Apple or Samsung?

Doctors speak about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Some people say there’s a good kind of socialism, democratic socialism that is different from the bad kind, the Marxist-Leninist variety. Let’s take a look at that claim.

Socialists are hazy on the details of a socialist economy. The first step is “state ownership of certain industries.”  Democratically elected workers supposedly would decide what to make and what prices to charge. Would you prefer to buy goods at state-owned stores and eat at state-owned restaurants? Something inside of us knows that we would not be happy with this.

The more the government interferes in the market, the less competitive an economy will be. Let me give and example. Let’s say there was one phone company making phones instead of the two major companies we have now…Apple and Samsung. One state owned company would not be pushed by a competitor to make better phones or at a cheaper price. I think intuitively we know this is true. If the state owns corporations, there is no competition, only rivalries among people with political power.

Contemporary democratic socialists have a concrete agenda: They want to eliminate capitalism. The Democratic Socialists of America say: “In the short term we can’t eliminate private corporations, but we can bring them under greater democratic control. In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism.”

What democratic socialists don’t realize is that a strong market economy is a necessary condition for freedom. Democratic socialism is a contradiction in terms. In relations to oft mentioned Sweden as example, “Sweden allows property and profits,” notes economic historian Deirdre McCloskey. “It allocates most goods by unregulated prices.” The U.S. bailed out General Motors, butSweden didn’t rescue Volvo or Saab.

Don’t get me wrong…capitalism as we see it in the Bible must have a soft, social side to it. Capitalism needs to be applied with compassion. Some social responsibilities can be delegated to the government, but history tells us the family, church and individuals who are successful at applying the principles of capitalism will always carry on the most effective social programs.

We should cultivate a Biblical society that values free individuals impacting society for the benefit of all.

Source:

The Fantasy of ‘Democratic Socialism’ If the state controls the economy, competition is replaced by rivalries among politicians.Miller. S. Wall Street Journal Oct. 26, 2018

 

 

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“Socialism Just Didn’t Work Out Around Here”

Nearly half of millennials say they prefer socialism to capitalism, but what do they mean? Generally is stated as what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland and in Sweden.

To take a look at Sweden we find they are moving away from the socialism once championed. Sweden’s experiment with socialist policies was disastrous, and its economic success in recent decades is a result of free market-based reforms.

Bear with me as we look as some shocking numbers…until the mid-20th century, Sweden pursued highly competitive market-based policies. By 1970 Sweden achieved the world’s fourth-highest per capita income. Then increasingly radical Social Democratic governments raised taxes, spending and regulation much more than any other Western European country. Economic performance sputtered. By the early 1990s, Sweden’s per capita income ranking had dropped to 14th. Economic growth from 1970 to the early 1990s was roughly 1 percentage point lower than in Europe and 2 points lower than in the U.S. In actuality these socialist, command-and-control economic policies undermined Sweden’s prosperity.

In 1991 a market-oriented government came to power and undertook far-reaching reforms. Policy makers privatized parts of the health-care system, introduced for-profit schools along with school vouchers, and reduced welfare benefits. To increase incentives to work, Sweden reduced unemployment benefits and introduced an earned-income tax credit in 2007. The electricity and transportation industries were deregulated in the 1990s, and even the Swedish postal system was opened up to competition in 1993. The corporate tax rate was cut from its 2009 level of 28% to 22% today, and is scheduled to decline to 20.4% in 2021.

The result? Since 1995, Swedish economic growth has exceeded that of its European Union peers by about 1 point a year. Sweden is now richer than all of the major EU countries and is within 15% of U.S. per capita GDP.

What is happening in Brazil?

A few weeks ago Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s 36th president. The new president made promises to shrink a monster, centrally governing state that devours the dreams of people. Mr. Bolsonaro won because he promised to abandon socialism. It goes to the heart of what Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises called “human action.” Brazilians are demanding their basic rights to property and life. The new president pledged reforms to open the economy, privatize and deregulate, and rein in government spending.

Brazil has let go a primal scream for freedom. One person said, ‘Socialism just didn’t work out around here.’ A nation wants to try something new and to enjoy freedom for economic opportunity.

Sweden and Brazil are moving away from socialism to a more Biblical approach to their economic development.

Sources:

How Sweden Overcame Socialism. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde and Lee E. Ohanian. Wall Street Journal. Jan. 9, 2019 7:06 p.m. ET. Mr. Fernández-Villaverde is a professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ohanian is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of economics at UCLA.

Brazil’s Primal Scream…‘Socialism just didn’t work out around here.’ A nation wants to try something new.Mary Anastasia O’Grady. Wall Street Journal. Jan. 6, 2019.

