Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post Christianity's Case for Capitalism
Created by John Eipper on 08/02/18 4:35 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


Christianity's Case for Capitalism (Richard Hancock, USA, 08/02/18 4:35 am)

The latest issue of Stanford Magazine had a list of books written by Stanford graduates.  On this list, I found God and Business, Christianity's Case for Capitalism, by Robert Richards, published by Xulon press published in 2002.

Robert Richards earned an MBA from Stanford and enjoyed a long career in business, with Weyerhaeuser, with the National Bank of Alaska and with the Commerce Bancorporation of Seattle. He taught Economics at the Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Alaska and the University of Washington. He also studied theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Mr. Richards describes the huge role that Western capitalism has played in raising the world's standard of living. He lists these benefits as follows:

1. Consumers get what they demand.

2. Workers are paid relatively high wages.

3. Job opportunities arise, permitting the poor to become unpoor.

4. Profits accrue to investors in return for risking capital.

5. Abundant public goods and services are produced from taxes on profits and wages.

6. The poor, the arts, and others not directly in the market system or disenfranchised from the social system receive voluntary contributions from workers' wages and from companies' profits.

7. This entire process grows and improves through the reinvestment of profits.

Mr. Richards is not a supporter of Socialism. He says that it features income distribution without regard for income generation and enhances political control. It is a static system in contrast to Capitalism, which is an economic system so structured that the pursuit of one's personal calling accrues to the common good.

In linking Christianity to Capitalism, Richards states that all the apostles were workers.  Christ was a carpenter. The apostles were fishermen. St. Paul was a tent-maker. In Christ's time, a few leaders controlled the economy and the vast majority were desperately poor. He cites many passages of scripture that support business, as long as the businessman recognizes that a person must love God with all of his heart and mind and love his neighbor as himself. One of the world's wealthiest men, Sam Walton, said that he had always been doing the best possible thing for humanity by finding ways to sell higher quality goods at lower prices. He felt that his career had been a ministry of helping people, especially the poor, through the efficiency of his operation.

Mr. Richards does warn leaders of major corporations about receiving inordinately high compensation levels which exceed what is necessary to motivate and appropriately reward performance. He says that the scriptures assert that prosperity is good but condemn maximizing personal wealth.

He says that many Christian clergy have little knowledge of economics and they level criticism at businessmen. In an ideal world, clergy would become economically literate and establish a mission to recruit businessmen to attend and participate in church. Regular attendance at church would in turn remind businessmen of their Christian obligations.

In closing, he quotes Paul's message to believers in Thessalonica: "We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." Such is the Christian basis of capitalism.

This book had a special meaning for me. Born in 1926, I was raised on a ranch from New Mexico and we endured many disadvantages of living without the blessing of modern capitalism. We had no refrigeration, air conditioning, or TV. My brothers and I spent much of our time cutting wood to supply our wood cook stove and our three fireplaces. We milked cows for milk and slaughtered our animals for meat. My mother washed clothes using a washboard and boiling them in an iron pot over an outside fire. She always said that the greatest modern invention was a washing machine. Wages were one dollar per day for work from dawn to dark. We were served by dirt roads which became impassible when weather was bad. We now enjoy all the modern conveniences afforded by capitalism.

JE comments:  This is a fascinating question:  Does Christianity inherently favor any economic system?  Many apologists for socialism/communism cite the communal organization of Christ and the Apostles, as well as that of the earliest Christian communities.  On the other hand, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25) seems to endorse proto-Capitalist investment and profit-taking.

Blessed are the Poor, etc.  Martin Luther said, "Wealth is the smallest thing on earth, the least gift that God has bestowed on mankind," yet we associate his Reformation with the Protestant work ethic.  (Calvin probably had a bigger role than Luther in linking hard work with divine grace.)

So the jury is out.  And why stop at Socialism vs Capitalism?  There was a time when feudalism was considered the "natural" Christian order.  WAISer David Duggan thinks about these things.  I hope he'll join the conversation.

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 175


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (46051 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 US Elections 2020 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who