Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Capitalism (Page 2 of 2)

Addiction to growth will not save us

For all the talk and the satisfactory outcomes of the recent London summit, something seemed to be missing to me. As long as the world remains fixated on the idea that we must grow our economies, we will inevitably fall into the same trap, and probably worse than we are in now.

In the mid-1980s, our planet passed a tipping point. It was then that we started going into debt in terms of the available resources that we have to survive. It was then that we started to consume more than we could reproduce. So while we remain addicted to economic growth, we continue the slide into debt. Our way of living is unsustainable. That is why, as I and others have said previously, there must be a massive investment in green infrastructure, and now is the perfect time to do it. Kevn Rudd’s massive investment in broadband is not a bad start but it needs investment that will not just create jobs but that will create a sustainable economy and eco-system that will be the only thing that is of genuine long-term value.

In the meantime, check out this great blog from Simon Moyle called ‘Manna from Kevin’. It has some great ideas for what to do with your $900 stimulus present from Mr. Rudd. Instead of using it to prop up our consumerism, use it to prop up someone who is struggling to get by.

The weaknesses of capitalism and the non-answer of socialism

With the inherent weaknesses of unfettered market capitalism being exposed in recent months by the global economic situation, socialists have been trumpeting the apparent downfall of this economic system. And well they might. I have already explained my views on unregulated capitalism. However, on the cover of one left-leaning publication was the proud headline ‘Capitalism is bankrupt; socialism is the only answer’. I think the first part of that headline is correct and the second part is not.

485085_new_york_stock_exchangeSocialism is no more the answer to humanity’s problems than capitalism. While capitalism survives no the backs of the poor, the history of socialism survives the same way. Any look at the atrocities committed in Eastern Europe since the Second World War have shown that. While socialism as an idea is fine – public ownership of the means of production, in practice it has limited freedom for its own citizens.

At the centre of socialism lies the idea of the utopian society being achieved through the work of humanity, unaided by any higher power. The classless society is a great idea, outlined in Acts, but it can never be achieved as long as humanity works on its own. 

Human hearts need changing and no human economic system can ever do that. Martin Luther King, talking about communism, said that it 

thrives on the grand illusion that man, unaided by any divine power, can save himself and usher in a new society.

Socialism does not take into account the fact of humanity’s tendency toward selfishness. Bono has said that the 20th century is not a good advertisement for atheism. What does atheism have to do with it? Well, socialism is based on a secular vision of the new society, a kingdom without a king. The 20th century proves once and for all that a kingdom without a king will eventually fall in on itself.

For more on Dr. King’s views of a Christian response to communism, see his Strength to Love, pp 97-106.

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