by John Ellis
It’s only been seven years since I embraced the truth that capitalism is the economic system that best provides society with the chance to obey the Bible’s commands to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the oppressed. If you’re doing the math, and you know my age (41), that’s a mere 17% of my life. The rest of the time, I was either a child, a burgeoning Marxist, an actual Marxist, or a increasingly skeptical socialist (increasingly skeptical of socialism, that is). My journey to believing that the free market is the best economic system lagged a bit behind my journey from leftist social politics to Biblical social politics (you can read about some of that journey by clicking here).
My belief that capitalism is the best human economic system doesn’t mean that I don’t see its flaws and blind spots. We live in a fallen world that is still groaning under the weight of sin. Until King Jesus returns, people will continue to oppress and abuse other people. That’s not ok. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a best economic system. Capitalism allows people the freedom to create wealth for themselves, in turn creating wealth for all through the creation of jobs and markets. The lightning speed with which standards of living have risen in the West (and now in China) thanks to the free market fits the axiom that the proof is in the pudding.
My economics turning point was working with an older, wiser, and very patient brother in Christ who answered my economic questions, suffered my slings and arrows as I resisted the truth in front of me, and graciously recommended books and authors to read. One of the books that he encouraged me to read was The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk. From there, I read books written by the men profiled in Kirk’s book. Gradually, I began to realize that socialism, and its various iterations, was a denial of the Bible’s anthropology (not to mention the Bible’s defense of private property), and that capitalism has allowed society to care for the poor.
This is a subject that I’ve long wanted to write about, but have waited and will continue to wait. Maybe, one day, I’ll write more explaining some specifics that have shaped my economic theory. Until that day, I encourage you to read the article linked to below. In it, economics professor Dr. Alex Tokarev argues that capitalism is the economic theory that best comports with Christianity. I agree with him, and find his short article thoughtful and helpful. Please click the link below to read more.