Do Markets Promote the Worst Kinds of Behavior?

by Apr 23, 2013

The full article is posted at The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

In the discussion of markets and morality, objections to free markets often center around values and character. Art Lindsley recently wrote about the need for Christians of character to be involved in culture, and that need is just as great within markets. Why?

Critics of free enterprise often argue that it promotes the worst kind of human behavior, and  it must be rejected if moral human action is to prevail. They argue that free enterprise promotes jealousy, envy, and greed.

In their opinion, life on this planet would be better served if we substituted another means of control over the production and distribution of economic goods. The assumption is that the collectivization of economic life would promote the highest level of virtuous living amongst one another.

Is this assumption correct?

First, it must be noted that jealousy, envy, and greed are all evidence of the inherent sinful passions present in every human heart. They are not spawned by economic activity. To assume that these vices are the outgrowth of economic action displays ignorance of what constitutes a free market.

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The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Paul Cleveland

Boundary Stone was started by Dr. Paul Cleveland. Working as a professor for over 35 years has allowed him to study and think deeply about issues of political economy. He has discovered ways to communicate these sometimes illusive concepts to today's students, often through story telling, which makes understanding these principles more accessible to all of us.

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