On defending your economic views: an internal memo for the Christian capitalists {part 1}

A while back, President Obama gave a speech about the minimum wage. Then Pope Francis did his thing. Add a dash of social media, a community with (apparently) very wide-ranging economic views, and stir. Voila, you have me with opinions.

I honestly believe that truly free markets are better than any alternatives we've yet seen in this fallen world, but I have a hard time standing with many of the people who defend them. I also can't stand with people who oppose them, so I'm over here in a corner. The wind is howling, and as I tuck my scarf tighter around my ears I'm starting a series of posts to explain why I don't want to stand over in the defense camp.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping to tease out my two main difficulties with defenses of capitalism. The first is the Darwinian language used to describe the operation of capitalism and the way that market forces ensure the survival of the "best" businesses. The second is the use of "two-consenting-adults" language to defend agreements, especially between laborers and employers. A third area of difficulty, not directly related to the language used in defending capitalism, is a common assumption that man is an entirely rational creature - an assumption which frequently ignores the power of advertising to sway consumer in ways that are contrary to their good. Finally, I'll make a couple suggestions. It's not fair to criticize without offering something of your own now, is it?

1 comment:

donj said...

Three explicit assumptions of conservative economics: Man acts in his own interests, man is generally rational, and man makes mistakes (he is not perfect or wholly rational). Of course, an unspoken assumption is a general Christian view of the world. It is the framework within which Classic free market thinking was formulatd and nurtured.