Christian Capitalists? Socialists? Nothings?

I believe that one cannot be a capitalist and a Christian at the same time” (Dread Pirate)

Scholars in the social sciences, including historians, economic sociologists, economists, anthropologists and philosophers have debated over how to define capitalism, however there is little controversy that private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit in a market, and prices and wages are elements of capitalism” (Capitalism – Wkikpedia)

There are also anti-capitalist movements and ideologies including Anti-capitalism and negative associations with the system such as tragedy of the commons, corporatism and wage slavery.” (Capitalism – Wikipedia)

I agree with Dread Pirate on this one, to a certain degree. I don’t think a Christian can use capital to the dis-service of others (like corporate violations of business ethics or wage slavery). Let me explain what I mean.

I don’t mind a Christian person making a living for themselves via their work – this is throughly biblical (ie: the curse on Adam meant we had to work the land). I believe we should all be able to own the things we want to own – from cars, to homes, to computers (after all, we earned them via our hard work). This sense of enjoying what you have earned is a ‘good thing’.

The early Christian community were a unique specimen – and if we could live like them I would be ‘all in’. They took all they owned and ‘pooled’ it together to support the whole community – from wives to widows. They were, for all intensive purposes, Socialists of their era.

I have no problem with either model, we have this one in the West in the 21st Century and they had that one in the 1st century in Jerusalem. Things change people, I like ideals but we won’t exactly be touching that 1st Century idea again…but we should be inspired by it and we can use a lot of it to focus our current system.

Here is where my problem begins, with ultra capitalism that we are now seeing in the West. The question is – how big should a business get? What is greed – 1, 2, or 3 billion in one family? What about the abuses within the profit gain? Capitalism, when we deal with huge corporations, is really a shady arena. We have companies that own dna for example. We have companies that use slave labor (or child labor) to make products cheaper for the West. The fact is, for most companies of scale to stay competitive (as they call it) they need to abuse humanity on some level or multiple levels. This is where I have the problem.

Christians cannot support these kinds of ideals – nor should they partner with these sorts of ideals. I think it better if we all become Socialists, at least we can say the bible has this example (ie: many people thought of Jesus as a hippie in the late 60’s). But this ultra Capitalism, this new breed of greed…we cannot support this and it’s abuses.

We live by the motto ‘do unto others as you would like done unto you’…and this is equality from the gospels. We need to ask ourselves when we hear of such abuses from large corporations in their search for more profit, would we want that to happen to our family?

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12 thoughts on “Christian Capitalists? Socialists? Nothings?

  1. Corporations can’t force anyone to do anything…not really.

    But when teamed up with large governments they can.

    That is the real culprit (large governments) that rule with an iron hand and limit people’s freedoms.

    But…in the end, there will not be lasting peace, nor rest, nor justice in this world anyway.

    That is why Christ had to come and die for us. In Him is the only true peace and freedom.

  2. “Corporations can’t force anyone to do anything…not really. But when teamed up with large governments they can” (Steve)

    Corporations force people to do a lot of things they hate.

    The problem isn’t ‘large gov’t’ – ‘small govt’s’ on this planet that team with big business committ many problematic abuses (some in countries that are 3rd world).

    The problem is the ‘size’ of the business and it’s political sway it now carries…makes me wonder if gov’t’s are not just puppets for the agenda of big business (which is seeking total access to every world market) and not vice versa.

    Whereas Western govt’s make the rules for the free market, they do not understand their lack of regulation is leading to the destruction of many other places on this planet (due to a fight over resources and greed in the West). Gov’t is only as cuplable as the laws they pass…which actually do not seem to be the problem. The problem seems to be the corporations using every loophole in the law for stretching their profit into more power.

    Big business will be the death of this world as we know it, quote me on that one.

  3. What business forces you to do something you hate?

    I can list hundreds of ways that government, teaming up with business, forces you to do this, or buy that.

    But Microsoft, or Pepsi, or McDonalds, or Wal-Mart…they cannot do anything to me.

  4. “What business forces you to do something you hate?” (Steve)

    The food industry, namely meat and dairy market. They are now feeding all livestock with corn feed and sometimes they even feed them themselves (ie: cattle parts). They are pumped with growth hormones and anti-biotics which are not good for our anti-biotic levels. The food is much more fatty than if those same animals ate grass. I hate all of these things…but no one is changing anything.

    Why does business do those things is the big question? Can we blame the govt for the daily operating procedures of the food industry? Gov’t isn’t regulating they feed every animal corn feed. Govt is not backing the idea of growth hormones, they are allowing it, but they do not ask local lots to do this.

    Govt is only culpable in the aspects of the law – in regualtion of the businesses – and that’s about it. If I going to blame the govt I would say they don’t protect the people enough in their regulations on business.

    “I can list hundreds of ways that government, teaming up with business, forces you to do this, or buy that” (Steve)

    Govt is forcing you to buy…wait for it…oh my God…healthcare! Govt is forcing you to pay taxes…don’t those go to better roads and even the police force (to name a few things)?

