Questioning capitalism as we know it

Is Capitalism morally bankrupt?

This is the question that a recent publication in the The Jubilee Centre‘s Cambridge Papers addresses. Working from a Biblical framework, ‘Is Capitalism morally bankrupt? Five moral flaws and their social consequences‘ by Michael Schluter questions the philosophical foundations and institutions of Corporate Capitalism and highlights its detrimental effects on society.

Schluter contends that Corporate Capitalism suffers from the following failings:

  1. An exclusively materialistic vision
  2. Reward without responsibility
  3. Limited liability of shareholders
  4. People disconnected from place
  5. Inadequate social safeguards

He then argues that these failings have the following negative consequences:

  1. Family and community breakdown
  2. Giant government and giant corporates

Schluter suggests that a new economic order based on biblical revelation needs to be found, and promises that one will be set out in a future issue of the Cambridge Papers.

Read the whole paper: Is Capitalism morally bankrupt? Five moral flaws and their social consequences.


4 Responses to “Questioning capitalism as we know it”

  1. I was arguing with someone over capitalism and consumerism one day — me being against it but ever the unwilling participant –… then he (michael bengong animal) said that capitalism/consumerism fuels innovation… I couldn't argue… fail. AVENGE MEEEEE!!! hahahahah…

  2. Hmm, well right now in the States we have Michael Moore who's on a campaign to discredit capitalism. Of course, he's a multi-millionaire, so I don't know how that squares! =) I fear that our society is swinging too far in the other direction, now, and centralizing too much power such that the individual still gets marginalized, this time by the government rather than corporations.

  3. Hi Mark, long time no see!=PWith regards to the thing here, I'd say that broadly, capitalism is good because it works. Millions of people from poor countries have been brought out of poverty due to adopting market economies. Certainly there are flaws, but that's what the state is for – to correct market failures and provide a social safety net. This crisis will likely see the world rejecting a particular brand of capitalism, i.e. neoliberalism, the notion that the market is always right and that governments always stuff up. But it will be replaced by another mode of capitalism, one that, in my opinion, is broadly more in line with biblical principles. It will probably be more safeguards and regulations, and hopefuily a good deal more suspicious of the notion that what is good for large corporations is necessarily good for the economy as a whole. But it will still be recognisably a capitalist market economy. Fun thing to think about – the disciples in Acts lived in what was basically a hippie commune. But how does that translate on a national, never mind global scale? I don't think it can – which is capitalism, which relies on human self interest, still works.

  4. Thanks for the comments guys :-)I agree that a capitalist market economy is the best we've got at the moment, but reckon that it's a bad idea to assume that it is as good as it can/should be. It's something Christians should spend a bit more time thinking about.A global hippie commune? Lol!

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