Francis Fukuyama. They deal with Communism's ties with
the French Revolution, National Socialism, global capitalism and the transition
from the industrial to the information era. All three authors' views assert
deep causal ties between economic philosophies and modern societal decay.
Gene Edward Veith
Veith insists that, "a free-market economy requires a moral culture." The
ill-fated economy of Russiawhich never developed into a market economyprovides
a vivid example of a failure to wed the two.
Wealth and Poverty
What do biblical views of wealth and poverty have to tell us about living
John P. Sisk
Sisk propounds deep considerations of waste and abundance in modern
Two Cheers for Class
Peter L. Berger
Berger, Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston
University, draws from "pre1960s sociology" to question the legitimacy
of our present academic understanding of "class." After commenting on sister
concepts "race" and "gender," he maintains that the class system leaves more
room for achievement and social mobilitya mainstay of capitalismthan
do ascribed systems, in which "the game [of social ordering] was essentially
fixed at birth." The class system, he maintains, is the least distasteful
of our imperfect choices.
Book Review: The
Coming Anarchy, by Robert D. Kaplan
"Call it bracing or call it alarmist, Robert Kaplan has written a contrarian
tract that is a necessary antidote to several brands of optimistic moonshine
about the postCold War world.... Capitalism is not working for the vast
majority of the world's people, he contends, and democracy requires social
circumstancesmainly a stable middle classenjoyed by relatively
few. 'We are entering a bifurcated world. Part of the globe is inhabited by
Hegel's and Fukuyama's Last Man, healthy, well fed, and pampered by technology.
The other, larger, part is inhabited by Hobbes' First Man, condemned to a
life that is "poor, nasty, brutish, and short."'"
Is Love Enough? Recreating the Economic Base of the Family
Design is not merely a scientific question. The reason origins questions
excite such visceral responses is that they have profound moral and social
implications. Pearcey offers fascinating insight into the history of
women's role within the family, and shows how Darwinism influenced early
and Christian Ethics
From Discernment Online, the Web newsletter of The Center for Applied Christian
Ethics at Wheaton College, Illinois. Leads off with the text of a debate held
in 2000 on "The Ethical Challenges of Global Capitalism" featuring Michael
Novak and Ron Sider and moderated by Michael Cromartie. Also includes, Ethical
Questions Concerning the Global Market by Martin E. Marty and two other articles.
and the Poor
A Prism Forum Discussion (Prism is a branch of Evangelicals
for Social Action)
"At a recent conference, Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy
Center stated: It is a settled issue that 'the least of these' among us be
treated with both charity and justice. Twenty years ago in evangelical circles,
talk of justice and the least of these would have gotten one branded as a
liberalmarginalized as a dangerous, controversial radical...."
Go here to see our past Special Focus features.