Greed Is Not Good for Capitalism

Last week John Starke wrote for TGC about “The Myth of the Protestant Work Ethic.” I’m grateful to Starke for exposing the egregious theological errors in Max Weber’s theory of capitalism’s origins. But Weber’s theory of what happened next, the “cultural contradictions of capitalism” thesis, has done just as much damage. Christians ought to understand how Weber’s view of capitalism undermines the moral foundations of a humane and genuinely productive economy, promoting materialism, greed, faith/work dualism, debt, and crony capitalism.

Weber’s argument goes something like this: Teaching people to view productive work as a calling from God somehow (Weber is ambiguous about how) caused people to think their calling from God was to accumulate wealth for its own sake. Quickly, capitalism abandoned its Protestant foundations and became simply about the profit motive. This turned out to be an even more successful basis for the economic system, because it drove businesses to ruthlessly rationalize their operations to maximize profit. Thus we now live in a dehumanizing “iron cage” where every aspect of our daily work, down to the tiniest details, is controlled by the profit imperative.

I understand why many people find this account plausible. Recent events have made it clear that the spirit of greed predominates in some of our most prominent companies. In one part of the economy, the financial sector, greed seems to have spread beyond individual companies to become a systemic problem. And the iron cage resonates with many people unable to see how jobs on factory lines could be humanizing.

But does our greed problem really come from where Weber says it does? And is there really an iron cage?

Why Accumulate Wealth?

Weber’s reading of economic history is as selective, tone-deaf and sometimes outright fabricated as his reading of theological history. Weber scholars Peter Baehr and Gordon Wells note that from its first publication to the present day, historians and economists have almost unanimously rejected Weber’s Protestant Ethic. When I first picked it up, I was shocked at its cavalier treatment of the historical evidence.

Capitalism has not flourished most where there was a spirit of greed. It has flourished most where there was a spirit of stewardship—a sense that we are responsible to make the world a better place. That—not greed—is what produces a capitalism that thrives.

The problem with Weber’s history begins at the beginning. He sees capitalism exploding into existence after the Reformation. In fact, the real historical scholarship shows it developed much earlier, and gradually.

As early capitalism grew, great theologians like Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas wrestled with its implications. The theology they had inherited, influenced by Greco-Roman philosophies that looked down on work and wealth, said these practices should be morally corrupting and economically counterproductive. Yet the reverse was happening! People were serving each other, and the community was better off. Albertus and Thomas expressed reservations on some points, but on the whole they ended up embracing early capitalism. It facilitated good stewardship and human flourishing.

The Reformation did dramatically accelerate capitalism, in three ways. It permanently established fruitful human work and stewardship of creation at the forefront of Christian social teaching, thanks to the recovery of vocation. It demolished barriers to individual enterprise, empowering entrepreneurs. And it spread the spirit of stewardship beyond a few isolated cultural pockets, carrying it to all of Europe.

Yet even during the period Weber examines, he distorts the record. Weber makes a great deal out of one passage from Benjamin Franklin on the duty to accumulate wealth. Franklin wasn’t the only person talking about economics in early America; against that I would set this, from John Adams: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” Does that sound like the accumulation of wealth for its own sake?

Killing Business

Real-world familiarity with the way business and economics work will quickly demolish any idea that they thrive on greed. Nothing kills a business more reliably than a myopic focus on maximizing the quarterly earnings report. In the business world, this is old news.

True, in the short term you can get ahead by exploiting people and extracting their wealth. But in the long run, businesses only succeed in the market by maintaining a strong moral culture that humanizes work, builds trust with customers, and orients workers toward creating value and serving the customer with excellence. Large corporations can use crony capitalism and collude with politicians to stave off these market forces for a while, but not forever (as Wall Street, General Motors, and others are now learning). Likewise, a society can borrow trillions from its grandchildren to stave off the economic consequences of a materialistic economy, but not forever (as America is now learning).

This observation also refutes the iron cage. Weber wrote at a time when the latest fad among American businesses was the cockamamie idea that “scientific management” could identify the “one best way” to do every job, down to the tiniest details. But that whole movement collapsed. In the long run, the universe punishes hubristic rationalism and rewards humane social cooperation.

Talk to line workers in companies that are prospering long-term. They typically don’t think their work is dehumanizing. They’re right.

