return to religion-onlineCapitalism/Communism
Our consumption-based society’s basic assumption: all needs require instant gratification. What we see in our country today is a perfectly good economic process -- the mechanisms for producing and consuming goods -- made into a religion.
Third World poverty is caused chiefly by kleptocratic governments and private interests in league with governments that make market exchange unprofitable. This is achieved by private wealth at the cost of other people’s wealth instead of by working, saving and inventing.
The churches have determined wrongly that modern political economy is incompatible with biblical religion and thus to be dismissed from Christian consciousness.
In the author's view there is no economic theory no matter how farfetched which can justify a CEO’s pay increase in twenty years by a factor of ten. He believes that is grotesquely immoral.
Communism is "the secularized remnant of a transcendent ideal... " There is a better alternative to that now-fading ideology than the hedonism and practical materialism of the West.
Capitalism, consisting of heavy doses of free markets and private capital, coupled with a pluralistic democratic political order, may be the only game in town for creating wealth in ways that satisfy the masses. If this trend is indeed the case, the need for the churches ministry to the corporate world is only magnified.
The author defines economic systems -- Socialism, Communism, nationalization, the welfare state, consumerism, the welfare state, the global economy. He concludes that today's economism is "the most powerful and successful idolatry of all time," and examines ways in which economism destroys both community life and human values.
Economism is leading us into catastrophes even worse that the religious wars of the early seventeenth century and the Second World War in our own. Christians emphasize the positive value of human community, the principle of subsidiarity, preferential option for the poor, and the integrity of creation and the human use of the environment should be sustainable. The policies implementing economism, such as the globalization of the economy through free trade, are diametrically opposed to all of these Christian principles.
Large agribusiness corporations are replacing the world’s agricultural diversity which was useful both to farmers and local consumers, with bioengineered and patented monocultures that are merely profitable to corporations.
How the permissive capitalism of the boom of the late 1990's destroyed American equality.
A review of two books on the financial market and morality. The real debate is not about whether the market economy is desirable or not, but about how citizens should harness the market system to serve ends that they consider fundamental. What goods and services are necessary for genuine well-being and quality of life?
The author reviews a book on the life of Michael Harrington written by Maurice Isserman: Isserman corrects some often-repeated exaggerations about Harrington’s bad relations with the New Left. Harrington never lost his access to the saner leaders of the New Left, and his fame as author of The Other America, which appeared in 1962, gave him an identity to a mass audience.
Norman Thomas’ thought and action was an outgrowth of the 19th-century Social Gospel theology as developed by Walter Rauschenbush. His pacifism had some limitations, and his socialistic stance violated all traditional images of normal socialist behavior.
In its attempt to keep the church from identifying itself with the Nazis the German church distanced itself equally from all social theories and political systems.
A great number of social ills of our times can be laid at the door of capitalism and nationalism, and at the door of the church for failing to teach how to be critiques of capitalism and nationalism.
Boycotting a product made in a sweatshop with unhealthy conditions, underpaid workers and long hours needs to be challenged. But the workers may be doing tasks they prefer over their other options. Public pressure might be better than boycotting.
Socialists believe that there is a fundamental moral distinction to be drawn between a system that encourages people to be greedy and one that instead encourages them to acquire only what they truly need. Capitalism is designed primarily to prevent the objectives which socialists seek, and its adherents will strongly resist the measures necessary to adapt private enterprise to anything seriously approaching a socialist program.
Capitalism must generate a little love and human kindness in order to function in the human interest. At the same time, if an all encompassing socialism has proved too cumbersome, inefficient and corruptible, that does not mean that disaggregated forms of socialism are unworkable.
There is a long standing history of misappropriation of Christian concepts for capitalist ends. The church needs to have a more critical conversation about which parts of economic life contribute to freedom and which do not.
The prevailing attitude in corner offices seems to be ‘grab all the money you can while you can, and don’t worry about little things like ethics, morals or the law.’ The soul of a company should not be the result of a creative public relations campaign; rather, it should be the collective result of the souls of every individual within the company.