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CAN CAPITALISM SURVIVE? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jim Jordal   
Sunday, 05 February 2012

CAN CAPITALISM SURVIVE?

By Jim Jordal

"Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You."

Psalm 94:20 (NKJV)

"The scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity."

Psalm 125:3 (NKJV)

"These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies,, And one who sows discord among brethren."

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)

Capitalism as we know it can survive only if it adopts the virtues of compassion and sharing rather than its present vices of greed and deceit. By capitalism we mean, not the simple capitalism of the small farm or industry, but the modern massive predatory global corporation aimed only at making money and caring little or nothing for its workers, customers, or the earth. That form of capitalism is doomed because it either will not or cannot accept the fact that anything but profit matters.

So what virtues does modern capitalism have? Capitalism has been without question an engine of economic growth and prosperity. From the time of its emergence during the Middle Ages it has created wealth, fostered innovation and invention, toppled and renewed empires, brought about the rise of a Middle Class in society, and helped create representative government. But these virtues seem to have disappeared as capitalism has morphed into something beyond the vision of early proponents like philosopher Adam Smith.

Today capitalism has surrendered to predatory forces that have changed its values away from producing for people and building viable nation states through free but not uncontrolled markets, as many early proponents desired. Now production is for maximum profit and return to shareholders at the expense of people and nature. No institution lies beyond penetration by its deceit and perversions---not government, not religion, not business, not the family, and certainly not the individual..

If predatory capitalism does not survive, will it be replaced by socialism, as a considerable number of our people seem to believe? As an economic system, socialism is often worse than the disease it purports to cure. It appears to create economic dependency and to stifle business and impede innovation. The PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) are sad examples of this syndrome. Socialism is not the answer, nor is any other presently existing economic system.

What are the character flaws of global predatory capitalism that make it unsuitable for inclusion in Christ’s millennial kingdom? Which of the seven deadly sins from religious antiquity is not included in the value system of modern capitalism? Is it wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy or gluttony? A pretty good case can be made that modern capitalism incorporates all seven.

More to the point, what of the list in Proverbs (above) of the seven things the Lord hates---pride, deceit, the murder of innocents, conspiracy, quickness in devising evil, legalized oppression, and creating societal disharmony. Which of these is not among the operative values of predatory capitalism?

Capitalism will have to drastically change if it is to fit the biblical criteria for an economic system fit for Christ’s earthly kingdom. The prophet Micah characterizes what sort of economic justice will transpire in Christ’s kingdom. He says, "But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken" (Micah 4:4, NKJV).

Micah speaks of private property held by all citizens for the Jubilee purpose of providing a dwelling place and an adequate income for each family. But the key phrase is that "no one shall make them afraid." They need not fear loss of jobs or income, bankruptcy, devastating medical bills, foreclosures, confiscatory taxation, stock market disaster, inflation, deflation, or any other disaster manufactured and manipulated by the captains of finance.

Capitalism as described by visionaries like Adam Smith has many virtues. But it also has built-in weaknesses that allow unscrupulous persons to bend it to their advantage. We have traditionally used government regulation and the rule of law to tame these abuses. But much of that restraint disappeared with bank deregulation during the 1990s and the 2010 Citizens United Court Supreme Court decision treating corporations as citizens with rights to contribute unlimited funds to Super Political Action Committees. So mega-banks are still only mildly regulated and corporations have free access to the political arena. This situation will create additional movements like the present Occupy uprisings.

God’s kingdom demands a Jubilee economic system, and that’s what is developing.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1978, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved