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In various pieces over the last few years I have hacked at the pillars of one of the untouchable golden calves on the conservative side of politics; capitalism.

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To some conservatives there is only capitalism and communism and this is akin to saying good and evil, freedom and slavery, respectively. I remember one person telling me it was not possible for there to be other economic systems. Which was remarkably funny, because though I am not an expert on economic systems throughout history, I know that the economic system in the Old Testament is neither capitalist or communist, and there are many other examples of different systems throughout various periods of history. So to say there is only two choices is a false binary, one of the many false binaries people fall for in our modern world.

But the essential problem with capitalism comes down to this one issue: you cannot allow completely private and free markets, and free trade to take over your society, because if you do, nothing will be held sacred and everything will become monetised and become a commodity of one kind or another for trade. Mammon is a great evil, and should not be the basis of your society or the master. Rather money should be a servant of what is good.

Anyone who ponders the effect that abundant and poorly regulated trade is having on nations today, can see that the benefits of capitalism are now being thoroughly overshadowed by the downsides. I covered this in some detail in one of my most read pieces The Devil Corrupts With Free Trade, where I highlight how the Bible already warned what will happen if we unleash Mammon on our nations. I don’t even really propose rejecting the system outright, I simply believe putting in some checks, like regular debt wipes and resets in the Biblical sense of a Jubilee (not the WEF subverted version), would create release valves for when things get too unbalanced. But what is remarkable is how great thinkers throughout history have come to similar conclusions on the downsides of capitalism.

For instance, G. K. Chesterton, who noted this, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists;”[i] He has a way of making the most piercing points on any issue doesn’t he? Too much capitalism leads to the monetisation of everything, including the home life, men and women are turned into nothing more than economic beings, who are made to work for the corporations, the home is broken down, and free enterprise suffers and power centralizes in the hands of a few. This creates an increasingly powerful oligarchical class, and an increasingly fractured and servile working class. He saw it coming. We are living it. 

The Coincidence - a novel by Gabriel Moens

This is the inevitable outcome of allowing your society to bow to Mammon, it will dominate and crush your people into the haves and have nots. You cannot monetise everything and keep the soul of your society. Because monetising everything is akin to making money your god, and Mammon is an exacting deity that holds long and merciless accounts of debts owed. 

If the greats like G.K. Chesterton saw this, then we should take notice. It is time for those of us on the right to rethink what economic policies we defend, and how we think about money. Also we should ponder what other things both the Bible and history warned us about, if we would just pay attention. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that this is not an advocacy for Communism, you don’t solve a problem by choosing a worse solution. This is an argument to seek the great sources of history and Scripture and see what solutions were proposed by our betters in times past. We might learn something good and useful, and civilisation preserving. Let’s hope we do.  

Matthew Littlefield writes to think through some of the current issues facing society, the Church and whatever else comes to mind that might be interesting to process. Matt's focus is usually historical or scriptural, though he will address current issues from time to time as well. He is a co-author of The Ezekiel Declaration and the book, Defending Conscience, How Baptists reminded the Church to defy tyranny. He blogs most days at YoungGospelMinister.blogspot.com.

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