RSS Output
French    German    Spain    Italian    Arabic    Chinese Simplified    Russian

Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII -

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

Back     Printer Friendly Version  

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem by Jay W. Richards

The only system that works.

by StFerdIII

Those who condemn the immorality of liberal capitalism do so in comparison with a society of saints that has never existed—and never will.” —Martin Wolf, Why Globalization Works


National Socialism, Marxism, Statism – whatever the appellation used for a communal, state run cult, they always fail. They fail at the local, national and international levels. There is no historical proof whatsoever that socialized systems, run as a collective, are beneficial, solvent or even moral. The worst carnage in human history has been wrought by secular statism, with National Socialism in Germany, Italy, Russia and China killing well over 100 million people. Only Islam, itself a collective political project which denies free-will, individualism and demands that you be a 'slave of the Allah thing', can compare to National Socialism in its destruction and eradication of humans and life. But hey, what about those Crusades ?.....


Richards in his book, 'Money, Greed and God' makes many apposite claims about the totality the capitalist project. Capitalism is not about 'greed' or plunder. It is a complete system of economics, politics, morality, freedom and responsibility. Laws, regulations and charity are vital within such a system. So too is some level of communal government and collective aid. But as with all things in life, there are trade-offs. Nothing is for free and sacrificing freedom and free-speech to state power and political correctness, or distorting markets for crony-socialist corruption, will have deleterious consequences in both the political-economy, and within the culture at large.


....Christian morality? If a free-market economy contradicts Christian ethics, Christians can’t be capitalists. As it turns out, there is no such contradiction. We suspect one only because many of capitalism’s champions and critics miss the subtleties of the capitalist system: to prosper, a market economy needs not just competition, but rule of law and virtues like cooperation, stable families, self-sacrifice, a commitment to delayed gratification, and a willingness to risk based on a future hope. These all fit nicely with the Christian worldview.


Capitalist systems require political plurality, freedom of speech, movement and capital; individual responsibility; a higher-culture; intelligent and enforceable laws, private property, regulations and statutes; and an incorruptible process around governance, the legal system and policing.


Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has argued that a formal property system is the key that unlocks the mystery of capital. And he says that this helps explain why capitalism has succeeded in the West but not in many other places.


Too much government always leads to the opposite of what creates wealth, jobs, innovation and poor relief. Extended state power eradicates the aforementioned fundamentals and leads to coercion, fraud, tax money wastage, debt, and massive corruption. Even private property becomes appropriated by the state through onerous taxes, eminent domain, or arbitrary theft by the state of land and other private assets. The Eutopia confirms this, as does the Dis-United States of Obama.


Wealth is created when our creative freedom is allowed to prosper in a free-market environment under-girded by the rule of law and suffused with a rich moral culture. This creative freedom should be no surprise to Christians. We believe that human beings are made in God’s image—the imago dei. Our creative freedom reflects that divine image. This is one of the least appreciated truths of economics.


Before the era of Obama – or before history – the US experienced the largest increase in wealth in almost 200 years, and one of the greatest increases in general prosperity in history, perhaps only equalled in the long medieval epoch and development from 900-1300.


From 1947 to 2005, the average income of the richest 20 percent of the U.S. population went up almost every year, from $8,072 in 1947 to $184,500 in 2005 (adjusted for inflation). But this didn’t come at the expense of the poor. On the contrary, the real incomes of the poorest 20 percent also went up almost every year, from $1,584 in 1947 to $25,616 in 2005. And all this happened over a period in which the number of American families doubled, from about 37 million in 1947 to over 77 million in 2005. In other words, the total amount of wealth went up. The rich didn’t get richer by making the poor poorer. And this is to say nothing of the fact that many families climbed up the income ladder over time. The poorest 20 percent of the population is not always made up of the same people. Upward mobility is common.


Trade and technology, along with wealth and job creation are the surest methods to reduce poverty. The US government spends $2 trillion on socialized health and welfare transfers per annum. Another $1 trillion is spent on other programs for the 'poor'. Surely if big money was the solution to poverty, there would be no poor people in the US. The 'war on poverty' is a failure. Only trade, and capital will lift people out of the economic darkness.


In fact, the percentage of people living in absolute poverty has dropped since 1970. In 1970, the world population was 3.7 billion, and 38 percent (1.4 billion) lived below the absolute poverty line (less than one dollar a day). By 1990, with a world population of 5.3 billion, those languishing in absolute poverty dropped to 26 percent (still about 1.4 billion). In fact, despite reports to the contrary, worldwide, statistics on infant mortality, life expectancy, and poverty have all improved dramatically in the last few decades.


Life is better thanks to trade and capital. Entire markets have been liberated from governmental control. iPad's now reign, where once government owned monopolies fed you analogue black and white phones. Technology and finance are fungible, and along with a huge outpouring from former 3rd world states, exports, trade, finance and capital have raised close to 1 billion humans out of crushing penury. Witness the US' 'war to eliminate unemployment'.


When job programs began their massive expansion, the black youth unemployment rate began to rise. Between the years 1951 and 1980, black twenty- to twenty-four-year-olds experienced a 19 percent increase in unemployment. For eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds, the increase was a remarkable 72 percent.


Real US unemployment is about 25 % - not the 8% given by self-interested government agencies. Lies and pablum for the public. Markets provide as Richards' proves a 'win-win'.


An exchange that is free on both sides, in which no one is forced or tricked into participating, is a win-win game. It’s a positive-sum game.


