Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christian Economics

Economics as a science began with the publishing of "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith in 1776. For the first time, someone had systematically deduced the cause and effect principles that operate in an economy. He did this not by conducting or observing an  experiment of trial and error, but by beginning with a set of truths that he attained by looking outside of himself and his limited reasoning capabilities. He saw political economy(as he called it) as sub-section of study under the broad subject of moral philosophy. Using this framework, he logically showed why free markets are more productive than any other alternative. But more than that, he showed that they were part of a system of laws that God ordained, which he called "natural law." His attempt to personify these laws was evident when he called the force that fueled market, not a "wind" or "force", but an invisible hand.
As time went on, scientists in other fields, also starting with the same premise, began proving some of these laws through observation of empirical evidence. A great example of these scientists is Newton. Economists began to adopt this approach of "trial and error" to help make their science more exact like the natural sciences. They began to attempt to keep economics value-free. Economics began to move from normative to positive economics.
Obviously, no one should put their biases and prejudices into their studies. To do so would violate the what it even means to be a scientist. But it is universally recognized that all science is based on a paradigm that shapes thinking and reasoning. To ignore special revelations revealed by God as a starting point in an effort to be completely unbiased would be to limit oneself to the reasoning of one person's brain as the sole source of  knowledge, never being able to search outside of one's own reasoning power for fear of becoming biased.
The Bible does not directly address all the problems that exist. There are not chapter-and-verse answers for many problems, but it would not take very much studying to realize that even God has an opinion on many economic policy issues, from tariffs to the system of socialism itself. Economics and morality are completely intertwined and inseparable. Economic principles show us the cause and effect relationship the tell us what works best, while at the same time showing us what we ought to do. Dr. Sennholz said it best in his book Three Economic Commandments: “In God’s world, causes and consequences are connected logically. To offend against an economic principle, or to disobey an ethical commandment is to suffer the inexorable consequences of our action… His eternal laws and principles invariably exact a price for all offenses."

No comments:

Post a Comment