Acton Institute Powerblog

The true face of ‘capitalism’

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Frank Borman, then-chairman of the Eastern Airlines, said that “capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without Hell.”

That’s one way to take Peter Heslam’s reflection on the closing of BHS in the UK, “Business with a Human Face.”

I would add that the purportedly impersonal nature of market exchange is also what attracts many of its supporters. Drones and automated checkout lines are increasingly allowing us not to see any faces at all.

And as Martin Luther would surely have also added, when we see the face of our neighbor, we are doing so before the face of God (coram Deo), and in our service to one another we are to be his agents, or “masks” (larvae Dei).

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

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