Christian Economics and the Rich and Poor

QUESTION: Christian Economics – The Rich and the Poor

ANSWER:

Christian socialists believe in the equal distribution of wealth because they assume that poverty is created when the rich exploit the poor. The Bible, however, teaches many causes for poverty. Nash says, “It is certainly true that Scripture recognizes that poverty sometimes results from oppression and exploitation. But Scripture also teaches that there are times when poverty results from misfortunes that have nothing to do with exploitation. These misfortunes include such things as accidents, injuries, and illness. And of course the Bible also makes it plain that poverty can result from indigence and sloth (Proverbs 6:6–11; 13:4; 24:30–34; 28:19).”1

Christian Economics – Free Markets
Another argument socialists make against a free market economy is that the wealthy hoard limited resources. Wealth in a free market economy, however, usually creates wealth, which can then be used to multiply goods and services that create opportunities for rich and poor alike. George Gilder explains, “Under capitalism, when it is working, the rich have the anti-Midas touch . . . turning gold into goods and jobs and art.”2

The rich, then, aid the poor by constantly expanding the pool of wealth and opportunity. Gilder goes on to explain, “Most real wealth originates in individual minds in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. A successful economy depends on the proliferation of the rich, on creating a large class of risk-taking men who are willing to shun the easy channels of a comfortable life in order to create new enterprise, win huge profits, and invest them again.”3

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Ronald H. Nash, Poverty and Wealth: The Christian Debate Over Capitalism (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1987), 71.
2 George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1981), 63.
3 Ibid, 245. For further discussion of the role of mind in economics, see Warren Brookes’ work The Economy in Mind (New York, NY: Universe Books, 1982).

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