Capitalism is Not the Problem
By Paul Hayden
August 17, 2020
I recently read an article that really got me thinking. It is titled: Anyone Who Doesn’t Know The Following Facts About Capitalism Should Learn Them. Everyone should read it!
I would like to take the topic of Capitalism even deeper than this article. Capitalism is not to be a goal in and of itself. It is just a system, a form, a tool or set of tools, if you will.
The Founders of America didn't intentionally create capitalism - they were concerned with freedom. They saw that if they were to have freedom for themselves, they needed to strive for freedom for all. Capitalism was and is an outgrowth of freedom and a striving for equality. The Founders pledged and gave their lives, their wealth, their all - for this dream and concept. Of freedom, not capitalism. For future generations. For us!
Functional, large-scale Capitalism is relatively recent in man's history. It is an outgrowth of freedom and "equal rights." Is it the "best" form of economy? Yes, quite arguably, it is the best, even though it has its flaws and shortcomings. Can you name or show a better system, one that really works?
Put quite simply, after the middle ages of feudalism and monarchies and other forms of government and society, there was an awakening seen during the Enlightenment period of history. There was a yearning in the hearts of common people (most of us) for relief from the caste system, the old feudal systems, where rulers ruled with their own generally self-centered rules. The rich and powerful had ruled over the poor and subservient. There were kings, dictators, czars, slaveholders.
The Bible was translated into the common language of the people, and the people discovered the truth that there was a freedom to be had. It is one of the main themes of the Gospel. But this freedom was not primarily freedom from people or slave-owners or kings - in the Bible, it is freedom from sin that is primary. Though it is not ideal, you can even be a slave to another human and yet be free from sin! (It's scriptural!)
You cannot truly be free financially or socially, without first being free in the realm of the spirit. It is the bondage to sin that ruins capitalism, just as it ruins communism, communalism, socialism, and every other form of human government and endeavor.
Capitalism gets blamed when the problems are greed, thirst for power, laziness, and especially selfishness. The broken, sinful, and wicked hearts of men are really to blame - the desire for more riches and more power - at a cost to others. Just like every other form of government or economy, how capitalism works depends on the character of those involved. Selfishness and other sins are the breaking point of every government or system.
The Bible speaks quite eloquently to this very subject. And it provides the answers as well for the problems.
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
The highest human virtues and character look out not only for oneself but also for those around - your "neighbors."
"Do to others what you would have them do to you." (Jesus, Matthew 7:12)
"Love your neighbor as yourself." - The greatest law, second only to loving God first. (Jesus, Matthew 22:39)
All of you socialists or communists and protesters out there, crying for "equality" and "fairness." When or where has that ever developed in communist or Marxist governments? It sounds good, even great- "we'll all live together and share what we have." Try doing this, even in a small group or a family - see how it works.
The very basic human qualities that could make communism work, really work, are the same virtues that would also make capitalism really work. The founders saw these basic flaws in humans and came up with multiple "checks and balances" that would help this "democratic republic" idea really work. But the flaws always lie in wait in the form of greed, lust for power, etc. Those who largely make up the governmental system (including many lawyers), come in with their own flaws to bypass and thwart the very system that is meant to protect the system and people from those very things.
The U.S. has had arguably the greatest system in history to allow freedom to work, for the greatest good of the most people. Looking out for the "little people" is what the U.S. was developed for! It is not a democracy - rule by the majority, but functions with a rule of laws, that strives to be fair to everyone, equally.
America, the Beautiful! It is such a great nation, despite what so many at this time will tell you. But we need to bring it back to the faith-based morality on which it was founded. This cannot be done by force, but with spiritual strength, with prayer, and with the spiritual qualities of real godly love.
Benjamin Franklin famously said that the founders had created for the nation "...a republic, if you can keep it."
John Adams said that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
God made things to work in a certain manner, with characteristics that we have come to know as "laws of God (or nature)." They are the immutable ways that things work, especially when we are talking about the Creator of the Universe! He made everything - He knows and directs how things should work!
For anyone interested in having deeper understanding of the simple but profound truth about how things work in spiritual terms, read the book of James in the New Testament. It is so basic, and yet so amazingly deep in the truth that it contains. Then look around in the country and the world today, and see if there aren't some answers right there before you.
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
"I was raised by a Christian minister, Kenneth Hayden, until his death when I was 10. Then my mom married a farmer. So I was raised in a very down-to-earth home. My faith has grown through the years, but both in conjunction with the institutional church and through small groups and individuals, including books as well as group settings, where deep, sincere faith is shared that aligns with Biblical truth."