Socialism or Capitalism?
Is it reasonable to suggest that any particular political/economic system can align itself any more closely with Christianity? Does socialism allow Christian principles to be more closely honoured? Or capitalism?
It is clear that the human nature of greed can destroy any system under which humanity places itself. I watched the docu-drama on CBC on the late Pope John Paul II. Moved as I was by his arduous work for humanity, I noticed how clearly he fought the communist regimes and spoke out against capitalist choke holds on the world.
We have seen socialist ideas much maligned in popular dialogue among Christians. Too often the spectre of communism has reduced the much broader scope of socialist principles to thoughts of corruption – wasteful social programs that do more to curb honest hard work than solve problems. Why bother working if you don’t get to share in the profits of your labour? Doesn’t the Bible even indicate that we will receive rewards according to our actions? And of course there is always the cryptic reference to ‘the poor you will always have among you.'
As most of you know I have most often fancied myself largely left of center in this arena of thought. I know that socialist values especially as expressed in our country and our fair neighbours to the south have also included moral values that seem to go against the grain of common Christian morality. However, for me there is such a great chasm between the world that doesn’t blink an eye at a hair color commercial on television that spouts, “because you’re worth it!” and the world that Stephen Lewis describes where coffin makers are sad profit takers who, “cannot keep up with the demand.”
Perhaps I too am victim of associating capitalism with greed and avarice.
Here are some of the words of Deuteronomy 15 - - ironically the same place that cryptic little phrase shows up…
“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.
However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
"I would like to throttle . . . those who've waited so unendurably long to act, those who can find infinite resources for war but never sufficient resources to ameliorate the human condition."
-- Stephen Lewis