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Samuel Gregg on David Bentley Hart and Murderous Markets

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Is the dominant economic system we have today, the market economy or capitalism, compatible with Christianity? Orthodox Christian theologian David Bentley Hart in a June 2016 First Things article titled,”Mammon Ascendant: Why global capitalism is inimical to Christianity,” is skeptical. As you might gather from the title of his article. On Public Discourse, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg takes a closer look at Hart’s curious economic postulates such as the one about the “purely financial market” and his rather overbroad claim that wealth is intrinsically evil. Then there’s the one about the investments that wealthy people and institutions make, with homicidal malice, in new businesses and the like. Gregg:

Even more contestable is Hart’s suggestion that the venture capital that, he concedes, built places like Manhattan and provided millions with jobs is somehow responsible for particular evils. Notable among these is what he calls “the carboniferous tectonic collision zones of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky” in which “a once poor but propertied people were reduced to helotry on land they used to own” and “forced into dangerous and badly remunerated labor that destroyed their health, and then kept generation upon generation in servile dependency.” This is an example of how, to use Hart’s words, “the market murders.”

To murder is to intentionally kill an innocent person. Is Hart really suggesting that the workings of “the market”—which is simply an economy in which there is a free creation and exchange of goods and services by individuals and communities in a particular institutional setting—involves the intentional killing of innocent people?

Did people on Wall Street, for instance, directly will the alleged enslavement of people in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky? Who, one might ask, “forced” people into these jobs in West Virginia? Could it be possible that some of these crypto-peasants weren’t so content with their three acres and a cow and actually regarded working in a mine as a better economic option, given their available choices at the time? It’s likely that the vast majority of their descendants live far more comfortable material existences, enjoy longer life-spans, and are better educated than their small-landowning forebears. Some are probably working on Wall Street.

Read “Global Capitalism versus Christianity? A Response to David Bentley Hart” on Public Discourse by Samuel Gregg.

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.

Comments

  • Chris

    As an Orthodox Christian I was blown away by Hart’s claims in his article (I think Francesca Aran Murphy made her case much better). He subsumes under capitalism something one of the principle writers Adam Smith would call the corruption of capitalism, namely self-love. That alone is a very common mistake found among critics of capitalism, particularly when their replacement to the system is vague and seems to be simply whining or lamenting (which is how the end of the article appeared).
    My reaction is this…even in the NT, there are rich people who are not “purely communistic.” “Holding all things in common” and calling this communistic and then looking to this as an example is also problematic as the church was quite small at this time. Mark’s mother was rich…still seemed to be the case after this communistic setting. Lydia sold purple…that was quite an expensive item to sell. By the end of the article he defends participating in the market only to make a living and that seeking wealth is inherently evil…if it is to seek it for selfish gains, YES. At the same time, those who have much given, much is expected of them. Job was described as righteous and yet had great wealth…even returned to him in the LXX at greater numbers!

    Surely Hart teaches philosophy because he “wanted” to…voluntarism. He uses cellular devices and computers which are not important to simply “making a living” but are essential within his field in higher education and writing. While I appreciate his anger for legitimate evils in the world one is left with a concern for Orthodox theology…the inherent goodness of man. If Hart’s fears are that voluntarism leads to this evil and that choice cannot be used for good in this system, he would be better served with a Protestant system that recognized Total Depravity. All will be held accountable for their choices before God…there is no escaping that reality. At the same time, we should attempt to act ethically and morally within a system which does seem to do good…perhaps there is no good without evil in this fallen world and any system, political and non-profit as well, can be corrupted by the evil one. But as I said, selfishness is NOT inherent to genuine capitalism and that absolutely needs to die so that genuine critiques of problems arising from human choices that abuse capitalism can be pointed out and dealt with…because to not do so will lead to the death of that system.

