Wednesday, November 26, 2008

God and Free Market Capitalism

There seems to be an assumption in many Christian circles, especially in the US, that God would be a free-market capitalist. (In the UK, people assume that God would be some kind of moderate socialist. Both seem to be completely wrong.) Here's a bit of Amos 8...

Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land,
saying,
"When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?"—
skimping the measure,
boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat.

The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: "I will never forget anything they have done.

Amos 8:4-7, NIV

Isn't it interesting that Amos condemns in the same breath practices we would agree are immoral, like cheating with dishonest scales, and practices we would assume are perfectly legitimate, like boosting the price and looking forwards for opportunities to make more money?

Of course, I'm fairly sure that God wouldn't go down the statist redistributive route either - it quite clearly encourages laziness.

The sort of economic model God seems to be encouraging here is one driven by the priority of worship and rest (New Moons, Sabbaths) as well as hard work, and one driven more by love and concern for others (especially the poor) than by desire for profit and growth of the economy.

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