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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Needed: Fundamental Honesty Regarding Capitalism

What fear keeps you from “climbing mountains”? Do you find the small group a safe place to express your fears? Do the members: Listen and accept? Try to fix it? Analyze you? Approve or disapprove? What do you need when you’re being vulnerable? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1202).


It seems to me that America is faced with a mountain that virtually all fear to climb regarding the ill distribution of wealth. It is my belief that this is not only a problem in the United States but elsewhere as well. I am very encouraged by the pervasiveness of love in the American culture. Often I think the depth of this force is given too little recognition or credit. We have only to look at the advances we have made in race relations to realize that America is a very special place destined to be the one to lead us out of this dilemma we and other nations find ourselves in. It will be possible here because people will address the issue with hearts of love and empathy – thus with humility and honesty. This is after all one of the greatest benefits that love provides – people can be honest with one another without destroying each other.

Essentially what we must do is understand the limitations of capitalism to distribute wealth fairly and equitably. Clearly it does not do so as the video above demonstrates. But where are we to begin this discussion to eventually realize a course correction? I would like to begin by questioning basic assumptions often made. It is often assumed that it is the promise of unlimited riches that stimulates entrepreneurial endeavor. I think this is baloney. Entrepreneurship is a character trait that would find expression whether or not being a billionaire was possible or not. In my view it is a trait that is fully recognizable by the time one is age 9 or 10. It is simply a trait that deserves recognition, encouragement, and expression like any other socially indispensable trait.

Why, we may ask, does the cat have our tongue when it comes to frank evaluation of this subject? I think it is because we fear that to discuss it would make us look like we are eating sour grapes. The other reason is that key institutions which should be objective and vocal—like universities and the church—look to deep pocket donors to make a go of it. I can just image the pressures that my father as a minister would have felt to address this issue if the church budget required deep pocket donors who might bolt with any hint of social criticism regarding the distribution of wealth.

The discussion of the failures of capitalism to distribute wealth in a healthy way so that all can thrive will surely come sooner or later. The hope of mankind will depend upon responsible acceptance of the task by societies in which goodwill, love, and mutual respect prevail.

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