    • The fact that there are Rich People in the NT isn’t suprising at all, look at the society around them, the class distinctions were giant. The similarities of the early Church to the surrounding culture isn’t suprising, what is suprising is the differences, the informal communism of the early Church, the social welfare system. These Things continued for hundreds of years, even after Constantine, Julian the Apostate complained about the social welfare system of the Christians.
      Whats suprising about the mosiac Law was not it’s similarites to other near eastern Law codes, but rather it’s differences, the jubilee, the rights of the poor, the Complete ban on usury and so on.
      The problem that defenders of Capitalism have is that they assume that Capitalism is the default, ignoring history, anthropology and the mountain of infastructure that makes Capitalism even possible. For the majority of history, for most of economic Activity, mutual aid and communal Control of Resources was the name of the game, Markets were Limited to inter-community trading, bartering was almost never done. Markets and Captialism came along With governments minted coin and demanded taxes, and even then it was Limited (even up the the middle ages most economic Activity in villages was communal and based on mutual aid.
      It was only With the large program of enclosure, the Growth of the modern state, the financialization of life and the strict enforcement of all kinds of property laws that markets and capitalism could exist.
      (I suggest you read the book “Debt, the first 5000 years by anthropologist David Graeber, it goes into the history of Money and credit in a very in debth way).
      Capitalism is not “voluntarism,” Capitalism limits Choices the consumer Choice and commodity Choice. Let me give you an example, the common forest gave me the freedom to hunt, pick Food, graze animals and so on, once it’s privitized I loose that freedom. My only added freedom is to purchase a piece of that forest if the New owner chooses to sell it, or to buy whatever Production the New owner is using the land for. That only increases freedom according to Capitalist (Lockean and Smithean) Logic. Real freedom is relational.
      Capitalism is not just the “state of being” it’s an incentive structure created by various institutions, legal frameworks and governments, and it’s an incentive structure that follows the “greed is good” Logic, it follows the idea that human beings are homo-economicus, and are atomized beings. Why should we Accept that Logic?
      The basis of Capitalism is the institution of market Exchange to maximize profit, this demands that one be selfish, it doesn’t just allow for selfishness it demands it, it creates “game theory” situations, where only the selfish survive. It demands that one externalize all costs. Capitalism MUST grow to survive, and that leads to more and more of life being commodified.
      I understand the critique that a lot of anti-Capitalists who are not Marxists or Social-Democrats have vague alternatives. The problem is you cannot simply create some utopian framework, systems build up from ethical frameworks, assumptions and so on. Here is what I would change though which I think would absolutely create a more Christian society and encourage Christian morality.
      Finance should be considered a Public service and not a private for profit industry (following the principles from the ban on Usury), this is especially the case given that Finance today is not a commodity, but rather the very base on which economies stand and fall. Finance should have a Public mandate, not a private for profit one, it should not have an obligation to only maximize profit, it should have a social mandate, and be accountable to the communities it serves.
      Bring back and expand the concept of the commons, include more common land where People can grow small gardens, set up Public services which are commonly controlled, so for example, a city owned gym (Health is part of the common good), and so on.
      Encourage non-market interaction, mutual aid societies, lending communities, localism, small farms, small Family owned buisinesses, cooperatives and so on.
      These are not revolutionary, but they follow a different Logic to that of Capitalism.

      • “For the majority of history, for most of economic Activity, mutual aid and communal Control of Resources was the name of the game, Markets were Limited to inter-community trading, bartering was almost never done.”

        You’re right about that. That’s why most people living in 1800 were as poor as those in 5000 BC. There was no improvement at all in the standards of living according to the best economic historians. That changed in 1600 in the Dutch Republic first, then in England and the US quickly. For the first time in human history people created wealth through businesses instead of stealing from conquered people.

        “Capitalism is not just the “state of being” it’s an incentive structure created by various institutions, legal frameworks and governments, and it’s an incentive structure that follows the “greed is good” Logic, it follows the idea that human beings are homo-economicus, and are atomized beings.”

