CHRISTIANITY ENDORSES CAPITALISM: THE MATTHEW EFFECT
By Serwaa Ampaafo
Many principles of scripture align with the capitalistic model. However, some make arguments for the Bible supporting a socialistic economy but this is not consistent with all of scripture; only portions.
Scripture as a whole, both Old and New Testaments give many ideas, principles, or economic directives that align best with capitalism.
Regardless, No economic system exists in its pure form in the real world—all capitalist systems contain some elements of socialism, and vice versa.
The Bible as a whole supports an economic system that respects private property; a prominent feature of capitalism— Acts 5:1–4, Ephesians 4:28 coupled with many other verses in the old testament attest to this.
The commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is the clearest declaration of the right to private property in the bible.
Rodney Stark’s definition of capitalism is therefore biblically sound: He defines Capitalism as “an economic system wherein privately owned, relatively well-organized, and stable firms pursue complex commercial activities within a relatively free/unregulated market, taking a systematic, long-term approach to investing and reinvesting wealth directly or indirectly in productive activities involving a hired workforce, and guided by anticipated and actual returns.”
Christians who believe socialism is a more just economic system than capitalism argue that public ownership of property prevents the greed and envy that private ownership tends to create. This way of thinking, though reasonable, is incompatible with biblical teachings.
The capitalistic stance of the bible is further strengthened by Matthew 13:12 popularly known as the Matthew effect. The term has been used to explain lots of phenomena not only in religions but in sociology, Economics, Science etc as well.
THE MATTHEW EFFECT
With Matthew effect: the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. You might suppose that such a pessimistic proposition would be attributable to a great robber baron or tyrant.
The genesis of the idea, however, belongs to Jesus Christ the benevolent and beloved son of Jehovah.
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In Matthew 13:12 Jesus said “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them”
The Matthew effect sociological is some sort of cumulative advantage whereby an individual becomes more advantageous over others due to an already held advantage. For instance an individual from a rich family would definitely start out well and richer than someone from a poor family who has to start from scratch.
In fact it is a biblically wrongful act for Christians to want to reduce or eliminate inequality; because Jesus their divine/philosophical figure who supposedly flogged traders and preached on the nobility of the poor endorses inequality and thinks it is natural and inevitable.
However, to say that inequality is okay because it is natural is to commit the naturalistic fallacy. As was explained by David Hume in 1739, we cannot derive morality or how the world should be from how it is. With that said, then Jesus goofed!