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Capitalism versus Socialism


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Excellent explanations of various ideologies, relevant economic concepts, and how well the Biblical teachings conform to those systems.

Since it was founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century, Socialism has managed to sweep back into public acceptance time and time again despite it having only created destruction and misery every time it has been tried. This perseverance of the ideology has been largely due to being based on vague theories and concepts as argued through mental gymnastics and obfuscation, which has allowed its acolytes to frame the discussion as the historical instances of Socialism not being "real Socialism" and that they were actually just "State Capitalism".

The appeal of Socialism is often claimed to be compassion and interest in serving for the needs of the poor, and thus Socialists sometimes point to the Bible and the teachings/actions of Jesus to argue in favor of their ideology (despite most of them not being Christians themselves). In Capitalism Versus Socialism: What Does the Bible Have to Say?, Thomas Simpson excellently illustrates how misleading such claims actually are, and that the teachings of the Bible are for the most part contradictory to the Socialist ideology.

Simpson is a remarkable writer and has done a fantastic job with the structure and contents of the book, making it perfect for a newcomer to economics and political philosophy. Under the course of the book, he explains the philosophical and political principles characterizing various ideologies/economic systems (Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and the Welfare State) and delineates relevant economic concepts to show how they'll tend to do in practice. Based on that understanding, he ties it into how certain Bible verses can (and have) been used to argue for or against these ideologies, and reflects upon them in light of how they may be interpreted and what other verses may say.

All in all, he shows that although the Bible does advocate compassion and caring for one another and the poor, it doesn't delegate this role to a centralized institution such as a government to act as a representative for the collective. In a Capitalist, free-market system, people are free to pursue their goals and earn the income they work for, and leaves it up to the individual to decide how to spend his time and money, whether that be indulging in greed and selfishness, or volunteering and donating to charities to help those worse off. Jesus did not advocate forced redistribution, but rather earnest, voluntary charity, for as he says in 2 Corinthians 9:7: "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

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Avid reader curious to always learn more about human nature and the world at large. Our capacity of reason allows us to explore these wonders, hence Pascal's assertion that "Man is obviously made to think. It is the whole of his dignity, his whole merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought."


About the author

Dr. Simpson spent most of his career working on policy issues at the Federal Reserve Board. He provided assistance to countries transitioning from socialist to market economies. Since 2006, he has taught economics at UNCW and was an economic adviser to Dr. Ben Carson. view profile

Published on May 10, 2020

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40000 words

Genre: Humanities & Social Sciences

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