Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mohler on the Economic Crisis

Dr. R. Albert Mohler has written a cogent defense of Capitalism in the face of the down-turned economy on his blog. There are several summarized points of his post that are of particular note.

1) The elements for a strong economy are still in place.

2) Greed has played a strong part in the current downturn of the economy.

3) Christians have the responsibility to apply the elements of their faith to their transactions.

These are points I have repeatedly made in the last several months, if not as succinctly. About greed specifically, Dr. Mohler writes,

The desire for a profit, for income, and for material gain is not in itself greed. . . Greed raises its ugly head when individuals and groups . . . seek an unrealistic gain at the expense of others and then use illegitimate means to gain what they want. Given the nature of this fallen world and the reality of human sinfulness, we should expect that greed will be a constant temptation. Greed will entice the rich to oppress the poor [and the poor will attempt to steal from the rich], partners in transactions to lie to one another, and investors [will] take irrational risks. All of these are evident in this current crisis.

I am in complete agreement. Much of Scripture hinges upon human interaction and requires moral action as a means of honoring God and living at peace with one's fellows.

We are called to specific action concerning the income God gives us. Mohler mentions that we are to be stewards with our money. We must look at all of our spending and our investments and determine if this purchase or that account will glorify God. Does this advance biblical principles, or does it only serve my whims? Am I honoring God by investing in a company that conducts business ethically, or do they have a history of cutting corners or mistreating their employees?

As I have said before, Christians should be informed and philosophical consumers. Find out about the products you use, how they are made, and how they are shipped. Steer away from products that are not ethically produced. The same goes for the retailers of the products. Informed consumption will change how this country's businesses operate . . . over time. This small step can create a strong economy by manipulating the process of supply and demand, the building blocks of Capitalism, without the need for detrimental Governmental intervention.

A point of practical application: Try starting a consumer group through your church small groups, assigning rotating product and corporate research to different individuals. Decide which products are philosophically appropriate for your church members to buy. Post them in a meeting area. Of course, we don't want to condemn our brethren for buying the "wrong" kind of toothpaste, but we can encourage each other to take simple steps toward economic change. This might look similar to our recycling programs or canned-food drives.

Thank you, Dr. Mohler, for another insightful article.

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