        The first part is right. Capitalism is a set of institutions that protect property and promote freedom within the rule of God’s law forbidding theft, fraud, kidnapping, murder, etc. It never has promoted greed. That is a lie from socialists. The same goes for the homo-economicus nonsense.

        “Capitalism MUST grow to survive…”

        Not even close on that one. Standards of living for everyone rise rapidly under capitalism and if they don’t then it’s obvious that the state is hindering it. But there is no necessity for it to grow. It’s just that most people prefer to be wealthier than poorer.

        “I think would absolutely create a more Christian society…

        Capitalism came from Christian individualism and the theology of business developed by Church theologians, especially those at the University of Salamanca, Spain in the 16th century. Nothing could be more Christian.

        Capitalism developed in the Dutch Republic of the 16th century as the leadership applied Biblical principles of government. That’s how the West grew rich. Your proposals would do nothing but send us back in time to the poverty of the middle ages where your ideas reigned supreme.

        • 1. Oh absolutely Capitalsm has created huge amounts of wealth, but at what cost? and is it sustainable? Also could similar amounts of wealth have been created without those costs and in a sustainable way.
          It all Depends on how you measure wealth, in a certain sense Capitalism created poverty as a category from feudalism. The peasantry were poor when it comes to Money and property, but they had Access to land, the commons, they had Access to community structure, village structures, Family structures, they had relationships of mutual obligation and so on.
          Capitalism shut Down the common lands system, forcing manya peasants to move to the city to work for a wage, their wealth measured in cash went up, but their living standards plummeted. If a peasant had a bad year there was an entire infastructure he could appeal to. The Urban poor were entirely on their own.
          2. the prohivition against Theft doesn’t define what is and is not legitimate property, InFact the bible defines withholding from the poor what he has a right to as Theft, it defines usury as Theft. Theft means violating legitimate claims, it doesn’t define those claims.
          Capitalism IS the idea that maximization of profit is good, and that competition and absolute private property enforces the maximization of profit, the entier ideology is based around enforcing and promoting greed.
          Homo-Economicus is the entire basis for Neo-Classical and Neo-Liberal theory, i.e. human beings are naturally rationally self-interested agents and thus institutions should be built on that basis.
          3. They don’t rise rapidly for everyone … they do in certain situations, i.e. but those situations are generally Bubbles, or depend on huge externalities. Generally it’s the state that actually creates the Growth, or the conditions where the Growth could be possible, for example, every single part of Your smart phone was invented in a state institution, and then given away to commodifiers for free.
          Or take the post WW2 boom years, they were only possible because Europe had been decimated, creating a huge market for Growth and a vacum for New Investment, and also because the social democracies of europe created a strong working class who could be a market, and also because the US government threw Money around, both at europe, and internally, like a lottery winner at a strip Club.
          Capitalism MUST grow, this is basic economic theory, if the economy doesn’t grow 3% each year (more or less), Investment stops, demand slows Down, profitability stops and the system collapses. This is an economic fact.
          Capitalism maximizes profit by limiting internal cost, maximizing external cost, and by monopolization (Companies trying to get a larger larger share of the market), the market needs to continually expand for this to continue.
          4. Capitalism basically started from a rejection of Christian principles, the prohibition of usury, the idea of absolute private property, and the Lockean and Smithean myth of an autonomous man.
          Christianity invented the individual in the sense that the individual was not seen as eternally important in the image of God, but that can only exist With the concepts of agape and koinonia With mutual obligations.
          In the bible there are basically 2 economic institutions ever implemented With Gods favor, one was in the mosaic Law, where you had basically an ancient Version of social Democracy, and the second was the Church, where you had a (small c) communist structure similar to the essenes of that time.
          Capitalism is the doctrine of selfhisness, commodification, and nihilism, it has to do With the rejection of Christianity and it’s social implications.
          The West grew Rich partially through Capitalism, but not Capitalism as the Neo-Liberals dream it up, it got Rich through the Growth of the state, which was necessary for the Growth of Capitalism.