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Joseph from Arimathea Was Ready

Permit me to introduce a term that many Christians consider to be a selfish, secular term—financial independence. Let’s define “financial independence” as having the resources on hand that will be needed to obey God’s voice. Too many times we have dismissed or not taken seriously the visions and ideas God has given to us because we do not see a way for them to be financed. Our excuse for not obeying God is a helpless, “That would be great, but we can’t afford it.” It is essential that we permanently delete the words “we can’t afford it” from our vocabulary. These words should be replaced with a positive petition, expecting God’s provision, by asking instead, “How is God going to provide?”

Let’s look at Noah, when God asked Noah to build the ark, He was at a place in his life of sufficient resources to obey. He was financially independent. There are no scriptures indicating Noah awakened one day and the ark was miraculously finished. There is no record of ravens flying in with pre-cut gopher logs to be fitted into place. The ark was built with manual labor over a period of years. Actually, it seems like Noah did not work on the ark much himself because he was busy preaching. So either his family or hired laborers constructed the ark.

It took significant financial resources for Noah to obey God. Could it be that God wants to provide for us in a similar way? I believe He desires that we have the resources on hand to accomplish His purposes as He reveals them to us.

A similar example from the New Testament is that of Joseph from Arimathea. He was a rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin, who was a disciple of Jesus. Joseph was ready and available when called upon to take Jesus’ body and give it an appropriate burial in a rich man’s tomb that had never been used before. This was significant because in Bible times, tombs were used multiple times. His availability and his financial resources played an important role in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the unfolding of the kingdom of God.

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A Wealthy Woman

C. Thomas Anderson is the founder and senior pastor of The Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona. He tells the story of a young man from his church who chose not to attend a wealth seminar they were putting on at the church.

“With a tone of superiority in his voice, he explained that he had not been to any of the sessions, because he was not interested in money. That wasn’t where God was leading him. Exactly twenty-four hours later he was back at the church with tears in his eyes, asking if the church could help with some money for his neighbor. A fire had destroyed everything she had owned and she was left destitute with several children to care for. Suddenly money mattered. If this young man had seen the importance of money in ministry somewhat earlier in his life, he might have been in a better position to minister to his neighbor without having to ask others who did care about money.”1

In 2 Kings we find Elisha had a wealthy woman who took care of him so he could be effective in his prophetic ministry.

One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us” (2 Kings 4:8-11).

How could this woman and her husband add a room on to their house for the prophet? Simply stated, they had the financial means to do so. This arrangement was a blessing to Elisha and also to the well-to-do woman as she later had a son that was raised from the dead by the prophet. A proper perspective on finances will help us to have the resources needed to obey God when opportunities come our way.

 

1 Dr. C. Thomas Anderson, Becoming a Millionaire God’s Way, (New York: New York, Faith Words, Hachette Book Group USA, 2006), p. 19

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William Booth’s Match-girls

History offers us lessons about how we should handle wealth. The Biblical principles of capitalism led to the economic system which allowed a middle class to rise and society as a whole to advance and prosper. It was the gradual triumph of the Judeo-Christian principles that allowed Europe to rise out of the cruel and oppressive economic systems of the Greek and Roman empires.

Capitalism without restriction led to abuses, especially evident during the period of Western colonization and industrialization. Through out these periods it was Christian leaders who lead to the establishment of civil rights, including the protection of children, limitations on labor, and care for the elderly and infirm. We should be grateful for many of those steps that tempered capitalism. William Booth helping the match-girls was one of those Christian leaders. Here is his story:

The plight of Britain’s match-girls was first brought to the public’s attention in 1888. Following a widely publicized strike, General William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, decided to carry out his own investigations into the British match industry. It was soon discovered that many match-girls suffering from the effects of severe pain in the jaw, which was a direct result of the use of yellow phosphorus in the manufacture of the match heads. So toxic were the fumes from this chemical that, unknown to the match-girls, the phosphorus was attacking their jaws. Soon the whole side of the face turned green, then black, discharging a foul pus. This painful disease – necrosis of the bone – became known as ‘phossy jaw’. Its only outcome was death.

The factory owners were fully aware of the dangers of using yellow phosphorus but most manufacturers took very little action to remedy complaints. This was due to a fear of a cut in profits and foreign competition. Match-girls were subjected to
very long hours of labor with little or no breaks. Not only did this cause the girls to be exhausted but also meant that they frequently ate while they were working and so the phosphorus spread from their hands to their teeth. As matchbox making required no previous training it figured at the bottom of the pay scale of the industry.