    Your problem is the power govt wields and I get it, it’s scary. But the govt can be controlled and reigned in by the people (you can vote and even write politicians). However, the real fear people should have is the lobbyists (for business’ agendas) working with Govt. You have to follow the flow of money in this game to find the culprits…and govts are not profit making machines…they pass bills and deal with laws. Corporations deal in cold hard cash.

    Money talks basically, in a free market system or even in a Communist one (ie: China). Govt’s need to step up their game and start reeling in these huge conglomerates.

    I just don’t get your conservative views, they are economically strange to me. There is no proof an unchecked free market in full swing will benefit the people, the opposite is proven more often than not. Do you even remember the recession and how that occured?

    Check into something called derivatives and the unregulation of the banking system…regulation would of helped some millions of Americans keep their money. Instead they all got molested by the banks in a huge profit grab on an idea that was meant to do exactly that. Word to the wise, the derivatives system still exists and has not been regulated…many economists expect their will be a series of crashes if this problem is not fixed – and millions of more Americans will get molested by the banks.

  5. The free market has afforded us the best way of life…ever, in the hisory of the world!

    The government is (mostly) directly responsible for this recession and housing bubble burst. When the government stuck their noses in where they did not belong and forced banks to lend to those who couldn’t afford to borrow…we were off to the housing bubble.

    Why don’t you raise you own food instaed of complaining about it?

    I think the food we buy is awesome. The selection, the ease, the relative low cost.

    You are right, though…we really do see things so differently.

    I thank God for businesses that have made my life better.

    Government is an anchor for real improvement. Forced healthcare will only take more of my money, and limit the choices that I have. Proof? Look at Medicare (in the U.S.). It’s the only pasrtof healthcare that then government currently controls and it is broke and ripe with waste and fraud.

  6. “The free market has afforded us the best way of life…ever, in the hisory of the world!” (Steve)

    Thats up for debate, however I admit it has afforded a lot of good technology to arise.

    You do realize that the free market may be treating us very well but it’s abusing other poorer countries…you know this right?

    If not, here’s how it works. We want a pair of Nike shoes for a cheaper cost so they send this labor overseas to almost 3rd world countries and make them work for what can only be called slave wages (like 10 dollars a day). Then they also give them slum housing/ghetto’s (as they need to move these people from various places in the country to work – who live far away). Top that off, they have factories that are not exactly meeting safety standards or occupational safety. All that so we can wear a pair of Lebron’s!

    Don’t even want to start in on diamond mining or gold.

    “When the government stuck their noses in where they did not belong and forced banks to lend to those who couldn’t afford to borrow…we were off to the housing bubble.” (Steve)

    The govt ‘forced’ people to mortagage a house and get a line of credit? Are you kidding? You living in a country where the govt forces you to buy things? Where is this country exactly?

    The problem was with credit and loaning – which lies securely in the banks laps (who issue credit and loans). They did not go against bills that allowed such lending because they likely helped write the bills. I mean, if the banks and business is not to blame – how come they did not use their own checks n balances on the system of lending to prevent such an action?

    These were the same companies making a profit off of every American that borrowed – they had no real reason to watch the system – their stocks were booming (and they were buying up smaller banks to form mini-monopolies). And when it all crashed – who did they come crying to? Yes, the taxpayer via the govt. They made all their cash on the lending spree and then when everyone couldn’t pay – they still took your money in the aftermath.

    I am not quite sure how one can blame the govt for a system crash that the banks did not even try to monitor. And if they did monitor it, they sure took everyone for a ride on the bail-outs.

    “Why don’t you raise you own food instaed of complaining about it? I think the food we buy is awesome. The selection, the ease, the relative low cost” (Steve)

    But this is the problem with our food, the low cost is due to mass production of that food with the cutting of costs where possible – which equals the cutting of actual health benefits in the process. This is driving up health care costs due to many of the factors of this diet – which includes as the main consequence obesity.

    I could quit complaining (as you call it) or I could ask honest citizens to take a nice hard look at this industry that seems so ‘convenient’ but is actually messing with our human biology and will continue in the end to hurt our health. I think you fail to see this issue is not just about me but about a whole hell of a lot of people.

    “I thank God for businesses that have made my life better” (Steve)

    This is true, we have a lot of advances due to businesses. A lot of these have help make life that much more convenient – and lazy. However, I think there are definitely 2 sides to this coin – and as Christian people we need to look deeper into some of the ethical issues here.

    “It’s the only pasrtof healthcare that then government currently controls and it is broke and ripe with waste and fraud” (Steve)

    Well I don’t know about that – after all – it’s ‘not for profit’ per se (if Medicare functions as socialized healthcare). Healthcare for profit, such a weird idea to me. It’s like having a doctor in the village that can help everyone but decides not to unless he can rich in the process.

