Let’s look at the problems of overt capitalism without any concern for other people and without some form of social justice or even just some common sense. Firstly, it is solely about profit, large profit, and nothing else really matters other than that. Secondly, it is often harshly exploitative of everyone involved, except a few at the top and a slightly bigger minority in the middle. Thirdly, it encourages through the profit motive the practise of paying low wages at the bottom and trying to get as much for products as possible. Fourthly, often the very wealthiest people and the global corporations, the one who could afford to pay the most, are actually paying the least in tax. That alone should be enough for people to think about. This is just on a simple human greed level.
We then come to the moral issue, the one that often seems to be ignored or brushed under the carpet. When people are utterly selfish and completely obsessed by greed and being wealthy at all and any cost, it often almost always impacts on everyone else, in some way or other. People see that justice and compassion, consideration and fairplay are for losers and nice people, and that being aggressive, selfish, arrogant, ruthlessly ambitious, cavalier about other people and overly greedy benefits a person far more in the end. Being greedy means that wealth is concentrated more and more in fewer and fewer hands and gives less and less people a chance to benefit from that wealth. It also creates more and more people who think that the only way to get on is to be as ruthless as those who are rich, so creating more inequity and more reasons to exploit other people. ‘We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it; but as long as we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to trial; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and harmful ambitions which plunge people into ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all evils' and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds.’ (1 Timothy 6:7-10 NJB)
Some people have abandoned any moral or decent behaviour, even Christians who put greed and selfish ruthless ambition, lose sight of anything that is real and get caught up in what is worldly and also get caught up in competition with other people to have the most money, the biggest business, the biggest and most expensive house, the most expensive car, the holiday home, all the most expensive things and the trappings that comes with having lots of money. Then what? Once you have millions, once money becomes in a sense immaterial, where do you go then, what do you do and what can actually add anything to your life when you have everything you want? Then it just becomes a monopoly game where a person just has and wants more and more for no good reason, and all the double standards and unfairness meted out to poor people that there is no money for fair wages, no money in some wealthy countries for even basic health care, no decent chances for promotion and constant attempts to belittle anyone who in any way who tries to make things better for poorer people at the bottom, with words like ‘Communist’ or ‘Socialist’ or ‘not realistic’ or anything else which simply closes the debate and continues to justify greed and injustice in the very economic system that underpins the West and now most of the world. Let’s all stop hiding behind political ideology, let’s stop using religion to justify somehow selfishness or the Prosperity Gospel or anything which is supposed to be about love for other people and twisting it into a false gospel that has no real value when examined and is lacking in any truth.
I know that anyone who reads this who is poor and struggling, or who is finding it hard to get a reasonable paying job or paying their mortgage or just finding that bills and the cost of living seem to keep rising whilst wages and any kind of income seems to get less and less will probably agree with all I’ve said, whereas those who are rich, especially those who make their money not to help other people or even partially for some altruistic reason, but merely to be as rich as can be regardless of how they get it, will probably dismiss all I’ve said. However, if God has a calling on your life, or you have any ounce of conscience, especially the former, injustice has a way of coming back on you one way or the other. And abandoning God for greed may have very serious, if unforeseen, consequences.
What is the answer? For all of us to stop being greedy! To stop buying into the culture that constantly bombards us with the newest phone, or the newest TV, or the newest trainers (sneakers) or the newest home entertainment system and so on. To stop living on credit and beyond our means. To accept that as you and I have a right to be ambitious for better lives, that also everybody else does too and so we should not endeavour to walk over other people or dismiss their rights to a better life while we get ours. For people to pay their taxes like good citizens. For Christians and good people everywhere to learn to be content with what they have and stop worrying about what they haven’t got, if basic needs are met. ‘I do not say this because I have lacked anything; I have learnt to manage with whatever I have. I know how to live modestly, and I know how to live luxuriously too: in every way now I have mastered the secret of all conditions: full stomach and empty stomach, plenty and poverty.’ (Philippians 4:11-12 NJB)