How should Christians think about economics and free enterprise? Should Christians be socialists? Jay Richards addresses these important questions in his book Money, Greed and God:Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2010). Richards came to Southeastern Seminary to talk about this book, capitalism, socialism, the art of economics, Ayn Rand, Adam Smith and more.
Watch his lecture above, or read an excerpt below (edited for clarity).
Why Jay Richards makes the case against socialism and for economic freedom.
“In 1999 through 2001, I was on college campuses — including a lot of conservative Christian campuses — in which the same bad ideas I had in 1985 and 1986 were alive and well in the minds of 20-somethings in college, even in this late day. That’s when I realized that there is something about socialism that is a perennial temptation. It appeals to people’s moral intuitions, and it appeals to Christians’ moral intuitions. So you constantly have to make the case again for economic freedom.
“That’s the joke. It’s frustration that got me into this. There are all these great arguments [for economic freedom], things by the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids. They have this wonderful journal called The Journal for Markets and Morality that I had read for years. But no one knows about it, unless you go to a seminar and read that. You feel like these arguments are not getting to the ground where people need them. So that’s what got me into this.”
What is economics?
“Economics at bottom is about human beings, and how we trade, create, coopearate and compete with goods and services and information. It’s about us….
“Our goal should be to integrate the descriptive truths and theoretical insights of economics with the normative principles of ethics and the normative truths of theology.”