Booth decided to challenge the whole industry. In 1891, The Salvation Army opened a clean, airy, well-lit factory where harmless red phosphorus was used in the match-making process. Booth called the matches ‘Lights in Darkest England’. Tea making facilities were made available and the 100 workers received decent wages – more than one third above the rate in other factories. 
Ten years after the opening of his match factory, Booth closed it, having achieved his original purpose ‘to raise the wages of the matchbox makers, to fight against sweating, and to help the poor to help themselves by labor’.

 

Source

Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing. Pg. 131

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A Billion People Lifted Out of Poverty

The New Testament affirms the fundamental principles of capitalism found in the Old Testament, but it also offers cautions concerning the zealous pursuit of wealth. Matt. 25:34-36 describes a coming judgment day when every person will give an account for what they have done; a central basis for that judgment will be how we cared for the poor, the stranger, the sick and the imprisoned. We should also note that Jesus warned of the deceitfulness of riches and the futility of hoarding great wealth.

Some have asked me if there is a balance between financial prosperity and poverty. This is an issue I have thought about at length, as the principle of divine balance is found through out the Bible. As I meditated on this question, the Lord showed me the balance to financial prosperity is giving…not poverty. Meaning as long as we give generously it will balance out the prosperity we see Biblically as the Lord’s will. To be specific…balance is not a little bit of prosperity and a little bit of poverty. No poverty is part of the curse and undesirable for all. That stated, capitalism is still God’s first plan to bring people out of poverty.

Consider the other option. Karl Marx regarded socialism as an economic necessity that would emerge out of the ashes of capitalism precisely because capitalism would fail to sustain wealth creation. Marx did not consider permanent economic growth in a capitalist system to be possible. He was wrong. He claimed the rich and powerful would never share power voluntarily with others, or create social safety nets. In fact the opposite has happened.

Not only has socialist theory been wrong about the economic and political fruits of capitalism, it failed to see the problems that arise in socialist governments. Socialism’s record has been pain, not gain, especially for the poor. Socialism produced mass starvation in eastern Europe and China, as it undermined the ability of farmers to grow and market their crops.

In most cases, socialism’s monopoly on economic control also let to corruption by government officials, as was especially apparent in Latin American and African socialist regimes. The adverse economic consequences of socialism led the Scandinavian countries to dial back their versions of socialism in the past decades.

Socialism has been abandoned in virtually the entire developing world. Countries today do not seek to emulate the disasters of North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela. Now developing countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, India, China, South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia are known as “emerging economies,” a description that recognizes their need to emerge from state control of their economies through privatization, free trade, and the creation of accessible private financial resources to promote growth and poverty alleviation. All around the developing world, socialism is understood as a false promise, a convenient theory that controlling elites use to retain and expand power.

Capitalism, in contrast, is seen as the force that has lifted over a billion people out of poverty worldwide since 1990.

 

Source

Compassionate Capitalism – A Judeo-Christian Valueby Harold Eberle, 2010, Worldcast Publishing. Pg. 131

Capitalism: Still Working – Karl Marx’s economic forecasts were even worse than Paul Krugman’s. By James Freeman. Nov. 15, 2018. Wall Street Journal

 

 

 

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The Shoe that Grows

A self professed, longhaired pastor from Idaho, Kenton Lee recently launched a groundbreaking, for-profit company to support his life changing non-profit ministry. Ten years ago while serving at an orphanage in Kenya, he had the idea for an adjustable shoe after seeing kids that were outgrowing their shoes and had no access to more. Some kids actually had to cut open the front of their shoes so that their toes could stick out.

Lee’s heart broke when he saw so many orphans struggling to cram their feet in to shoes that didn’t fit. So after returning to the US, he enlisted the help of a friend and after six long years they eventually created The Shoe That Grows.These special sandals grow three sizes and can be worn for years. A non-profit called Because International was created to distribute this revolutionary footwear to needy children around the world.  Many thousands of people began to donate to Because International. To date 175,000 pairs of The Shoe That Grows have been distributed to children in more than 100 countries.

Then something big happened. People supporting the ministry began to ask if they could buy The Shoe That Grows for their children. Lee explains, “Though it was never our intention…we started to see the value of our shoes for every family and how a commercial version could actually help us achieve our mission even more. They launched GrowFive, a for-profit business to finance their ongoing ministry efforts.

The company has gotten off to an amazing start with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign for Expandels,the commercial version of The Shoe That Grows. “Shoes that can grow and last are better for families. It does more with less, lasts longer and is better for our planet. Each purchase gets more shoes to kids in poverty,”  says Lee who is a graduate of Regent University with a Masters in Organizational Leaderships.

Once again the entrepreneurial principles of Biblical capitalism build sustainable models to change the world.

Source: IMPACT…a publication of Regent University Fall 2018.

 

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