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While Occupy Wall Street seems to have spent its mass protest energy, the movement continues to muster strength in its rhetoric about the elite "one percent" and the long-term consequences of growing income and wealth gaps between the haves and the have-nots. Capitalism has created wealth, but many argue that that wealth has not benefited the greater population. Is this an inherent flaw in capitalism? Or are there other issues that need addressing first?

The global financial meltdown exposed structural inequalities in economic systems that protect the rich and leave the poor vulnerable. Recent news headlines report a widening income gap, stagnation among the middle class, and limited social mobility. Has capitalism failed? How can teachings and practices from religious communities help shape an economic system that is more inclusive and fair, and that better reflects religious ideals?

The Patheos Public Square is produced in partnership with Christianity Today and the Progressive Christian Initiative.

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Featured Panelists

What Would It Mean to Work for the Divine Commonwealth?

What Would It Mean to Work for the Divine Commonwealth?

Timothy Murphy, Progressive Christians Uniting

While many people still retain faith in capitalism, Christians are called to a different allegiance.

The Contested American Dream

The Contested American Dream

Drew Cleveland, Evangelical, Kern Pastors Network

Despite our flaws, we desire to be a civilization that allows for social mobility, rewards ingenuity and hard work, and values the freedom to be self-sufficient.

Dreaming Beyond the American Dream

Dreaming Beyond the American Dream

Joerg Rieger, Progressive Christian, professor

Abrahamic faith is deeply concerned about the material well-being of people. The question is, what is our material vision?

The Better Question: Can We Hope That Capitalism Might Fail?

The Better Question: Can We Hope That Capitalism Might Fail?

Rhyd Wildermuth, Pagan blogger, "A Sense of Place"

Capitalism hasn't failed. And if the last three hundred years has taught us anything, it is that there is no hope against it.

I Do Not Believe In Capitalism

I Do Not Believe In Capitalism

Nimue Brown, Pagan blogger, "Pagan Leadership"

Capitalism functions in exactly the same way as any other faith position. It is only our belief in money that makes money viable as a system.

Asking the Right Question

Asking the Right Question

David Dashifen Kees, Pagan blogger, "The Wild Garden"

I propose a better question: if it's working for some, for whom has capitalism failed?

Actual Capitalists v. Spoiled, Egotistical Artistes

Actual Capitalists v. Spoiled, Egotistical Artistes

Joe Carter, Evangelical author and editor, Acton Institute

Ayn Rand didn't understand capitalism. Or altruism. Or Christianity. Or reality.

The Problem with Capitalism Is Us

The Problem with Capitalism Is Us

Tim Suttle, Progressive Christian blogger, "Paperback Theology"

If capitalism isn't working, it's not because the system is flawed, but because we are flawed.

Why Feed the Hungry When We Can Bicker About Words Instead?

Why Feed the Hungry When We Can Bicker About Words Instead?

Greg Forster, Evangelical, Kern Family Foundation

Open access to market exchange and secure property rights for the poor are not just good for growth, they're basic commitments of equal human dignity.

Commentary From Our Blogging Community

Is the Growing Gap between Rich and Poor Prima Facie Evidence of an Unjust System?

Is the Growing Gap between Rich and Poor Prima Facie Evidence of an Unjust System?

Roger E. Olson

Is the Growing Gap between Rich and Poor Prima Facie Evidence of Injustice? Yes. In the world today the richest one percent hold more wealth than the poorest forty-eight percent. And gap is widening. In the United States today the richest ten percent hold more wealth than the poorest forty-three percent and the gap is [Read More...]

Profit and religious liberty

Profit and religious liberty

Kern Pastors Network

Our inadequate theology of work and economics has encouraged our culture to think about religion in a way that forces it out of cultural life.

How Capitalism is Killing Liberal Christianity

How Capitalism is Killing Liberal Christianity

Guest Contributor

By Colin Kerr, author and campus missionary Is liberal Christianity committing suicide? New York Times columnist Roth Douthat thinks so.  Yet by forecasting the inevitable demise of mainline churches that move in the direction of affirming women in church leadership and genuinely welcoming gays and lesbians, he provided a rare opportunity for some healthy soul-searching [...]

Christian Critics of Capitalism

Christian Critics of Capitalism

John Turner

One major reason that more Christians are not critical of capitalism is a simple belief that it works pretty well compared to most economic systems.

Community, Anti-Capitalism, and the Gospel

Community, Anti-Capitalism, and the Gospel

Grace Aheron

The belief that I am only in the “real world” once I am making a salary and contributing to the capitalist machine is a noxious lie we are primed to breathe and believe.

Pope Francis, Capitalism, the Invisible Hand, and a Polite Dissent

Pope Francis, Capitalism, the Invisible Hand, and a Polite Dissent

Dan Peterson

    As many others do, Catholic and non-Catholic, I find very much to admire in Pope Francis.   But I’m afraid I’m going to have to register some reservations about his new “apostolic exhortation,” Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”).   The Roman Catholic Church has long had a problem with free economic [Read More...]

When life has killed the American dream

When life has killed the American dream

Acton Institute

What will happen when life kills the American dream? The current socio-political system is increasingly not working for those who work hard and smart to achieve. That will mean the need for a change, hopefully for the better, for a system that works for the people, not against them.

Is Capitalism Immoral? An Interview with Father Robert Sirico

Is Capitalism Immoral? An Interview with Father Robert Sirico

Countless detractors over the years have argued that capitalism is intrinsically immoral. Is it true?

Jesus, Socialism, and Capitalism

Jesus, Socialism, and Capitalism

James McGrath

Jesus said nothing about implementing any Christian principles in government, unless one includes the future Kingdom of God he envisaged as involving “government.”

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