Does Capitalism Equal Greed?

It is common today to hear critiques of capitalism because it is subject to greed. Indeed there are numerous, significant examples of capitalism being corrupted by greedy individuals in the name of profit. However, what we find is when capitalism has failed it is because of greedy people functioning within this economic system and not because of the economic system itself, which we find to be Biblical in its roots.

Is capitalism the only economic system in which greed is found? No. History shows us that many communist dictators lived in luxury while their people practically starved. Yasser Arafat was a great example of a greedy and selfish dictator. He died with more than 50 million dollars hidden in personal bank accounts, while people in Palestine were living in destitute conditions.

Jim Morrison states, “Socialist governments continually exhibit their greed as they rob more and more from producers to fund bloated government programs that ‘help’ the populace. In Greece, police were killed in the streets in the Spring of 2010 as government workers rioted over the threat of their paycheck/benefits being cut in any way. Greece has a socialist form of government…The International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailed out Greece but did not change the basic socialistic structure of the government so the crisis will resurface again. So now German citizens have to pay an additional tax to help pay for Germany’s contribution to Greece through the IMF.”

Consider Denmark. The Danish politicians believe that capitalists are an unpleasant necessity to generate the revenues to fund the social welfare state.  Denmark has the highest taxes in the world, far above the European average.  It also has the smallest private sector in Europe, one that supports one of the biggest public sectors. A generous entitlement system allows unemployed and unemployable citizens an income well above that achieved by full time employees in the private sector in many European countries, and there is a need for tax revenues nearly unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Half of the adult population in Denmark is either working in the public sector or living on some form of social transfer payment. Out of 5.6 million people, a little more than 2 million are pensioners, unemployed, sick or on social transfer payments for other reasons. Around 800,000 are employed in the public sector. There are only around 1.8 million that are not dependent on state payments in some form and actually get a real paycheck for working. Simply stated there are not enough producers to maintain this socialist system.

Consequently there is not a flood of people pouring in to Denmark because of the economic opportunity there. No… generally speaking those few who want to get in to Denmark are those who want to take advantage of their public welfare system.

My point here is that any economic system can be hijacked by greed because greed is found in the heart of unredeemed man. Although some people routinely associate greed with capitalism, the truth is that greed is found just as much, or more in Socialism and Marxism.

Coming up…a closer look at Karl Marx.

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