Saturday, April 27, 2013

Muller on Capitalism (8)

I have quoted extensively from Jerry Z Muller, because he raises some important issues for those who care about the future of society.

An advanced capitalist economy does indeed require an extensive financial sector. But whatever the benefits and continued social value, the financialisation of society nevertheless had some unfortunate consequences, both in increasing inequality by raising the top of the economic ladder ( thanks to the extraordinary rewards financial mangers receive) and increasing insecurity among those lower down ( thanks to the intense focus on short-term economic performance to the exclusion of other concerns).

Capitalism today continues to produce remarkable benefits and continually greater opportunities for self-cultivation and personal development. Now as ever, however, those upsides are coming with downsides, particularly increasing inequality and insecurity. Marx and Engels accurately noted, what distinguishes capitalism from other social and economic systems is its “constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions and everlasting uncertainty and agitation.”

Now as then, the question at hand is just how to maintain the temporal blessing of capitalism while devising preventative and correctives for the evils that are their eternal concomitant.
This last para is really important. The benefits of capitalism are amazing, but the downsides cannot be ignored. All the secular and socialist solutions to this problem have failed. Christianity offers a solution that will work, but unfortunately it has not really be tired. Unrighteous wealth should be given away and righteous wealth should be shared. See Jesus on Money and Secular Capitalism. Christians should be comfortable with insecurity, if they understand God's plans for the future.

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