MORE THAN any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as . . .
. . . a moral endeavor.
(Aryeh Spero, "What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism," Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2012). Some snips:
Regarding mankind, no theme is more salient in the Bible than the morality of personal responsibility, for it is through this that man cultivates the inner development heading to his own growth, good citizenship and happiness. The entitlement/welfare state is a paradigm that undermines that noble goal.
The Bible's proclamation that "Six days shall ye work" is its recognition that . . . work is the engine that brings about man's inner state of personal responsibility. Work develops the qualities of accountability and urgency, including the need for comity with others as a means for the accomplishment of tasks. With work, he becomes imbued with knowledge that he is to be productive and that his well-bing is not an entitlement. And work keeps him away from the idleness that Proverbs warns leads inevitably to actions and attitudes injurious to himself and those around him.
. . . .
At the opening bell, Genesis announces: "Man is created in the image of God" -- in other words, like Him, with individuality and creative intelligence. Unlike animals, the human being is not only a hunter and gatherer but a creative dreamer with the potential of unlocking all the hidden treasures implanted by God in our universe. The mechanism of capitalism, as manifest through investment and reasoned speculation, helps facilitate our partnership with God by bringing to the surface that which the Almighty embedded in nature of our eventual extraction and activation.
Capitalism makes possible entrepreneurship, which is the realization of an idea birthed in human creativity. . . .
The Bible speaks positively of payment and profit: "For why else should a man so labor but to receive reward?" Thus do laborers get paid wages for their hours of work and investors receive profit for thei investment and risk.
. . . .
No country as achieve such broad-based prosperity as has America, or invented so many useful things, or seen as many people achieve personal promise. This is not an accident. It is the direct result of centuries lived by the free-market ethos embodied in the Judeo-Christian outlook.
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Many on the religious left criticize capitalism because all do not end up monetarily equaly -- or, as Church quipped, "all equally miserable." But the Bible's precription of equality means equality under the law, as in Deuteronomy's saying that "Judges and officers . . . shall judge the people with a just judgment: Do not . . . favor one over the other." Nowhere does the Bible refer to a utopian equality that is contrary to human nature and has never been achieved.
The motive of capitalism's detractors is a quest for their own power and an envy of those who have more money. But envy is a cardinal sin . . . .
God begins the Ten Commandments with "I am the Lord your God" and concludes with "Thou shalt not envy your neighbor, not for his wife, nor his house, nor for any of his holdings." Envy is corrosive to the individual and to those societies that embrace it. Nations that throw over capitalism for socialism have made an immoral choice.