Ever since Gordon Gekko’s character in the movie Wall Street uttered the phrase, “Greed is good,” there has been a wide-spread and oft-repeated myth that capitalism is based on greed. And, so the argument goes, if capitalism is driven by a sinful desire (greed), then it must be rejected as an immoral system.
Such issues have come up again in recent months as a number of new members of congress (and old members) are pushing the country away from capitalism and towards socialism, mostly on moral grounds. Even some well-meaning evangelicals, who have a genuine care for the poor, find themselves drawn to this new movement and its disdain for capitalism.
In light of this current climate, I appreciate Jay W. Richards’ book, Money, Greed, and God:Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009). Richards sets out to dispel many myths about capitalism, and is particularly intent on showing that it is not at all contrary to the teachings of Jesus and Christianity, as so many suppose.
Chapter five is devoted to the myth that capitalism is driven by greed, and Richards makes a number of useful points: [Read more…]