What difference does economics make to a Christian? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Christians are not supposed to be of the world. Right? If so, should we care about economic policy? Should we not be busy with matters of the Kingdom? What difference does it make to us about economic theory?
I say all of this because we are in 2020 and this is a presidential election year and as has been said before, “It’s the economy, stupid.” This is one of the big drives for a vote this year. Some think the economy is doing great. Others have their concerns about it.
Another area of contention that is often had is how to help the poor. A mistake I think made here is to assume that one side does not want to help the poor. I am a highly committed capitalist who does want to help the poor. I don’t doubt my friends who are more socialist want to help the poor. What I doubt is their methodology. They may have good intentions, but good intentions do not necessarily equal good results. Too often, it is not assumed that I have good intentions in promoting capitalism. (Since I count myself among the poor, it’s hard to see what benefits I am getting.)
While we are to be about the Kingdom, we are also to be living in the world that is. It is not the sinful world as if anything in this world is pure evil. We are to seek the welfare of the society that we are in and strive for the best. That includes learning good economics.
My wife had a friend once who asked why it is here in America that there are fewer Black or Hispanic or Asian dolls. Why are they white? The assumption was that this was racist. I said it’s not racism, but it is rather supply and demand. Most people here in America are white and girls who play with dolls assume their children will be the same race as they are. If you went to Africa, black dolls would sell out. In Mexico it would be Hispanic dolls and in China it would be Asian dolls. If we are going to say it’s racism here, then it would have to be anywhere else.
There are plenty of great works on economics that can be read from all perspectives. Some are very capitalist. Some are very socialist. Economic thinking is also really a lot of fun. If you can learn to think well on economics, you can learn how to think better in every other area.
Also, if you truly want to help the poor, you need to find which methods truly do help the poor. The little boy trying to help the butterfly break free earlier by poking a hole in its home might be thinking he is helping, but in reality he is killing the butterfly regardless of his intentions. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This election cycle as in all others, it’s always good to be informed. Go get some good books on economics if you want to be. Don’t just go with what you read online or listen to on the radio. Really study some economic theory from some of the greatest minds in economics. Your intentions are not enough. You need a method that produces good results and for that, you need to study economics.