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Capitalism

November 12, 2013

capitalismThe setting

There are enough resources for each to have enough.  These resources are not shared equitably.  Human aspirations aim higher than the available resources.

CHOICES

Capitalism

Private ownership by those with capital (privatisation). ‘Enlightened self-interest’ of the rich will ‘trickle down’ and benefit the poor, e.g. creating jobs for them; by keeping prices down through competition.

Socialism

Society owns via. government on behalf of the people (nationalisation). The government will decide what is best for widest interests, bailing out ailing companies with profits from successful ones, preserving jobs.  People working for their country and, thereby, each other, rather than some rich boss.

Communism

The workers own the means of production (workers’ co-operatives), i.e. the building, machinery &c. and share in profits. Thus work for themselves and each other and involved in decision making.

In wartine

State ownership/co-ordination or emergency socialism.

Mixed economy

Britain traditionally had some essential services, e.g. electricity, gas, water ‘nationalised’ and others private.  Conservative governments have privatised many state services, labour governments have nationalised them.

BIBLICAL INSIGHTS

Jubilee principle in Leviticus assumes there is no private ownership. God owns land, people have leasehold.  As rich/poor gap widens, fresh start every 50th year.

Riches in OT seen as gift from God, reward for hard work.  Not disposable at will however but owner is to be responsible trustee. In 10 Commandments, theft is an assault on God’s choice of trusteeship.

FOR

It aims to increase living standards for all.

There is economic freedom – to get wealth, to use entrepreneurial skills to decide how to spend.

Competition keeps prices down.

People deserve money they’ve worked hard to get.

It is an incentive which motivates others to work hard.

It keeps taxes low so that the rich can invest excess wealth to create more jobs.

AGAINST

Efficiency is achieved by unemployment

Low taxation means less to spend on welfare services, e.g. NHS

Low taxes may result in excess wealth being spent abroad or on machines rather than workers.

It creates a social class system; in sight of God, all are equal, Paul tells Philemon to value his slave Onesimus, in I Corinthians he has the image of the Church as a body in which all limbs and organs are needed (the church is meant to be a model for wider society).  In OT, God shows a bias towards weak and vulnerable whereas capitalism seems biased towards rich and powerful.

People seem disposable in interests of efficiency, slimming down companies, yet humans in God’s image, not disposable assets.

Race in which the rich have a head start.

‘Freedom’ is only for the rich who have the cash to spend.

Many inherit wealth rather than earn it by their own hard work.

It is the workers who work hard to create the profit for the rich boss.

‘Enlightened self-interest’ could be another name for ‘greed’, one of the 7 deadly sins.

Competition is often pegged by monopolies.

‘Laissez-faire’ economics seems to go against God’s intentional bias towards the poor.

‘North’s’ wealth is parasitical upon the South/3rd world.

In the interests of ecology, expansion/growth will need to depletion of raw materials; we need to cut down living standards, not raise them.

Seems to be based on materialism (the very criticism capitalists have of communists.)

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