Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Capitalism - Worth two cents?

Here are my two cents worth on capitalism and its incompatibility with Jesus' teachings (Matthew 6:19-21, Mark 10:20-25, Luke 16:13-15 and John 13:34-35):
  1. Capitalism is unsustainable. Capitalism is intertwined with materialism and the making/selling/buying of stuff. Advertisers promote the need for this stuff when in fact they are just appealing to want and desire. Our current level of consumerism is killing the planet and humankind along with it.
  2. Capitalism is based on profit. But what is the right level of profit? Raw capitalism (anarcho-capitalism) says the market will determine at what price a product can be sold and at what cost it can be manufactured (and hence the profit). However, what if there are few competitors around for an innovative product, such as a new medicine? Surely the Christian way to do things is to listen to our conscience rather than following the crowd or market e.g. price a new medication at the lowest possible level to maximize its accessibility. This is called a non-profit business. Not very capitalist.
  3. Capitalism is unfair on the workers. To keep costs down businesses pay the minimum to their employees, whilst at the same time paying the maximum to the owners or shareholders. A worker cooperative is fairer on the workers as the business is owned by them. One such example is the very successful John Lewis Partnership.
I do not suggest state socialism or communism is the answer either. All political systems imposed from above are doomed to failure. Hence I'm an anarchist, or more specifically a Christian anarchist.