Are Free Markets Compatible with the Bible?
A couple of years ago, I heard a talk given by a religion professor in which he argued that free markets were incompatible with the Bible. Let’s look quickly at some of the texts he used:
The rich young ruler of Luke 18:18-25 (also Matthew 19:16-26 and Mark 10:17-27) was told by Jesus that he should give all his wealth to the poor. And yet this is not a condemnation of markets or wealth inequality. I suggest that this was to point out that Jesus was putting a finger on the very thing that this man held in higher regard than God: his material wealth. Those who have wealth are strongly tempted to idolize it and reject God in favor of those temporary comforts wealth allows. But wealth is not evil. Ethical means of gaining wealth through markets aren’t evil either.
The book of Amos played a large part in the professor’s argument. Remember that Amos was a prophet and was speaking God’s words to the people, and especially a group of powerful wealthy people in Israel. He used harsh words for the fattened rich who relax in one of their multiple houses and “crush the needy” while asking for another drink. (Amos 3:15-4:1)Continue reading at www.economicsforeverybody.com