Christian Capitalism-Part II
"Part I Christian Capitalism?"
First let's define some terms:
Capitalism : noun-an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditions
Socialism: an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels.
Communism:advocacy of a classless society in which private ownership has been abolished and the means of production and subsistence belong to the community.
I got these from Word Reference.com
Capitalism in it's present form depends on either market forces or the generosity of the capitalist to improve the lives of the proletariat. Say this with me: Trickle down economics is as big of a myth as the easter bunny.
Now don't we feel better admitting these this?
But from what I know of the other two, they don't have the economic vitality of capitalism*
. Some would say that communism brings the same sort of poverty just divided across the lives of more people, you know, we're all miserable together?
I find myself wondering if the problems of capitalism are more of a Dickensian problem than the basic economic design. When I say this I am thinking about the best thing that Dickens ever wrote, A Christmas Carol
. Bob Cratchet is an excellent example of the working poor today, he's doing the best he can, just on the edge of being lower middle class, but always struggling to make ends meet, unable to afford health care for his children. His employer is obsessed with nothing else but profits, he does not care about who works for him, or their situation in life. When Scrooge trades in commodities he does not care that gouging the price of wheat will affect the poor negatively, and he does not have even an inkling of what it is like to be poor. When he is visited by Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas, he is essentially born-again as a man with a soft and pliable heart finally open to humanity. He adjusts his worker's wages to be generous, he takes a real interest in the health of tiny Tim. He becomes "As good a master, and as good of a man as the good old city had ever known".
This is what I mean by Christian Capitalism, the idea that making profits is of secondary importance to how you treat the world around you, how your business affects the world around you. When Scrooge remembers the kind and equitable treatment he recieved working for Old Fezzywig he remembers how often he had mistreated Bob Cratchet.
Contrary to how some people speak, the bible does not say that being poor is a sin. It acknowledges that we will have the poor with us always. It says that it is a sin to live your life without regard for the poor around you. It also warns the rich to be careful in the position that they have been given, and to not let money get in the way of spirituality.
The idea that hard work and prosperity are evidence that God loves you is a Calvinist idea and has infiltrated the consciousness of the American psyche. The ideas of Martin Luther, that a relationship by faith, not works are the basis for God's blessing, is the more accurate in my opinion, and does not lead to this obsession with proving that you are approved by God when it has already been done.
Part III coming in the next few days....
*maybe that is a good thing-our standard of living is way inflated and unreasonable in my opinion. If it is true that Europeans in socialized countries get free healthcare, great public transportation, free education and guaranteed pensions for more taxes, I'd be in favor of that. At least I could see my tax dollars being used in a more equitable way.