Capitalism vs Socialism

Under capitalism the individual gets to choose who they work for, whether that’s a private company, the government, or you might work for yourself (run your own company). Under socialism everyone works for the same employer – the state. Under capitalism there’s competition. Companies (and the government) have to compete for skill and quality. Individuals benefit from this competition in the form of better wages and better work conditions. Individuals are motivated to improve themselves in order to improve their personal situation. Under socialism there’s effectively only one employer. No competition means no motivation for the state to improve wages or conditions (apart from political motivation). Individuals see that “it all pays the same” so there’s no motivation to improve education or quality (work ethic).

You may have heard it said that with great freedom comes great responsibility. It works both ways. With great responsibility comes great freedom. The free market system empowers the individual with both responsibility for their choices and freedom to make their own choices. Under socialism the state takes responsibility for individuals – and takes freedom from individuals and gives that power to the state. This is why you hear socialist governance called the ‘nanny state.’ Citizens give up choices.

People naturally like to choose things for themselves – their car, their house, what they eat, their doctor, and so forth. To get people to give up these choices they must be given motivation. This requires a combination of things including a crisis, a villain, a consequence, a solution, ignorance, and propaganda. Who would want to manipulate like this? Why go to such trouble? Who has anything to gain from this? … the state. Who is the state? Its the bureaucrats (and idealists) who hold the purses and the guns.

Do you believe Jesus would prefer socialism or capitalism or ________?


About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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7 Responses to Capitalism vs Socialism

  1. Bobby Grow says:

    Neither . . . His is a theocracy ๐Ÿ™‚ .

    • Lance Ponder says:

      That’s an interesting choice. At first I was going to agree, but then I thought about it for a minute. No, I don’t think its capitalism or socialism either, but I also don’t think its a theocracy. It won’t be a religious order. I don’t think Jesus had much use for religion or its purveyors. I think the gospels make it pretty clear that Jesus is King of kings. Although it chaffs my American sensibilities, I think monarchy probably most closely resembled the government of our Lord. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Bobby Grow says:

        Well, I’m thinking of “theocracy” in its “Biblical form;” not its perversion via form like Islam might provide. I don’t think theocracy and monarchy have to be construed in competitive or mutually exclusive terms.

        • Lance Ponder says:

          Yes, I understand. After I wrote that reply I thought about it a bit. You know, the biblical model we get from Moses is more of a “Judicial Theocracy” than any sort of monarchy. Hmm. God warned through Samuel of the dangers of a monarchy. Hmmm. Well, of course no human system can effectively compare with the wonders our Lord has in mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Bobby Grow says:

    Agreed. Amen!

  3. eclipsenow says:

    Guys guys guys… come on…

    Jesus is King of Kings and rules now, from the right hand of God. It’s the Millennium! What does He rule? His church. But does his church govern? No, the state does!

    Try Mark Driscoll on whether Christians can legislate morality. (The book of Romans proves conclusively that the Law cannot save or change hearts).

    Also try an article from one of my best mates, “Does Australia need a Christian Prime Minister”

    So my take on the most ‘Christian’ form of government is… there isn’t one! It’s a corrupt mess ruling corrupt human beings in this fallen world. So do your best, and vote for what pragmatically seems to cause the least harm to your neighbour on a practical basis. You can’t legislate morality. Only the gospel of Jesus can change hearts through the Holy Spirit, who blows where He wills.

    Basically, this is ‘church and state’ stuff. The question itself, “Which is the most ‘Christian’ form of government?” is misleading and dangerous, at least according to the doctrines I’ve been taught.

    Right now, my own political leaning is probably a little left of yours. Yet given American’s were falling over themselves to call Obama a raving Commo for what I thought was a half-hearted health reform bill, you’d probably think of me as an out-and-out Socialist! But no. I love the free market. I run our own family design studio. It’s just I see the market doing some things well, and the government doing other things better.

    EG: My political preference is “Social Liberalism: Civil rights, Social Justice and State funded welfare in a Market Economy”. If I ruled America everyone would have a free health care card and we’d guarantee all citizens received certain basic health care, even dental (which, given mouth problems and bacteria, can cause heart disease and sleeping disorders). I’d want a productive workforce, no ifs or buts about it! And if someone from some big energy corporation dared to call me a communist, I’d remove some of their fuel subsidies or other tax benefits in the name of the ‘free market’ and see how they liked the shoe being on the other foot! (Sorry, I’m a bit of a greenie and can’t stand the hypocrisy of big oil whining that giving renewables a subsidy is Socialist when fossil fuel companies sell the most subsidised products in history! We send ARMIES around the world to ensure the free flow of oil!)

    But back to the gospel. As Christians we are free to disagree, especially as we live in democracies. Yes, Australia is a democracy, despite us all having Federally funded Medicare cards! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Remember Paul’s commands to honour the State in Romans 13 was directed at Christians living under the rule of Caesar! That wasn’t a very “Christian regime”, yet we read the astonishing claim that IT was a ‘Christian state’…

    Romans 13
    Submission to Governing Authorities
    1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is Godโ€™s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are Godโ€™s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are Godโ€™s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    It seems very pragmatic. They are God’s servants to basically keep law and order in society. We should be incredibly grateful that we live in a democracy, and have some input to change the way we are governed given the different challenges of each era.

  4. eclipsenow says:

    Woops, just thought I’d better tick “Email any replies” button. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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