Friday, November 07, 2014


Capitalism and Poverty

Kruse Kronicle takes down those that claim "Jesus was not a capitalist." This is primarily a detailed argument with one individual (A good one at that), but I like his conclusion:
I will also agree that change largely begins from the bottom up. Muhammad Yunus uses the image of a bonsai tree. The seed that grows into the tiny bonsai tree is the same seed that grows into the tall tree in the forest. The difference is that the bonsai grows from the limited foundation of the flower pot while the tall tree has the rich foundation of the forest bed. The poor are bonsai people. By improving the soil in which they grow, by instituting property rights and rule of law, by including them in networks of productivity and exchange, they too can flourish as people in wealthier nations have.
There is also a moral argument to be made here. The deeply redistributive acts in the Bible (widows and orphans, etc.) were a) mostly about the giver and b) given to those that had no possibility of producing on their own. Widows and orphans were excluded totally from productive work. Those that could produce were urged to do so and widows that could remarry were urged to do so.

In the end, economic systems of all types are upheld in the Bible. That is, I believe, because God is focused on us and knows that when we get it together, whatever economic system is in place will work justly. The issue for us is what economic system produces the most justice "while we are yet sinners." If we are measuring justice by the greatest wealth spread the farthest, it is pretty hard to beat capitalism. Figures don't lie.

If there is something wrong in "income inequality" it's because of how people behave (sin), not the economic system they are engaged in. The church should be focused less on developing an economic system and more on developing people.


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