          • “could similar amounts of wealth have been created without those costs and in a sustainable way.”

            Did you read what I wrote? Economic historians have determined there was no wealth creation at all before capitalism. None at all! Without capitalism there would still be no growth. And in the past 200 years people have tried many alternatives to capitalism and none of worked. They have all made people poorer.

            “their wealth measured in cash went up, but their living standards plummeted.”

            Exactly the opposite happened! You have the Marxist line down very well. You just need to learn real history.

            “InFact the bible defines withholding from the poor what he has a right to as Theft, it defines usury as Theft. Theft means violating legitimate claims, it doesn’t define those claims.”

            No it doesn’t. Giving to the poor was always a sign of one’s devotion to God. That’s why it was always in the Bible voluntary, never enforced by the state. Theft in the Bible is always taking property that belongs to someone else.

            “the entier ideology is based around enforcing and promoting greed.
            Homo-Economicus is the entire basis for Neo-Classical and Neo-Liberal theory,”

            You can quit quoting Marx any time. It’s simply not true. Capitalism has proven to be the best way to control greed. That was Adam Smith’s main point. And no Homo-Economicus never existed and never was the basis of anything but fevered socialist dreams.

            “Generally it’s the state that actually creates the Growth, or the conditions where the Growth could be possible, for example, every single part of Your smart phone was invented in a state institution, and then given away to commodifiers for free.”

            Not a word of that is true. But for the sake of argument let’s say it is. So why didn’t the USSR, China under Mao, Cuba and Venezuela create growth?

            Initial growth began in 1600 in the Dutch Republic. It never happened before in human history. Such a unique event requires a unique cause. Government control of the economy has always and everywhere been pervasive, so why did it not happen in all of the places where the state controlled the economy the most?

            “Or take the post WW2 boom years, they were only possible because Europe had been decimated, creating a huge market…”

            So if Europe was decimated, how did the have the money to buy our stuff? That’s more stupid Marxism. And it’s the medieval nonsense that wealth is limited and one group can grow only at the expense of another.

            “Capitalism MUST grow, this is basic economic theory, if the economy doesn’t grow 3% each year (more or less), Investment stops, demand slows Down, profitability stops and the system collapses.”

            Your grasp of economics is very, very poor. This statement has things exactly backwards.

            “Capitalism basically started from a rejection of Christian principles…”

            Your grasp of history is very poor as well. Capitalism was the consistent application of Christian principles. See Alejandro Chafuen’s book, “Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics,” or see “School of Salamanca” on Wikipedia.

            “In the bible there are basically 2 economic institutions ever implemented With Gods favor, one was in the mosaic Law, where you had basically an ancient Version of social Democracy, and the second was the Church, where you had a (small c) communist structure similar to the essenes of that time.”

            That’s just ahistorical and stupid beyond belief. The economy of Israel in the Torah was as close to anarcho-capitalism as one can get. And the church was never communist. Christians gave willing of their own property, which is charity as it has always been practiced and preached by the church.

