In Defense of Capitalism: Church Leaders on Property, Wealth, and the Economic Order

In Defense of Capitalism: Church Leaders on Property, Wealth, and the Economic Order
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In Defense of Capitalism: Church Leaders on Property, Wealth, and the Economic Order

Author Phillip J. Bryson

Capitalism, a system of free markets, free enterprise, and private control of property, is sometimes given credit only for being open to abuse. As it allows freedom of choice and action, it admits greed and oppression as well. Many people, including members of the Church, have mixed feelings about capitalism, their perception of abuses of the system coloring their view of the system itself.

Some conclude, for example, that careers in business necessarily imply materialistic values and a propensity for unethical decisions and immoral actions. An antimarket viewpoint is expressed by a number of LDS scholars who find in the capitalist system too little of the integrity and virtue that ideally should characterize the actions of those engaged in commercial pursuits. Moreover, while suggesting that we strive to implement the United Order, which founds economic activity on higher, divinely revealed principles, they compare that conceptually perfect system with the capitalist system actually experienced today. Not surprisingly, in a comparison of the ideal with the real, capitalism is found wanting. Of course, there are problems with the market system. But in trying to teach the Saints that greed is evil, some teach that capitalism is evil as well. When scholars find fault with capitalism, their readers may be led to believe that the market system itself is fundamentally flawed.