“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?