capitalism does not work long term. It has one serious problem that
will always tend to undermine it from within.
Free market capitalism has solved the
production problem. It allowed human initiative and inventiveness to
flourish. The accumulation of capital has massively increased human
productivity. Free trade has supported a greater division of labour.
These factors have led to massive increases in the wealth of the western
world. We have moved from a life of subsistence to a world of
prosperity in a couple of centuries.
The problem with free market capitalism than wealth tends to be concentrated in the hands of a few.
Efficient entrepreneurs are rewarded with increasing wealth. That is as it should be. Many use the increase in wealth to expand their enterprise.
Wealth flows to those who already have wealth. Those who inherit wealth will find it much easier to increase their wealth than those with none. Wealth begats wealth.
The corrupt, crafty and unscrupulous will often do even better. They will often manipulate and swindle the less misfortunate to defraud them for their own benefit.
When wealthy people collude with political rulers, the flow of wealth to the rich and powerful is really boosted.
Some wealth trickles down to those at the bottom, but the flow up is far greater.
When governments produce economic depressions, the poor usually suffer the most.
Secular capitalism increases the wealth of most people in society, but it also produces increased inequality.
Inequality of income becomes a festering sore the weaken society.
Secular societies have come up with two solutions to inequality.
The most popular solution to inequality is progressive taxation. This solution is immoral. There is not moral basis for confiscating the wealth of the rich and giving it to the poor. The other problem with this solution is that progressive taxation destroys many of the incentives that have made free-market capitalism so productive.
The other popular solution is revolution: shoot the rich and let the poor grab what they can. This solution is immoral and destructive. Revolution destroys the productive capacity of a society, so it generally makes everyone worse off.
Secular solutions to inequality have failed. The Bible provides two solutions.
In Old Testament times, the main form of capital was land. The Jubilee laws ensured that land remained reasonably evenly distributed across the entire population. If a family became poor and sold their land to settle debts, the purchaser of the land was required to return it to the original owner in the jubilee year. This mean that the distribution of income generated wealth was distributed evenly again at the beginning of each new generation.
The New Testament brought an even better solution to the problem of inequality. Acceptance of the gospel of Jesus leads to a great outpouring of giving that can counteract the flow of wealth from the bottom to the top.
Paul explained Godís will.
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality (2 Cor 8:13).
God does want those who have much to get more and those who little to get less. He prefers the opposite; that everyone should have what they need and no one should have more than they need.
Christians should not hand out money and property willy nilly. Deacons have an important role in ensuring that wealth is not wasted. They will direct capital to those who could use it wisely. They will teach poor people how to live carefully and productively.
The major flaw with secular capitalism is the increasing inequality that it inevitably produces. Free-market capitalism needs to be tempered by
generous Christianity for long-term success.