What is the role that Christians play in business and the marketplace?
A recent episode of Equipped with Chris Brooks, titled “Is Capitalism bad business?” wrestles with that question and more. During his introduction, Brooks explains why he was pondering the question and there are a couple of reasons. The majority of “Equipped” listeners are not clergy, but men and women who work in the marketplace. Because of that, Brooks wants to talk about the “good that business does” and the role of Christians in the marketplace. Sometimes we limit ourselves to evangelization, whereas Brooks argues that doing good business is a good in and of itself. He was also concerned with the recent revival of socialism in American politics and conversation. More and more younger men and women are disillusioned with the free market, with more than half of millennials declaring they do not support capitalism.
Brooks offers the recent example of Mylan’s EpiPen price gauging. He notes that despite the cost to produce this important drug not rising, the cost for consumers to purchase it has been raised more than 400 percent. Many are outraged by this move, rightfully so, and have concluded that this situation proves once and for all the evil intent of corporations and that capitalism ultimately harms consumers. He quotes, Joseph A. Palermo, who in a recent article for the Huffington Post, writes “Few business practices better illustrate the illegitimacy of our current system of rentier-capitalism than the pharmaceutical giant Mylan jacking up the price of Epipens. It’s the outcome of a rigged system that would be prohibited in any nation with a national health care system.” Brooks argues that he has a problem with this conclusion and explains why this situation does not represent the free market at work (I’ll let you listen to it to hear his rebuttal). That being said, “greed will show its head in any economic system,” Brooks laments.
This episodes deals with three main questions:
- Is capitalism inherently evil?
- Do privately owned businesses and publicly held businesses do good in culture and our society?
- What is the role of Christians in all of this? In business. In economics.
Again, because many of his listeners are Christians with jobs as doctors, bakers, manufacturers, writers, and others in the market, he wants to talk through how the free market works and greed in economics. After all, “to impact culture, we have to understand economics.” This episode also features Greg Thornbury, President of the King’s College.