          • 1. Again, it Depends how you measure wealth, during the middle ages the life of Your average peasant inproved, even though the overall wealth Production didn’t go up.
            Also the advent of Capitalism did not really produce the wealth (at least not on its own), it was also the creation and Growth of the state and colonialism. You can’t say that a giant state and the Whole world providing free Resources didn’t drive the Growth, but Capitalism did.
            Look, of course Capitalism did produce a Whole lot of Growth, very fast, but it is not sustainable, and the externalities it creates will end up destroying it, as well as a lot of Things we love. Also there is no reason why we can’t have more moderate Growth without the negative aspects of Capitalism.
            2. Not at all true, read about the enclosure movement in early modern England and urbanization, it wasn’t pretty.
            3. Theft in the bible is also not giving the poor justice, it includes lending for intrest.
            Voluntary vrs involuntary is a modern enlightenment principle, John says that practical love, is obligatory for Christians. The Mosaic Law was the ancient equivalent to a government, the early Church didn’t rely on philanthropy, it organized a common property system.
            I’m sorry but you’ve been influenced by John Locke and Hayek more than Moses and Jesus it seems like.
            Voluntary makes no sense unless you have the Institutional framework in the context. I can’t give away what is not mine, what is mine or not mine, and what that means is a function of the legal framework.
            4. What part of Your smart phone was invented in the private, for profit sector? Not one part of it. How about Your computer, what parts of it were made in the private for profit sector ….
            The Public sector innovates, Capitalism commodifies, the Public sector made the internet, Capitalism puts pornography on it.
            if we only measure a societies economic value by Growth (which seems to be the only thing you and other neo-liberals understand), then the USSR was the most successful economy, it grew extremely fast.
            But Yeah, it was a terrible system, and it eventually collapsed under the weight of it’s contradictions, as Capitalism does, except in Capitalism the state comes and saves the day everytime.
            Actually the fastest Growth in the US and the UK, and every other European country was when the State protected and nurtured the economy the most. The Dutch was a unique case, and mainly due to the fact that it financialized and had a big trading fleet.
            But remember, the State came into existance WITH Capitalism, Capitalism didn’t exist prior to the state, and the State created Capitalism, prior to the early modern era there was no such thing as “the State” as we know it today.
            5. a few ways, first of all the US gave europe a Whole lot of Money, and another way is after the war socialist and Labour parties took Control, along With Unions and created the economic powerhouse and the strongest and wealthiest working class in history from the Ashes of World War 2.
            After WW2 there was a lot of room to grow, and thankfully the it was not done in a stupid, neo-liberal way, at least not until the 80s.
            6. Tell me an Economist Worth his salt who thinks Capitalism can work just fine without Growth ….
            Look it’s very simple. Capitalism tends towards maximizing profitability, it must do so, by doing so it increases Productivity measured only in Direct cost/Income to the Company, as it does so compeditors go out of buisiness, Investment slows Down (there is less to invest in), produciton is streamlined and employment in that industry slows Down, if there aren’t New markets and New Growth to take up the slack you get unemployment rising, deflation, a drop in aggrigate demand and Investment slowing Down, which compounds in each other (less demand, means even less Investment and so on and so forth). So you need continuous Growth for Capitalism to function.
            You may hate Marx, but he got some Things right, the tendancy for the rate of profit to fall (which wasn’t just his theory but also David Ricardo) is empirically shown to be a fact.
            Agriculture CANNOT function as a Captialist industry anymore, it relies entirely on subsidies, the profitability has dropped so far, manufacturing is going that direction as well. Modern Capitalism InFact barely profits from Production, it’s almost all rent based.
            7. Really? So Lending on Interest is not a rejection of Christian principles? enclosing the commons is not a rejection of Christian principles?
            By the way Individualism and Liberty is not synonymous With Capitalism, enlosing the commons and enslaving With debt doesn’t increase Liberty, basing the entire society on nothing more than the drive for profit doesn’t increase individualism.
            8. Would an anarcho-Capitalist (which is an oxymoron given that Capitalism cannot exist without the state) ban lending on interst? Have a constant total redistribution of productive Capital? Have a large part of the productive Capital being common land? have a tax on the wealthy specifically and only to provide for the poor?
            The Church literally was “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” was taken origionally from Acts.
            Yes Christians willingly shared their property, they willingly became Christians, but they did not view property as you neo-liberals do, it wasn’t “THEIR property,” Tertullian and Justin Martyr, not to mention Acts, attest to that. It was shared property.
            By the way, since you suggested books to me, I suggest you read “Debt, the first 5000 years” by David Graeber, I think you’d find the actual history of how Money was developed, how markets developed and so on interesting.
            Or maybe just stick With Ayn Rand, she got one thing right, Capitalism and Christianity are incompatible, and Capitalism is based on selfishness and Greed.

