Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ronald Nash on Capitialism and the Bible



In light of the trashing of capitalism of late, and the sad, bad, and mad move toward socialism, I suggest you read this speech by the late Christian philosopher, Ronald Nash on "Socialism, Capitalism, and the Bible."

11 comments:

Steve Schuler said...

In light of your recent exhortations against universal health care in America, I am left to wonder if you would maintain your position if your own circumstances had prevented Rebecca from receiving the medical attention she has received of late. That is, if you were uninsured and not able to meet the financial demands of her medical treatments would you still be so opposed to "socialized medicine"? Millions of Americans are in such a position, perhaps deservedly. I think not.

Given the current worldwide economic crisis and the widespread attempts by governments to intervene in this crisis of Capitalism I am a little surprised that you are not more concerned by the "interventionist" strategies and tactics being employed to stabilize the economy. A number of recent articles have projected a possible cost to the American taxpayer at $4,000,000,000.00 dollars (4 trillion) in additional bailout money to the banks and finacial industry, i.e. "capitalist". While it is evident that you love to hate Barrack Obama and all that you think he stands for, in fairness you should acknowledge that his administration inherited a 1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit (a substantial portion of that in Bush's Capitalist Bailout Bucks) and a national debt in excess of 10trillion dollars, a debt accumulated largely by Republican administrations beginning with Ronald Reagan's. It is not clear to me just exactly what the Conservatives are conserving.

Doug Groothuis said...

I don't "love to hate" anyone. I take stands against ideas and individuals I disagree with. There is much to disagree with concerning Obama's ideas and character.

Capitalism did not invent this crisis: needless pressure on banks to make bad loans did so. The answer to it is not socialism, not the bailout.

Bush was a reckless spender; I disagreed with that. I'm more conservative that he was on economics. The way to raise tax revenues is cutting taxes. This lets more people make more money, which is taxed. Regan proved that, but everyone forgot it or pretends it never happened

The uninsured in the US still get medical care. Hospitals and doctors provide it. Nationalizing health care will make for shortages, long waits, and take control away from doctors and patients.

None of what you said responds to Nash's arguments.

Tom Wanchick said...

Ronald Nash was a great philosopher and a fearless Christian apologist.

I believe he wrote an entire book on the topic of capitalism. I'm sure it probably looks at the Scriptural implications in this area. Alas, I forget the title.

Jamin Hubner said...

"in fairness you should acknowledge that his administration inherited a 1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit (a substantial portion of that in Bush's Capitalist Bailout Bucks) and a national debt in excess of 10trillion dollars, a debt accumulated largely by Republican administrations beginning with Ronald Reagan's."

- That's partly true. What you forgot is that Obama inherited the fruit of his own choices during his time in the US Senate, aka spending, not to mention of course his liberal colleagues who have likewise forged spending bill after spending bill.
The government hasn't stabilized any economy without de-stabilizing it. But as any good economist knows, some can only see a few weeks or months ahead, ignoring the future consequences of debt, etc. That of course, is where we are where we are as a national economy.

PrinceOfFools said...

As a compliment to Nash's article here is an interesting quote from John Maynard Keynes (the Economist credited for establishing the foundations for Obamanomics):

"“[T]he theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state, than is the theory of the production and distribution of a given output produced under conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire.”"

The complete article from which this was pulled is found here:
http://fee.org/featured/goal-freedom-keynes-returns/

The thing that has long perplexed me about the left's view that Government spending keyed the post WWII economic boom is that the belief seems to ignore the fact that much of the infrastructure and industries of our European and Asian competitors was destroyed during the war. Stands to reason that the US economy would have boomed just fine without the spending "rescue".

Steve Schuler said...

I made the mistake of saying that "it was evident" per your emotional regards for Obama when I should have said, "it appears to me".

