[This article originally appeared on Facebook. The links and references have been modified slightly to suit appearing on this site.]
When I read the comments on my last postings on Facebook, I could see just how angry people are with free markets and capitalism.
I was particularly struck by the question, “Where’s the compassion?”
Compassion is the driving force which makes us want to give to those in need. To have something to give, someone must first produce. A good question for those of us driven by compassion for those in need and a desire to see everyone flourish is “How do we maximise production and prosperity?”
The fundamental choice remains whether to have a planned economy or a free market, that is, either socialism or capitalism.
The historic record is clear: socialism produces poverty and misery. Economic freedom raises the condition of humanity everywhere it is tried.
It is not just history which shows the failures of government control of the economy. The news from Venezuela is appalling, with the country in the grip of a severe national crisis, with food and other essentials scarce and liberty restricted, despite the promise that 21st century socialism would solve the troubles of the poor.
Conservatives understand both that free markets create prosperity and that something has gone wrong with them. But Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed Chancellor is still praising Das Kapital, Karl Marx’s book on which Communism was founded, and once quoted Chinese Communist Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book in the Commons.
I include below a link to an introduction on the economy from the Conservative plan “Forward, Together”. It is followed by a defence of capitalism which I wrote for Mission Catalyst, the magazine of the Baptist World Mission.
On my website, the article is followed by a moving comment from a man who fled the USSR:
Got this through twitter and just wanted to say thank you for making the case. As a libertarian christian, I could not agree more. And as someone that left USSR for the UK in 1994, I am pretty clear on the nature of alternatives in this argument. I appreciate brevity in putting forward these kinds of arguments is an asset in itself, but just wanted to raise a couple of further nuances in highlighting a Christian perspective in a case for capitalism.
Theresa May’s plans for a strong economy may be found here:
A Strong Economy That Works for Everyone
A strong economy is the basis for everything we want to achieve as a nation. If we are to have the prosperity, security and quality of life that Britain desires, we need to have an economy that is vibrant and robust.
But our economy also needs to be equitable. For in Britain today, there is a division between those people and places that have benefited from a changed global market, where opportunity is displayed in affluence and a good quality of life; and those people and places that have experienced a struggling economy, where opportunity has receded and people worry about their children’s futures.
This is not right. So we will forge an economy that works for everyone in every part of this country. We will found our plans on the principles of sound public finances, low taxes, free trade and effective regulation. We will set rules for businesses that inspire the confidence of workers and investors alike. That is only the foundation, however. With our modern industrial strategy, we will build an economy that invests for the long term and supports growth across the whole country – not just in those places that have done well in the past few decades but also where prosperity has waned. Governments cannot use public money to prop up failing businesses, but they also cannot allow people and their communities to be cast aside. It is our duty to bring opportunity to every part of our nation and to ensure that we all prosper together.
I want an end to poverty. I want a social system which operates justly in the general interest without boom and bust. I want to force even the most selfish into the service of others. I want to bring good news to the poor.
We do not live in the Garden of Eden. Scarcity is a fundamental fact. I see a world in which I cannot survive alone. In so far as we enjoy abundance, it is because we share the work of providing for one another.
That sharing of work implies a serious problem: how shall we decide how much of what to produce?
“Forward, Together: Our Plan for a Stronger Britain and a Prosperous Future” may be found in full here: http://conservatives.com/manifesto