EDITORIAL: Christian and capitalist?

By NEMS Daily Journal

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Some see the apostle Paul’s admonition quoted above as an argument against business. How can one “look … to the interests of others” if one is trying to make a profit from them?
Yet collectivist approaches to economics often result in poverty, while capitalism, if governed by a measure of morality and a dearth of favoritism, can be the proverbial rising tide that lifts all boats.
Richard Doster, editor of “By Faith” magazine, suggested recently that capitalism inherently seeks to meet needs by employing people’s inherent creativity.
“Consider your morning routine,” he writes. “God didn’t create your bed. He didn’t create indoor plumbing, electricity, toothbrushes, or soap.
“But think about how, in the process of creating, distributing, and selling all those products, we’re able to give God glory,” Doster continues. “And when we produce those products for others we demonstrate love for our neighbors.”
Not that commerce can substitute for charity. Doster wrote in the immediate aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquake, “The people of Haiti need money, food, water, medicine – and they need it now.”
But neither can charity substitute for commerce.
“When the crisis passes, the money will be gone, the food and water will have been consumed, and the people of Haiti will still be poor,” Doster added. “The only lasting solution to poverty is wealth, and only business – not government, not non-profits, not even the church – creates wealth.”
“Wealth is created when human beings creatively transform matter into resources,” states the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. “Because human beings can create wealth, economic exchange need not be a zero-sum game.” Officially “poor” Americans who have even luxuries such as air conditioning and Web-browsing phones prove that assertion daily.
One way to “remember the poor,” as Scripture dictates, is to create more of the things they need, to make them better, to make them at lower cost.
“Business has a special role to play in bringing hope – and not only hope, but actual economic progress – to indigent people,” writes Michael Novak, author of “Business as a Calling: Work and the Examined Life.”
“And that is one of the noblest callings inherent in business: to raise up the poor.”