When price points are distorted, or supply is 'managed', or wages or prices are 'capped' the inevitable economic dislocation will efface conditions which favour production, innovation and competition; all of which leads to lower prices over time and higher quality.


In a famous conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev, the last premier of the Soviet Union, and Margaret Thatcher, then British prime minister, a perplexed Gorbachev purportedly asked Thatcher who saw to it that the British people got fed. “No one,” she told him. “The price system does that.”


Government incompetence and interference always leads to the opposite. There is simply too much economic illiteracy – held for selfish reasons around power and control – within the elite and those who run the political-economy. Much of it comes straight out of a Marxian textbook.


The supply-and-demand charts that fill economics textbooks and haunt the memories of former econ majors can’t explain anything until there is a supply. At the base of the capitalist system is not greed or consumption, but intuition, imagination, and creation. As Thomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs…then I proceed to invent it.”




....[Marx's] labor theory of value. According to Marx, when a factory owner hires a worker to build a chair and then sells the chair for more than it cost to produce, the owner has taken more than the good is actually worth. He’s taken its “surplus value.” Such profit is basically theft, since, on Marx’s terms, the chair is worth exactly what it cost to produce it. So the factory owner has gotten more than it’s really worth. This is why Marx speaks of capitalists “exploiting” workers, even if the workers have chosen to work for the salary they are given. Without his definition of value, however, Marx’s argument collapses. The workers have received what they agreed to. The factory owner has wisely combined their labor with his resources. He then markets and sells the chairs for more than they cost to produce but not more than others will freely pay.


The only worker who is exploited is the one on welfare, and the one who is a dependent on the state, without skills, education or energy.


Socialism and 'big government' are loser theologies. They are cults, premised on mystical emotionalism, which ignore facts, human nature and what created modern civilisation in the first place.


Winston Churchill summed up the dilemma with characteristic wit: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Most of us know perfectly well that socialist solutions are worse than the disease. But we’re still left with capitalism’s unequal sharing of blessings. If socialism isn’t the answer, what is?


All true. Capitalism, is the only complete system of progress which has benefited the poor, the capable, the earnest, the moral, the energetic. It is the only system which mandates freedom, free-speech, private property rights and the right of self-determination, along with social and moral obligations. All other systems have failed. Richards' book provides a detailed account of why that is a fact.


Article Comments:

Related Articles:

Books on Civilization

11/9/2022:  'Religion and the Rise of Western Culture' – Christopher Dawson

11/5/2014:  "The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in the 10th Century.”

8/14/2014:  Christine Garwood “Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea”

2/19/2014:  'Meism' and Islam; 'Christianity, Islam and Atheism' by William Kilpatrick (2)

2/18/2014:  Christianity, Islam and Atheism by William Kilpatrick

4/24/2013:   Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church by George Weigel

4/8/2013:  Scranton and the 'Velikovsky Heresies' - a challenge to the cult of 'science'.

1/3/2013:  'Why Capitalism', by Alan Meltzer

12/10/2012:  Medieval Technology and Social Change, Lynn White Jr., Oxford Press, 1968

12/4/2012:  Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity, by Michael Coren

11/14/2012:  Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem by Jay W. Richards

10/9/2012:  Caravaggio, A life sacred and profane  Andrew Graham-Dixon - fantastic.

9/22/2012:  Book Review: Michael Coren, 'Why Catholics are Right'.

9/3/2012:  Book Review, Why the West is Best, by Ibn Warraq, Part Two

8/28/2012:  Book Review, Why the West is Best, by Ibn Warraq, Part One

5/22/2012:  The Early Middle Ages 400-1000, Editor Rosamund McKitterick, Short Oxford History of Europe

5/6/2012:  Book Review: 'Seven Lies about Catholic History', Diane Moczar

4/29/2012:  Gottlieb part 2: The Dream of Reason, A History of Philosophy

4/23/2012:  Book Review part one: 'The Dream of Reason, A History of Philosophy', by A. Gottlieb

4/12/2012:  Review, Emmet Scott: 'Mohammed and Charlemagne'

3/6/2012:  Henri Pirenne, 'Mohammed and Charlemagne' – Part 2

3/1/2012:  Henri Pirenne, Mohammed and Charlemagne – Part One

2/11/2012:  Niall Ferguson, 'Civilization' and the collapse of Europe

12/30/2011:  Mark Steyn, 'After America – Get Ready for Armageddon'

12/9/2011:  Book Review, Nigel Cliff's 'Holy War'. Flawed but interesting.

11/7/2011:  'How Civilizations Die', D. P. Goldman, 2011, 270 pgs.

9/16/2011:  Morris Bishop: The Middle Ages

9/6/2011:  Life in a Medieval City, by Joseph and Frances Gies, Harper Collins.

8/31/2011:  Adrian Goldsworthy, 'Caesar', 632 pages, 40 pages of source notes.

7/18/2011:  Steve Ozment, 'The Legacy of the Reformation', 1980.

7/16/2011:  G. R. Elton, The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. ii, The Reformation, 1958

6/17/2011:  Charles Nauert, 'The Age of Renaissance' 1981.

6/5/2011:  The Monks of War by Desmond Seward.

9/21/2010:  Rodney Stark: 'Cities of God'. Another excellent book.

8/18/2009:  Michelle Malkin's 'Culture of Corruption: Obama and his team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies.'

4/5/2008:  Book Review: 'Forges of Empires' 1861-1871; Three revolutionary statesman and the world they made.'