Monday, January 14, 2013

The Morality of Capitalism

In the Memoirs of Matthew regarding the life of Christ, he writes about a parable told by Jesus regarding a man who went off on an extended journey. (Matthew 25) Before taking off, the man calls his servants together and gave each of them some money. One servant received $5,000, another $2,000, and a third was given $1,000.
After a long time the man returns, calls the three servants and asks about the return on his investment. (ROI) The man who received $5,000 doubled his master’s investment. His master was so pleased with his ROI that he told this servant that, from then on, they would be partners. The man who received $2,000 had also doubled his master’s investment and, therefore, was also promoted to being a partner.
The man who was given $1,000, however, fearing that any investment carried with it an inherent risk, decided to bury the money so that he would still have it when his master returned. The master, not being impressed with the guy’s risk-aversion, told him that, at the very least, he should have invested in a bank CD or in the money market so that there would have at least been a minimal ROI. The master then took the man’s $1,000, gave it to the man who had risked the most, and then fired the fearful, miserly servant.
The moral of the story? The God who gave you your gifts, talents, capacities, and opportunities expects a ROI. And only in a free market economy do you have optimal opportunity for doing just this.
Anyone who interferes with your stewardship, anyone who restricts the freedoms required to be a good steward or robs you of the rewards of your stewardship, is interfering with that stewardship: infringing upon what our founding fathers referred to as your God given unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Your Money
It is telling that Jesus used money as a means for conveying his message. There is nothing here about giving all your money to the poor, and nothing about sacrificing your wealth for the good of society and being rewarded in heaven. On the contrary, the two men who doubled their master's money were rewarded in-this-life, while the man with no ROI for his bosses money is fired.
Money is a symbol of productivity. Money represents your labor, your talents, your skills, your time, your faithfulness, and your aptitude for decision-making. In a free society, where men and women of good will exchange their best efforts in mutual self-interest, your wealth is based on the degree of your productivity, how well you manage your resources, and upon the value of what you have to offer to your fellow consumers.
Money is based on the premise that you are the owner-steward of your mind and of your effort.
In a free society, we do not exchange our needs for someone else’s values: we exchange value for value. My needs, my sufferings, however great, are not a value in the market place. If I want to make money, I must produce. I do this with my brains, my skills, and my labor.
Of course, nothing I am writing here is to suggest I believe that where you spend eternity is based on your net worth. Christ’s parable does, however, reveal that God evaluates how each of us used the gifts, talents and opportunities He gave us and rewards us accordingly.
Why is a free market so important? Because it is the only morally sound economic system. Yeah. You heard me right.  
Capitalism respects your right of ownership. “You shall not steal,” says God. Socialism, believing in its own omniscience and omnipotence, does not regard this law as having any application to the State.
Capitalism respects your individuality, your personhood, and the unalienable rights with which you were born. Socialists only respect the will of the State, the will of the ruling elites. As they see it, life and death (both literally and metaphorically) are not solely in the hands of God, but, rather, are in the hands of the Omniscient State.
Capitalism allows you to enjoy the rewards of your labor, as well as to learn from your failures. Socialism decides who best deserves the rewards you’ve earned, and whether or not you will be allowed to succeed or fail.
Capitalism and capitalism alone grants each individual the greatest degree of freedom for achieving exceptionalism. Socialism is always at war with individual exceptionalism, preferring to sacrifice individual achievement to the good of the collective.
Capitalism allows you to make as much money as you are able for your own sake, for your family’s sake, for love’s sake.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2009

1 comment:

  1. Great insights! i'm afraid that a growing percentage of our population has abandoned the biblical premise of free enterprise and Adam Smith capitalism. Thanks for the reminder.