Capitalism and greed


"Capitalism depends on covetousness and rewards greed."

This is the most often repeated argument against economic freedom. When swallowed, it might turn anyone's admiration for the prosperity of the West into deep suspicion and even religious hatred. Is there any merit in that idea? To answer the question, I'd like to talk briefly about sex.

In many cultures, from antiquity to this very day, sex has been treated as a gift from the gods. It has been used as a part of worship ceremonies throughout the world. Reaching a state of ecstasy in copulation with professional temple prostitutes or kidnapped virgins has been the preferred way to go beyond one's mortality and have communion with the divine. Today, as millions abandon traditional religions in favor of egocentric philosophies, men and women are easily tempted to worship themselves through casual sex. The extent of corruption is obvious from the filth pouring day and night from the TV box.

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In response to the gross sexual perversions of many pagan cultures, certain Christian leaders have spread the equally perverse idea that sex is evil. But who came up with the idea of sex? Yes, it was God Himself. He invented sex so we can "multiply" and fulfill His plan to "fill the earth." And, as Eric Metaxas explains, "because he thinks so highly of it, he has very high standards for how it should be used---and how it should not be used." If you are righteously appalled by the commodization of sex or by the trafficking of poor young girls from Eastern Europe to the brothels of the West, please don't go blaming the gift of sex itself. Or the Giver.

To go back to the false idea above: No, capitalism will not crumble if people obey the Tenth Commandment. They will still want to create a better place for themselves and their children. Economies will still grow, though we shall surely continue to subdue the earth in a more sustainable way. Also, compared to government policies, the invisible hand is much less likely to reward greed (or stupidity). The current financial crisis and the bailouts are but the most recent proofs. Economic freedom is a gift, which we have inherited from the previous generations. What we do with it, good or evil, is up to us.

Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.


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