  7. After reading much of what Steve believes in regards to government and Big Business its not too hard to understand his theology. Just another sheep ready for the slaughter. Baaaaaaa…….. 😉

  8. Well this question is long and is not simple to answer. But let us be frank. Capitalism is a form of economic wealth-building that modern political-states incorporate to build large amounts of money. The wealth is called ‘capital’ and there is a system that builds capital for a nation-state, i.e., capitalism. The “free market” is most well known term for wealth-building in capitalism but the freedom of that system is highly questionable; that is another topic. ‘Capital’ is not overtly complicated. We have to go back to Marx for the answer. Marx states that there is a reciprocal relationship between capitalists and the working classes, or the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Capital presupposes labour and labour presupposes capital, furthermore the only reason why workers participate in a capitalist system is for their own survival – this can all be found in Marx’s writings. But not in so many words, one hand washes the other in the capitalist system but, and this is the key point, the workers have little power and they do not dictate the rules of the market and of wages, the capitalist and the state have that power. The question is how do workers lessen that capital and state power and then take back their inherent labour-power?

    I can go on and on forever. But in 2010 I am sad to say that we are all complicit in the hypocrisy of global-capital and wealth building. And if you honestly think you are not then check where you get your food, clothes, electronics, and all products that you use on a daily basis. You probably get them at some store that employs low level workers, managers, and is run by an invisible ownership elite. Even then, your products are probably mostly manufactured by some low level worker in China or Eastern Asia, or some other underdeveloped nation. So you see, we cannot escape the invisible hand of the market totally but we can be smart about it. So good luck to you and keep fighting the good fight, and all workers unite. Support your local and global working classes, for that is what Marx was really after you know.

    Marx laid the foundation for both socialist and free market thinkers so do not throw off his theories as mere fluff because most capitalist-economic foundations and socialist-economists have read and utilized Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ but for differing reasons.

    • Oops, I should re-state: ‘wage-labour presupposes capital and capital presupposes wage-labour’. The wage is the thing. Oh yes, the wage. What a great little invention that we all grovel after.

  9. Touche Johnny Bird! Well stated. Capitalism has been so well ingrained in all our public school mind-sets that we now superimpose it’s ideology onto democracy and Christianity. This is a farce, and those who do that haven’t really studied the precepts of their faith, nor the tenets of democracy. Capitalism is inversely proportionate to Christianity; the more a person succeeds in one he eventually falters in the other. The Christian bible states exactly this point. “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) “You will either love the one and hate the other or love the other and hate the one.” It can’t be summed up more straight forward than that…and this came straight from Christ himself, and not from some “Paul-onian” letters. If you are Christian you CANNOT claim mercy, compassion, and “give all you have to the poor,” while at the same time storing up hoards of wealth. Money mongering has been around since the dawn of civilization, and that’s not going to change. What has changed is that we as a people have become better at justifying selfish greed, and “joy of joys!” if we can finally convince people that being wealthy is what God himself desires for us…then we can justify child slavery, or any other sort of human atrocity at the hands of industry…and we do. Bottom line is: as a Christian I don’t have to get into political theocratic arguments as to whether big business “makes” me do “this or that:” It does, and it doesn’t. Or whether government is stepping on my freedoms: they do and they don’t. The ONLY thing I have to decide is what types of behaviors I am willing to engage in and those types I’m not – based on the creed of my faith. And my faith says simply this: I cannot serve God and money. I have to choose between them. It also says that I must treat others with every respect I desire for myself. I am required to work for my pay, because hard work and earning your keep is a basic tenet of Christianity. I am allowed to keep what I reasonably need for current use and to put reasonable amounts in savings for the future. What I am NOT allowed to do is to “store up” surplus needless wealth. I am required by my religion to give the extra away. This is why Jesus stressed the issue when He said that many would call Him, “Lord, Lord!” but unless they fed the poor, visited the prisoner, took care of the sick, and housed the widows, He would say He does not know them. I have a cousin who’s a self made millionaire, yet you’d never know it. He runs an auto service and charges very little increase on parts and labor. So many people come to him because of his ethics in repair, and reasonable charges. This type of honest business has brought him nearly all the business for miles around. THEN he pays his employees more than he pays himself AND he takes a middle class salary for himself and gives ALL the rest away to charities. All of it. You see, God has blessed some of us with the brains and know-how to make money so that we can take care of those who are suffering and less able. I believe this with all my heart and with all my being. Christians need to get back to the belief that nothing belongs to them, but everything belongs to God. Therefore if you’ve been blessed with surplus, take what you need, and give the rest back to God. I’ve had Christians say to me, “Well, what about Abraham, King David, and Solomon? They were profusely wealthy.” To that I simply say, “I am a Christian. I follow Christ, not Abraham, King David or Solomon.”

  10. “This type of honest business has brought him nearly all the business for miles around. THEN he pays his employees more than he pays himself AND he takes a middle class salary for himself and gives ALL the rest away to charities” (Babbie)

    This was also my idea about how to run a business based on biblical ethics. The idea being that we should also treat our employees as ‘equals’ as is required in the idea ‘treat others how you would want to be treated’. I love the idea myself!

    I view the idea about God and money as troubling – a movement in Christianity since the Industrial Revolution and wealth hoarding started to occur. Fact is, money is not really a problem until it makes itself one – and usually when you have a lot it starts to become ‘thee’ problem.

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