Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

First Things reviews Jay Richards’ Money, Greed and God

Short book review here.

Here’s the full text:

Jay W. Richards channels the spirit of Michael Novak and provides a basic introduction to how and why a Christian can be a capitalist. Because man is made in the image of a creative God, he has the potential to create and multiply wealth. The core components of capitalism—free exchange, limited government, private property—allow this potential better than any alternative system. Although he shows that self-interest is not necessarily selfish, Richards also explains that the market can, in fact, channel selfish actions into positive outcomes. Responding to such critics as Ron Sider and Jim Wallis, Richards argues that the creation of wealth helped by economic freedom and the rule of law provides the best means of raising the poor out of poverty, in contrast to government-based redistribution of wealth or regulations of minimum wage.

Richards also offers critiques of communism, developmental aid to impoverished countries, and global warming, along with an extended argument against the notion that capitalism allows the unchecked depletion of natural resources. Because human beings are creative, Richards reminds us, they are not mere consumers but active producers. In response to charges of consumerism, Richards notes that consumerism comes from gluttony, not from free enterprise itself. The book concludes with a chapter on the workings of the free market as a sign of God’s provident care for sinful man. For those looking to wed faith and economics, the book provides a welcome challenge to reigning orthodoxies.

To understand what capitalism is, you can watch this lecture entitled “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem” by Jay W. Richards, delivered at the Heritage Foundation think tank, and televised by C-SPAN2. (Link below)

If you can’t see the Richards video, here is an audio lecture by Jay Richards on the “Myths Christians Believe about Wealth and Poverty“. Also, why not check out this series of 4 sermons by Wayne Grudem on the relationship between Christianity and economics? (a PDF outline is here)

Here’s a lecture with Jay Richards from the libertarian Cato Institute.

UPDATE: From a helpful comment below.

Updated link for video (link in blog results in an error).

http://www.booktv.org/Watch/10489/Money+Greed+and+God+Why+Capitalism+is+the+Solution+and+Not+the+Problem.aspx

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2 Responses

  1. Drew says:

    If you want to see Ronald Sider completely demolished, I recommend Productive Christians in an Age of Wealth-Manipulators by David Chilton. It’s also pretty entertaining how mean he mocks Sider in the process.

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