I am involved in a conversation on facebook at the moment about free market economics. The conversation includes some theists (such as Nick Peters) who espouse trickle down economics. I have written about free market economics and trickle down economics at great lengths before, but it is interesting to do so with at least some reference to Jesus. There was talk about certain parables, and the idea of an arguably redistributive tax called the Jubilee, in the context of this trickle down economics. My most recent comment was:
I think it is important to elucidate what is meant by capitalism and socialism. I am in some senses a socialist, but advocate for the sort of mixed economics that has allowed the UK to flourish. It is not trickle down economics, and trickle down economics is the sort of captitalism espoused by free marketeers of the more extreme kind.
It is such free market capitalism, where the government regulation is kept to a minimum and taxes are stripped back, that cannot allow for regulation and moral arbitration the sort we are used to, and that social democracies of the Nordic states adhere to.
Back to the OP – trickle down economics does not work.
Jesus was an itinerant preacher, and his stories would not have had any meaningful economics threaded through them. OK, so you guys think he is divine. I don’t; either way, he was no economist, and the sorts of moral direction he gave would, imho, have been better supported by an economic politics which allowed for equalities not afforded by free market economics.After all, free marketeers in the Industrial Revolution argued for maintaining child labourers on fields, down mines and up chimneys. It was govt regulation that stopped this. And, in line with moral teachings, I would argue, it was the churches who helped start the movement for universal education for those out of work children.
That’s the power of social democracies that use economics to the positive ends of the collective, rather than individualists who use free market economics to their own individual benefits and ends.
Here endeth the lesson.
What is interesting is that captialism vs socialism is often seen as individualism vs collectivism, and this has some important ramifications with regard to the context of Jesus and his teachings. Do you think Jesus would have advocated such ideological individualism? Really?
I guess I am asking you, the readers, as to what sort of economy and society and politics who think Jesus would have advocated, would have fought for (perhaps pacifistically)?
It is a very common thing to see the religious right and free market, even libertarian, economics all melded together. Interesting, given Jesus’ teachings. The individualism of the libertarian seems at odds with the selfless sacrifice to the good of the others, the collective, that Jesus perhaps embodied.