As someone who follows politics, I am surprised and dismayed when I consider the worldwide trend away from capitalism and toward socialism. Socialist regimes have almost invariably proven to be violent and oppressive in the long term (and many times in the short term), yet people continue to be attracted to it, perhaps because of the much publicized “evils” of capitalism.
Among the many “evils” of capitalism, the most commonly cited are uncontrolled materialism and greed, and vast differences between rich and poor. The problem with these accusations, to a die hard capitalist like me, is that they are true. My assertion is that these evils are not the direct result of capitalism, but the natural progression of a free society of sinful men and women.
When discussing a society’s potential for prosperity, no argument can be effectively made to refute the fact that capitalism allows for the greatest amount of wealth creation of any economic system there is. American life itself is a testament to that fact. Is it evil if people are allowed the freedom to participate in the economy in any way they choose? Is it evil that an individual can sell his services to the highest bidder? Is it evil to sell something for a higher price than you bought it for? NO! All these things are not bad in themselves. However, because men are sinful, the profits from these activities are often wasted on items that would prompt us to scream materialism. Yachts, jets, booze, drugs, cars, mansions, jewelry, you name it. Are people any less sinful or materialistic in a place that is not capitalist? NO! They are equally materialistic, but lack the means to express it. Christianity teaches that all our material benefits come from God and therefore should be used to help our fellow man in need. Maybe the materialism in our society isn’t due to capitalism. Maybe it is due to the decline of Christianity.
Another problem with our society (and all others for that matter) is that it glorifies material wealth as if being rich is the ultimate attainment in life. All your problems will be solved if you are rich. What is funny is that almost everyone knows this isn’t true, yet Satan uses our covetous nature to propagate the myth. Because of the myth, people are willing to sacrifice their family, their health, and their spiritual well being to get ahead. Is capitalism to blame for the poor decisions people make in their lives? NO! Covetousness is such a major component in American life that it will be around for decades after capitalism is eradicated.