Does capitalism promote greed? Is wealth a bad thing? And can a person follow Jesus’s call to love others, while also supporting capitalism?
Author and scholar from the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics Jay Richards has addressed these questions and more in his book . We welcome Jay to talk wealth, poverty, morality, and faith – on this latest Connecting Faith.
We tackle the first question off the top of the program – does capitalism in fact promote greed? There is no evidence that is the case, says Jay. The human race is instinctively greedy, of course, yet the capitalist system requires a patience and a delayed gratification that doesn’t comport with greed. To build the capital to succeed in a free market system, an individual or a business needs to look to the long term good, not the momentary gain.
Jay notes that wealth isn’t simply transferred around. He looks at the often-cited income gap between the wealthy and the poor. Individuals aren’t building wealth by taking it from those who have little – that’s called theft.
It’s a simple fact of history that free markets have powered the most successful economies, and it is also the case that the only real solution to poverty is economic wealth.
We dig into the economic value of labor & the impact of minimum wage laws. Then we connect our faith to our economics.
“For a market economy to work, most of the people in the population need to be virtuous.”
As people of faith, we can see that so many are trying to fill a God-shaped void in their life with money and things. That attitude makes money an idol. Economists know that humans can create wealth, but what they don’t know is that God created us in His image to be creative. Thus, our faith makes it possible to gain a healthy view of economics.