          • “You can’t say that a giant state and the Whole world providing free Resources didn’t drive the Growth, but Capitalism did.”

            Yes, I can. And most good economic historians do. Again, China and the Ottoman Empire were giant states. Why did capitalism not develop there but in the tiny state of the Dutch Republic? Spain was the hyperpower when the Dutch were inventing capitalism, but they grew poorer while the Dutch grew richer. Whatever theory you have must explain real history, not the imaginary history fabricated by socialists.

            ” read about the enclosure movement in early modern England and urbanization, it wasn’t pretty.”

            I’m very familiar with the enclosure movement. It had nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with the state failure to do its job to protect the property of small farmers.

            “Theft in the bible is also not giving the poor justice, it includes lending for intrest.”

            That is simply false. Read your Bible.

            “The Mosaic Law was the ancient equivalent to a government, the early Church didn’t rely on philanthropy, it organized a common property system.”

            Yes, the Mosaic law was the government, but Israel had no police force, no executive, and no legislature. It had only courts to settle disputes by applying the law. But the courts did not handle religious or moral laws, only the civil laws regarding theft, murder, etc. The courts did not enforce the moral laws such as the poor laws. By voluntary, theologians have always meant that the state did not enforce the moral laws. Of course God requires people to follow his moral laws, but outside of the civil laws, God has never given mankind the authority to enforce the moral laws including the poor laws.

            “What part of Your smart phone was invented in the private, for profit sector? Not one part of it.”

            Again, you history is abysmal. The state didn’t invent any of the smart phone or the internet. The military laid some fiber optical cable for their own use and then turned it over to the private sector. But it was useless until the private sector invented browsers and other technology. Besides, the US government has no R&D. It has only money. It pays private R&D to do some research, but most of what it pays for has been a total waste of funds.

            “But remember, the State came into existance WITH Capitalism,…

            Pure fiction!

            “if we only measure a societies economic value by Growth (which seems to be the only thing you and other neo-liberals understand), then the USSR was the most successful economy, it grew extremely fast.”

            Economists measure a nation’s wealth by per capita GDP. And no, the USSR did not grow fast. More than 30 million starved to death in the 1930s. It grew a small amount after WWII by stealing factories from Germany. It depended on the sale of oil for most of its existence to feed its people.

            ” first of all the US gave europe a Whole lot of Money”

            Not a whole lot. It was barely enough to keep the poor fro starving in France and England where the socialists had taken over.

            “after the war socialist and Labour parties took Control…”

            That’s only partially true. They took over in England and France and those economies stagnated and depended heavily on US welfare to feed their people. But Germany adopted free markets against the wishes of the US military and it’s economy took off and made the Germans very wealthy.

            “Tell me an Economist Worth his salt who thinks Capitalism can work just fine without Growth ”

            Every single one of them. I teach economics at the college level. I have read and used a lot of textbooks. I read a great deal of what the top economists write. I can guarantee you there is no prominent economist who thinks as you do. Marx asserted that capitalism needs new markets to survive, but every economist for the past 150 years has proven him wrong. If you’re going to expound on economics you ought to learn a small amount first.

            “You may hate Marx, but he got some Things right, the tendancy for the rate of profit to fall (which wasn’t just his theory but also David Ricardo) is empirically shown to be a fact.”

            I don’t hate Marx. I just know economics. But he isn’t gone. You’re channelling him. And Ricardo said that the rate of profit will fall in any new industry as competitors enter the market. Economics teaches the same thing. But it only falls to the level of the prevailing interest rate, no lower. Marx was stupid enough to think that profit would fall to zero in all industries. Keynes copied him.

