Acton Institute Powerblog

Free Market Morality

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In this entertaining video Walter Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, explains why the free market is morally superior to other economic systems. My favorite part comes near the beginning when Williams explains that money is a form of “certificate of performance” that serves as proof of having served our neighbors.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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  • Daniel_N

    So are we willing to say that every one of the $14 Billion dollars earned by the pornography industry each year is a moral certificate stating that they have “served their neighbor”? In a sinless world, I would agree with much of this philosophy. Every desire of the human heart would be pure, and the marketplace would be doing the good work of allocating resources efficiently to meet and expand these desires. But I don’t accept this premise, so I don’t accept what follows.

    • No, we’re not. Where do you get that? What are your premises?

    • Daniel,

      I started to add a disclaimer since I knew that someone was going to say something like this. No matter how innocuous an assertion, we can find counterexamples. For example, if I say “Parents love their children” you can rightly point out instances that show the claim isn’t true. But such examples don’t negate the general principle.

      The same is true for William’s analogy. Of course money is not *always* a sign that we have done something to serve our neighbor. But in general, it is good way to understand what money represents. Work, which is instituted by our creator, is a good thing. And money is one of the primary evidences we have for having done a certain level of work.