I know the words capitalism and socialism are not in the Bible, but that does not mean the Scriptures are silent on the underlying principles that make for a sound economy. And in the current cultural climate these two systems are challenged and competing.
Capitalism and socialism defined…
Capitalism supports the concept of private ownership and the freedom to pursue wealth; socialism dictates government ownership of property and production for the redistribution of wealth. Believers should be asking which of these two systems are supported by biblical principles.
Though the Scriptures do not proscribe any particular economic system, they do provide us with some economic principles that have proven to be highly effective for prospering in a fallen world. To ignore those principles could be detrimental to our financial health individually and our standing as a nation in the global community.
The Eighth Commandment in the Decalogue says, “You shall not steal.” The Tenth Commandment is an imperative against greed, “You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor,” Exodus 20:15 & 17 respectively.
The biblical prohibitions on stealing and greed…
These two verses show the right to personal ownership of property that should not be taken by another, and we should guard ourselves from greed that would lead us to kill, steal, or lie to take what belongs to another. Biblically speaking, even the government does not have the authority to take what belongs to an individual.
Here’s my favorite socialist argument, “Capitalism fuels greed and if the Bible prohibits greed then its wrong.” Capitalism breeds prosperity; it is man’s sin nature that fuels greed. And while we are here, it should be noted that it is greed that motivates the socialists to steal the wealth amassed by others to redistribute it to whom they please.
When Jimmy Carter was president he visited the former Soviet Union and while there asked to tour the country and speak with some of it’s citizens. The Soviets obliged but it was clear that the people Carter spoke with had been coached how to answer. While speaking with a factory worker who lived in a nice home and seemingly living a moderately modern and comfortable life, Carter asked him what would be a common question for the average American. “What will be your next major financial purchase?” A look of fear spread across his face, it was clear he had not been coached on how to answer such a question. He eventually replied, “a pair of shoes.”
If socialism is so superior and capitalism is so impractical, why…
If socialism is so superior and capitalism is so impractical, why do we have an immigration problem on our southern border? Why do starving and destitute socialist nations look to us for food and financial aid? Why did the Soviet Union dissolve and Venezuela collapse under socialism? Why did China forsake socialism to embrace capitalism? Why is it that people will risk their lives to flee socialist oppression for the opportunities offered them in capitalist countries?
You might want to think about these things the next time you buy a pair of shoes.