            “Agriculture CANNOT function as a Captialist industry anymore, it relies entirely on subsidies…”

            You haven’t been paying attention. Most agricultural subsidies have been eliminated in the past two decades. The only ones I know of are for sugar, milk, and oranges. Most agriculture in the US does not get subsidies.

            “So Lending on Interest is not a rejection of Christian principles?

            Exactly. You need to read church history. The church got the prohibition on interest from pagans, not from the Bible. The Bible’s prohibition is on charging interest to poor people. The church embraced pagan ideas on economics until about the Reformation when many leading theologians realized the Church had been wrong on the theology of interest and the Church changed.

            “…enclosing the commons is not a rejection of Christian principles?”

            Yes, it’s theft. But the government has the God-given responsibility to protect citizens from theft. And it had nothing at all to do with capitalism. Enclosure happened only in England, not the Dutch Republic or the US. Capitalism began in the Dutch Republic where there was no enclosure movement.

            “By the way Individualism and Liberty is not synonymous With Capitalism”

            Yes, it is. History proves it. See the history of the Dutch Republic.

            “Would an anarcho-Capitalist (which is an oxymoron given that Capitalism cannot exist without the state) ban lending on interst? Have a constant total redistribution of productive Capital? Have a large part of the productive Capital being common land? have a tax on the wealthy specifically and only to provide for the poor?”

            Yes, capitalism can exist without a state. Israel in the book of Judges did for over 400 years. Anarcho-capitalists are for government by laws, as Israel had, just no state. No, in response to your other questions, but neither did Israel in the Torah or the Church before Constantine.

            “The Church literally was “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” was taken origionally from Acts.”

            Again, they were giving their own property. Israel didn’t have capitalism at the time, but people had property. Socialism is the state stealing the property of one group and giving it to the political elite. You seem to think that if the state doesn’t take peoples’ wealth by force, no one would give to the poor. But that again just demonstrates an enormous ignorance of history. Even the most pagan tribes on the planet practice charity. Christians have always been very charitable towards the poor.

            “I think you’d find the actual history of how Money was developed, how markets developed and so on interesting.”

            I doubt it. I have read many books on the history of money and markets. I teach it in college. Any books that teaches what you think is a waste of time. It is nothing but regurgitated Marxism.

            “Or maybe just stick With Ayn Rand, she got one thing right,”

            Rand was as big an idiot as Marx. I’ll stick with the Bible and the great Church scholars, especially those of the University of Salamanca.

  • 1. Doesn’t matter. China and the Ottoman Empire has the same powers as modern states.

    2. No, private property existed long before enclosure. The peasants who used the land had ownership in it like a cooperative. Enclosure was theft of their land.

    3. Yes, except for the poor. The church has centuries of discussion on this. The final conclusion was that interest is no different from rent, unless the poor are involved. Understanding interest in the Bible requires using sound hermeneutics. A shallow reading only get people in trouble.

    4. No, it’s a distinction by Jewish scholars and based on history, though you’ll never find it in your Marxist history.

    “the jubilee Law was enforced by God himself and it’s breaking was part of the reason God had Judah punished by Babylon.”

    Exactly! God enforced it. He did not trust that enforcement to the government.

    5. Partially true. The small amount of research done by state organizations is mostly wasted.

    6. Only in your Marxist dreams! In fact, when the USSR collapsed the CIA found that they had overestimated its GDP by a fact of 10, not 10% but 1000%. You are probably confused by the official USSR data which was pure fiction.Don’t worry, it fooled Paul Samuelson, too.

    7. Don’t know what you’re referring to.

    8. Factually wrong. Where do you get this nonsense? Read so real history.

    9. You need to read some real economists. Mises and Hayek provide summaries. But they proved every single statement he ever made to be wrong. He got absolutely nothing correct.

    10, 11. Look it up. I’m going from memory. I’ve been involved in econ for 40 years.

