Peanut butter and… jelly.
Singing in the… rain.
Long live the… king!
Greedy… capitalist pigs.
Rolls off the tongue, right? “The fatal flaw with capitalism is that it doesn’t account for human greed.” Naive, compassionate Christians are susceptible to finding this charge against capitalism persuasive. I know I did in my early adult years. The common argument is that where capitalism fails, socialism succeeds. Supposedly, socialism circumvents human greed and corruption by allowing the government to redistribute wealth from those with plenty to those in need. This is called compassionate government. And it is expected that compassionate citizens will support such policy.
This thinking is a thought swamp. And the Word of God is the effective power to rescue men from the bog of balderdash.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 says, “I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.”
Outside of Christ, all men are given to sinful passions. Solomon recognizes that all men are motivated by envious and greedy rivalry in their work and productivity. This is not only true in one economic system. This is true wherever there are sinful men. Work and productivity are good. Man’s motivations are for himself and his own personal gain.
In light of this verse, socialism fails on multiple fronts. First, it doesn’t deliver on its promise to overcome human greed. The men in government redistributing the wealth are driven by personal greed. And the greed of many on the receiving end of the redistribution is simply inflamed and rewarded.
Second, while the greed isn’t dealt with at all, work and productivity are crippled. Hard working and productive individuals have their incentive to work hard and produce smashed. They want personal profit, but their profits are slashed. And so all socialism does in an Ecclesiastes 4:4 world is reduce work output and productivity.
Third, if we pretend that socialism is a response to greed, and not a manifestation of greed, which it is, then it is responding to an evil with an evil. Sin doesn’t make sin right. Theft doesn’t atone for greed. It just compounds sin. Theft is wrong, whether done by you or by your elected official. And socialism is theft. In God’s world, your stuff is your stuff, and my stuff is my stuff. For my stuff to become your stuff or his stuff without theft being committed, I need to willingly give it. Socialism coercively takes it…with guns…which is theft.
In light of Ecclesiastes 4:4, capitalism is superior to socialism, not the golden pig of greed monsters. Capitalism recognizes that greed cannot be dealt with by a government; so it doesn’t try to fix it. Greed is an ill of the human heart, and can only be conquered by the crucified and risen King. Conversion to faith in Christ, new birth, not government sanctioned theft, is the answer to human greed. Capitalism recognizes that men are driven by rivalries to work more and produce more. It gives men and groups of men the freedom to work and produce and voluntarily exchange goods and capital with one another, whatever the motivations may be.
Capitalism opens the door to greater prosperity. Socialism is a vice in and of itself, and cannibalistically saps prosperity.
Greed is killed at the cross, and nowhere else.