I'm not a political animal. That being true, I like to find people who know more about political issues than do I and are able to talk about them better than can I. So here goes.
But first there is a need to understand that I'm presenting this simply as an American citizen concerned about the country I love NOT as a preacher. I don't often speak on political issues much less write on them but believe this is one time I should.
In our present crisis economically as a nation there is much political talk about the good/bad aspects of government intervention in the business life of America. Most agree that it is a move toward socialism albeit some say to only a small degree. Besides, they would say, what's wrong with that?
Some people would argue that socialism helps the poor while others would argue it is anti-American and destructive. Those who view socialism favorably would argue against capitalism because they say it favors the rich and is therefore more destructive than socialism.
I don't really know what to say. I do know what I intuitively think but would not be the best in stating why I think it because of the truth of the first five words of the body of this post.
But I did find this fellow who said something I think is worth hearing. [Obviously it rings my intuitive bell.] Below is a portion of a speech given by Michael Novak on the Virtue of Capitalism. The full speech can be found here...http://www.nationalreview.com/novak/novak200402180913.asp.
As you read this I want to say that I desire for it to simply add to the discussion of where we are as a nation and where we perhaps need to be. It's political but we CAN have a civil discussion about things of this nature as well as theology I believe. At least I hope so. What do YOU think?
Wealth @ Virtue--A Moral Case For Capitalism... given in Sri Lanka on January 11 2004 by Michael Novak.
"It is not difficult to understand why the practical case for capitalism is easy to grasp. No other system so rapidly raises up the living standards of the poor, so thoroughly improves the conditions of life, or generates greater social wealth and distributes it more broadly. [Than does capitalism]
In the long competition of the last 100 years, neither socialist nor third-world experiments have performed as well in improving the lot of common people, paid higher wages, and more broadly multiplied liberties and opportunities.
This point needs elaboration since, in Marxist analysis, the only beneficiaries of capitalism are said to be the rich. In actual fact, it is the poor who gain most from capitalism. [Italics mine] That is why the poor have always gravitated toward capitalist countries. That is why my own grandparents (and scores of millions of others) left Europe for America. They sought opportunity, and they found it. Desperately poor on their arrival (just before 1900), they lived to own their own homes, watching their children and grandchildren advancing in income and education. "Give me your tired, your poor. . ." the Statue of Liberty beckoned to the world; and nearly 100 percent of Americans did come to America poor. Today barely over 12 percent of Americans are poor (which is defined as having an income below $18,000 per year for a family of four). That means that 88 percent are not poor, and we still have about 12 percent to help. In 1990, 38 percent of the American poor owned their own homes; 95 percent of the poor had their own television sets; and a poor American was more likely to own an automobile than the average Western European.
Today, the percentage of the American poor who own their own homes has climbed from 38 to 46 percent; more than half own two or more color televisions; almost two-thirds have cable or "dish" TV; three-quarters have a VCR or DVD player. Nearly three quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more. Beyond the poor, half of all families have incomes above $50,000 per year. About 20 percent have incomes above $91,000 per year.
It is sometimes suggested that American blacks are poor. But in the year 2002, 24 percent were poor; over 75 percent were not poor. Half of all black married couple households had incomes over $52,000 per year. The total income of America's 26 million blacks over the age of 15 came to $650 billion in 2002. This is larger than the Gross Domestic Product of all but 15 nations.
This is not to say that the task of eliminating poverty in America (or other capitalist countries) is finished. It isn't. But it is crucial to grasp that the task of capitalism is measured by how well it enriches the poor. To an amazing extent, it does do this. [Italics mine.] I would bet you that the great majority of Americans can remember when their families were poor, two or three generations ago; but they are not poor today.
In the nations of Western Europe and in Japan, the case is similar. So also in South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other newly capitalist countries. Measure capitalism by how well it raises up the poor. That is the test it is designed to meet. Look around the world and see."