As a child of the 1980s, I grew up in the shadow of the Cold War. The free world (led by America) were the good guys while the communistic world (led by Russia) were the bad guys. The battle between these two powers were in the realms of religion, politics, social values, and economics. While I am pleased that the Iron Curtain fell—particularly for the spread of the gospel—I do wonder if we have subtly assumed that capitalism is an intrinsically God-endorsed economic and social system?

While I don’t approve of all of the actions of the Occupy movements, I believe the 99% are protesting something that is really rotten in our mature capitalistic society. Let me explain.


Capital can be defined as money, equipment, and other resources which are privately owned. Private ownership affords the owner the opportunity to grow, develop, and reap the benefits of using those resources for productive endeavours. In its elementary stages, capitalism fosters free enterprise and innovation. God certainly endorses hard work and reward for the labourer.

However, capitalism incentivises resource owners to pursue greater happiness and ever increasing returns to the point where the character trait of contentment is replaced by greed. Let me lay out twelve ways that capitalism quickly degenerates within a few generations.

1) Capital stacks the deck in favour of those who start the game with a good hand (I think this is one reason for the year of Jubilee).

2) Those who inherit capital rarely appreciate what is was like to start out with nothing and then make decisions without a framework for the poor.

3) Incumbent resource owners put up barriers to entry to other upstarts and so the gap between rich and poor widens.

4) As capitalistic leaders gain strength, they lobby government for regulation which suits them and hinders competitors (e.g. the modified mining tax).

5) Over time capitalistic empires are built and small businesses are bought out our put out of business.

6) Adding further pressures, these empires raise funds by selling ownership of their enterprises to shareholders.

7) Shareholders demand maximum profit returns every quarter often at the expense of customer service and quality.

8) The unquenched desire for greater profit results in reduced rights at work and a globalisation of jobs to countries that have poor social values.

9) Prices of daily necessities rise, forcing individuals to assume excessive levels of debt for necessities such as housing.

10) The end results are self-serving oligopolies which lacks social conscience (e.g. Coles and Woolies, the big banks, etc.).

11) In practice oligopolies are effective monopolies using subtle collusion.

12) Ironically, monopolies are in effect economic dictatorships which create a controlled form of communism or slavery of the masses.

So where does this leave us?

At the end of the day, there is no perfect economic or social system. The problem with all systems is that our hearts are evil. We will corrupt and manipulate systems for our own greed and benefit. God foresaw this when he warned Israel about seeking an earthly king. While I certainly would prefer to live under a limited free-market society where citizens adhere to a common moral code, I believe we would be wise to see the limits of all earthly systems—be they democracies or dictatorships, Austrian or Keynesian, diverse or homogeneous.

There is one economic and social system that I do believe God endorses. It is the eternal system and the returns are out of this world. This system promotes storing up treasure in heaven, where moths don’t corrupt and thieves can’t steal. The eternal social system promotes giving a cup of water to another in the name of Christ. In other words, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In this system, it does not matter if you are part of the 99% or the 1%, because it is 100% about Jesus. As we live in view of heaven, I believe we will feel richer and be more generous.

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About Jeremy Crooks

Jeremy grew up in Sydney Australia. He has tertiary qualifications in business, training, and Bible. With experience in both church ministry and corporate human resources, Jeremy has a strong interest in how faith is demonstrated in our homes and workplaces. You can contact Jeremy at


  1. PJ 13 February, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    “I do wonder if we have subtly assumed that Capitalism is an intrinsically God endorsed economic and social system?” Yes! – especially in the commentary that comes out of the US.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the analysis in this post. Capitalism naturally tends towards monopoly and monopolies are in many ways worse than systems where the means of production are owned or heavily regulated by the state. At least the state is supposed to act in the common interest whereas the owners of capital have none but their own interests at heart. (That was no more evident that in the disgusting behaviour of mining companies in the debate over putting a tax on their ‘super’ profits…oh how by heart bleeds for the Gina Rineharts and Andrew Forrests of this world!)

    We are extremely blessed in Australia to have had both right and left leaning governments that have at least tried to reign in the worst aspects of capitalism without resorting to the failed policies of socialism. Because of this we’ve avoided the follies of laissez-faire capitalism, as seen in the mortgage/banking crisis in the US, and we’ve avoided the debt problems faced by European countries that embraced socialist ideals a little to closely.

    In all the day-to-day noise over economic policy the truth remains that we live in a fantastic country we’re generally speaking the poor are looked after and not exploited by the robber barons and where hard work and ingenuity are rewarded by financial success. Praise God!

    • Jeremy Crooks 13 February, 2012 at 8:57 pm


      You raise some good insights about how thankful we should be for our country.

      My concern is that globalization has put capitalism on steroids. I believe the best social program our government can implement is to protect and reward small Australian businesses.

  2. Jeremy Crooks 19 April, 2012 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Some interesting observations in this piece. I would not go so far as the author in his conclusion, but he is onto something.

  3. guest 17 July, 2016 at 3:12 am - Reply

    The solution to all the world’s problems is to abolish or eradicate money. I don’t agree with the evil hearts thing. That is something that is learned, not ingrained in you from birth onward..

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