    12. Again, a superficial (socialist) interpretation of the Bible as well as Aristotle. They had nothing in common. Yes, Calvin had scriptural backing for his theology. But he wasn’t the only one who abandoned Aristotle’s nonsense on interest. Most church scholars did in the 17th century.

    13. There was no enclosure movement in the Dutch Republic. See Jonathan Israel’s history.

    14. Yes, they are vastly different.

    15. No, they had private ownership of land. That was the reason for the prohibition of theft and moving land markers.

    16. They didn’t.

    17. If you got your idiotic ideas from Graeber then he is a Marxist. I don’t care what he calls himself.

    18. I have. The difference is that I follow the sound hermeneutic principles refined by Thomas Aquinas. You merely view everything according to Marxism.

    There isn’t much reason to continue this discussion. You know only Marxism and Marxist history. I follow economics, real history and sound hermeneutics when interpreting the Bible, all of which prove you wrong. Unless you’re willing to learn some of those you’ll never be anything more than a failed Marxist stuck in the middle ages.

    • 1. Not really, not the same borders, not the same property laws and so on.
      2. No it was literally the commons, there’s a difference between the commons and Collective property.
      There’s a difference between stewardship and Capitalist private property, for most of the middle ages most land wasn’t outright owned, People had rights to the land, but they didn’t own it.
      3. The “means testing” for usury came With the reformation, prior to that it was a ban on usury period, read what Clavin wrote about usury.
      4. God punished Judah becuase they didn’t enforce the jubilee Law … that’s the point.
      What Jewish scholars? Also within the scripture there is no distinction made between civil and moral Law.
      5. No, fully true, there isn’t one piece of technology in Your Smartphone that was developed in the private for profit sector.
      6. Source?
      7. the US gave europe Money, they also invested some, and the colonies markets were now open for private Investment.
      8. Really? So Germany didn’t impliment co-determination? Germany didn’t impliment the social-market system? the Scandanavian countries wern’t build up by socialist parties?
      9. They didn’t, all they did was shoot Down strawmen and miss interpret Marx. Also empirical evidence over the years have proven many of Marx’s analysis of Capitalism true. the rate of profit of poductive industry does tend to fall for example, Capitalism does tend toward more and more financialization.
      10, 11: I did look it up, your’e wrong, Agricultural subsidies are still going extremely strong, Agriculture no longer CAN exist as a Capitalist industry.
      12: A Superficial (Socialist) interpretation, you mean the interpretation of almost all the Church fathers, as well as the officical interpretation of the Catholic Church?
      Calvin based his theology on scripture, but NOT his allowing of usury.
      Aristotle wasn’t the main driver of the ban of Usury in the middle ages, scripture was.
      13. Yup, Capitalism in the Dutch Republic had different drivers, and it only functioned due to not only state policy, but also Colonialism.
      14. Freedom under Capitalism is only freedom for sale, freedom to buy and sell, if that’s how you want to define freedom then you have an impoverished idea of freedom.
      15. first of all, Theft applies whether you have private, Public, collective property or no property, stealing form the commons is just as much Theft as stealing from private property.
      Second of all, they had ownership yes, but it was not the same kind of property as there exists under Capitalism, it was conditional property-
      16. Yes they did, ask a Church historian, this was recognized even by Pagans like Julian the Apostate and Lucian.
      17. Great, you seem proud of Your ignorance here … it’s a shame, I’ve read Libertarians, I’ve read neo-liberals, I doubt you’ve read anything outside Your neo-liberal market fundamentalist ideology.
      18. Doesn’t sound like you have.
      You follow the hermeneutica principles of Thomas Aquinas? You know he interpreted scripture through the eyes of Aristotle right?
      I’m not a Marxist, I don’t follow Marxist history …
      I love the irony that you both Call me a Marxist, and stuck in the middle ages.
      But I Guess you Liberals can only see Things through the eyes of markets vrs Marxism, Misis vrs Lenin.