I have read various accounts of the many factors and multiple considerations that are involved with the current state of economic affairs. While it may be politically expedient to say, "Capitalism did not invent this crisis: needless pressure on banks to make bad loans did so.", I have been led believe that this is an overly simple and inaccurate assesment. It seems that many factors and an almost incredible degree of individual and institutional irresponsibility have culminated in the situation we currently find ourselves in.

What is commonly referred to as Reaganomics has wide and varied groups of proponents and critics. That Reagan has attained an almost mythological status is something of a mystery to me. I can point out that during Reagan's terms in office our national debt doubled from approximately 1 trillion dollars to about 2 trillion dollars, making his presidency the first since World War II to add to the national debt. All previous administrations had suceeded in reducing that burden. Doubling the national debt is no trifling accomplishment and might lead one to question the wisdom of those who think what we really need now is another Reagan to set things right.

I don't profess to know the solution/solutions to the economic problems facing this country and the rest of the world. I could probably be described as a political/economic atheist in the sense that I am not an adherent of, have no faith in, and do not believe in any party, philosophy, or ideology of a political or economic nature. The whole history and structure of politics and economics is of great interest to me however I think I lack sufficient knowledge and understaning to ally myself with any philosophy in an honest or meaningful way. I do have a strong sense that most of the world's problems lay not so much in systemic failures as in the collective result of our personal shortcomings. My best advice to myself is to improve myself, or allow myself to be improved upon. While I may continue to challenge you in some ways, it is not because I believe I have removed the beam from my own eye and can now see clearly to remove the splinter from yours.

Jim Weaver said...

It's hard to take seriously a discussion of economics that claims to reflect a biblical world view and yet ignores the sort of economy that God setup for Israel with its careful distribution of land, provision for the poor and year of Jubilee. If Nash thought that the Jubilee regulations which were part of the holiness code and related to the concept of the sabbath could be ignored as pertaining to an "extinct cultural situation or practice", then he missed a major biblical thread. While what God had Israel establish was not by any stretch socialism; it was not free market capitalism either. There was a limit on accumulation; in the Jubilee the land went back to its original owners.

Here's a question for the constructive side of the "Constructive Curmudgeon". Is there a biblical concept of "profit? The market definition of profit is reward for risk. Maybe an economy in which profit is primarily viewed as reward for risk is inherently unstable.

PrinceOfFools said...

Jim, I wanted to offer a quick comment on your note that "The market definition of profit is reward for risk. Maybe an economy in which profit is primarily viewed as reward for risk is inherently unstable."

Primarily sound and successful risks bring about profit in a free market oriented economy. I would contend that an economy that is geared toward rewarding unsound and unsuccessful risk and/or risk avoidance is inherently more unstable. A free market oriented economy that includes fallible humans cannot be perfect but I think it is the best bad option available.

Andy said...

"Capitalism did not invent this crisis: needless pressure on banks to make bad loans did so. "

Honest question: what was the source of of the "needless pressure" on the banks?

Thanks.

DAG said...

If Capitalism and greed are then synonymous (above question/comment), it naturally follows then that one's desire to go to work and get paid for it is pure greed as well. Can't have it both ways.

Kevin and Carina said...

I don't understand how anyone even vaguely familiar with Dr. Ronald Nash and his so-called philosophy could take him seriously -- about anything. After listening to his lecture series on "Modern Philosophy" I found it astounding that this man was allowed to lecture at an accredited institution of higher-education. In his lectures, Nash didn't set out to explain the ideas of thinkers like Rousseau, Marx, Nietzsche et. al., but to assassinate their characters. "Rousseau gave up his children to adoption; therefore he was a moral cretin and his philosophy was worthless." Nash employed this ad-hominem method on every thinker he disliked, that is, everyone who was not a Bible-thumping reactionary like himself. The fact that he was an arch-conservative doesn't bother me, but the way he abused his postion as a professor to harangue his students with his own politics (something he always claimed that only liberals did) does. Nash may have been a good man with sense of humor in his private life, but he was an extremely poor scholar and lacks all legitimacy as a serious thinker on either religious, political, or social issues.