Capitalism as sin...

At a time when Wall Street bankers are amassing more and more– and they do their best to pay little or no income tax. Interestingly many of them are self-professed Christians who attribute capitalism as a system that is compatible with Calvin’s support for pursuit of economic gain to which hard work is seen as a consequence of being one of the elect.

However, the historic experience that we have with capitalism shows that only those who has private ownership of the means of production (like land as a classic example) has much higher chances of meriting profit over the ones that doesn’t which finds many who do not have private ownership working more yet earn only enough to last them until next pay day.

What I find interesting is how many conservative American Christians find themselves in alignment with the political right that wants less and less government control over corporations because the economic system of capitalism is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.

If we take capitalism at face value it seems to imply something like this: It is ok to take the majority of the pie and leave what’s left for everyone to fight over, isn’t that opposite everything that Jesus (and almost every major world religion) taught?

How can a political and economic system that so highly extols the private and individual over the public and the communal find such patronage among a faith that teaches us to always pursue the well being of the Other.

I am not as good at the Bible and theology as many people are but I am quite sure that the Bible makes it clear that we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly.

Maybe the reason why capitalism finds itself quite successful it taps at the heart of how Aquinas defined sin as “the desire for some mutable good, for which man has an inordinate desire, and the possession of which gives him inordinate pleasure"?

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