The Theological Problem with Free Market Capitalism

1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."


Greed; the perpetrator of all kinds of injustice. Corporations monopolize the market. CEOs take bonuses while employees at the bottom are barely scraping enough together. Schools raise tuition rates with little to no additional benefit to the students. Greed is rampant. This idea that we can go anywhere and do anything, all for a greater margin of revenue, is decidedly unbiblical. I think we can all agree on that.


Like any economic system, free market capitalism would work IF everyone acted ethically. But in a world where all have fallen short (Romans 3:23) and no one is good (Romans 3:10-12), we cannot be surprised when the worst happens. This is why we erect boundaries and rules, to protect people from becoming victims to the sins of others.


I would like to examine the enigma of the non-profit. In a capitalist system, the name seems counter intuitive. Why would someone start a business with no intention of seeking profit? That's where I believe people misunderstand the definition of a not-for-profit system. Non-profits create revenue all the time. They just have to prove that the revenue is re-invested into the business itself. There are a few other rules that dictate where and when non-profits can have an economic influence. So maybe the market isn't as 'free', but freedom must always be curbed by accountability. I appreciate that about the non-profit sector.


Capital gain in and of itself is not evil. There are whole sections dedicated to the description of God's wealth, providence, and beauty in the Old Testament. But why gain the world, when you lose your soul? (Mark 8:36) What would happen if the free market was balanced out with businesses that had social, rather than monetary, gain in mind? It definitely is more work to run a non-profit. There are more laws to follow. But that is the price we pay for accountability, and I believe it's worth it.


How would our social and economic climate change, if an entire generation of entrepreneurs chose the non-profit path? I think it would be significant. Great things happen when people come together to identify a problem, find a solution, and cooperate to implement it. This is essentially what a non-profit does. There is a clear mission statement, business plan, and penalties for not following through on these things.


Luke 12:48 "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."


If we are going to ask blessings of God, we must be prepared to carry on the work of God. There will come a day when we are asked what we have done with the blessings bestowed on us. I hope, in response to our answer, we hear "well done my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

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