Christians know why humane approaches to work are more economically productive. God’s work creates things from nothing, and human work cretates value (though not from nothing) because we’re made in his image. People were made to do fruitful work, cultivating more and more blessings for one another out of the creation order.

Vice and Virtue

At bottom, Weber’s core idea is that vice creates wealth more effectively than virtue. That’s not only false to history and contemporary experience; it’s also theologically unstainable. Weber could believe this view because it aligned with his Gnostic fact/value dualism. In that framework, it made sense that workers doing the same jobs would be identical and interchangeable for economic purposes (facts) regardless of their morals and motivations (values). Christ smashes this dualism. Economic growth is a moral and spiritual enterprise.

Why, then, do we see all this moral decay in our economy? Capitalism creates wealth, and there’s no denying wealth creates special temptations. You don’t have to accept Weber’s economic charlatanry to see that!

There are other factors. In a society with religious freedom, it is especially challenging to maintain a robust public moral culture. The academic discipline of economics has adopted a materialistic anthropology and utilitarian ethical assumptions. Our political system has adopted many policies and practices that incentivize materialism, exploitation, and crony capitalism.

But Weber’s influence itself is one of the most important causes. For a century, America’s cultural leaders have promoted the Weberian narrative that capitalism thrives on the profit motive. And as economist Arthur Brooks has recently written, societies tend to become what they describe themselves as being. If a society’s cultural leaders say the economy thrives on greed, people will internalize that expectation and act accordingly. Over time you will actually get an economy that runs (but not “thrives”) on greed.

Even some well-meaning people who promote the cultural contradictions narrative in order to warn us against greed are, I regret to say, part of the problem. Typically, they say something like: “Businesses thrive on the profit motive, so we need to do everything we can in cultural institutions outside the economy to counteract greed.” This signals to business leaders that they can go on ruthlessly maximizing profit with a clear conscience; they’re just doing their job.

The struggle to humanize capitalism is self-defeating if it assumes capitalism thrives on the profit motive. It can only succeed if it’s grounded in a moral affirmation of capitalism’s historic foundations in stewardship and value-creating work.

  • j. grant

    Dr. F-

    …”Does that sound like the accumulation of wealth for its own sake?”

    It’s possible that my ignorance regarding both history and economic theory will produce an irrelevant comment, but it seems to me the real issue still isn’t explicitly addressed. Operating on assumptions, Adams simply commented (as I understand it) that he should have to do things now so that later, his lineage would be able to find satisfaction in activities afforded by his efforts, things in which he believes would be enjoyable.

    His comment initially comes across as making your point, but in reality, is not the principle the same? Is he not suggesting that the sooner he deals with politics and war that others will be able to enjoy the arts? Should he neglect these tasks, they simply will have to be accomplished in another generation, thus pushing back the sooner anyone can enjoy the “finer” things in life. That being said, it seems that the modern era profit motive isn’t the battle; it’s simply the illusion of satisfaction that manifests unethical practice from a depraved people who have tainted the profit motive.

    Possibly, I am taking Adams comment to literally when I suggest he is speaking most directly about his own family and not ‘sons’ in a societal fashion, but ultimately, those who utilize the “profit motive” or efficient methods, are simply hoping to accomplish in one life what Adams suggested take place over three generations.

    I don’t think anyone accumulates wealth for the sake of more ink on a bank statement, but because of the illusion that it will provide a satisfaction that can only come from peace with God. Adams sought what the average business man seeks today; they are no different. Yet possibly Adams didn’t falter ethically or in principle.

    I couldn’t agree more on the whole; the quote used simply seemed (as I could have misinterpreted your intentions) not to make the case from a place of personal motivation regarding Adams.

    Thanks for your analysis and efforts.


    • Greg Forster

      Certainly the building up of human civilization, human flourishing, etc. can themselves become idols. That’s a much larger conversation! The relevant point for my critique of Weber is that the distinction between making the world a better place and simply making a lot of money was not completely lost in the way he thinks it was.

  • David Zook

    Many public companies find themselves in a catch 22. They are trying to achieve two goals at the same time and those goals often conflict with one another. One goal is to satisfy investors hunger for strong financials – including profits because if they don’t the investor’s dollars will go to a company with stronger financials. The other goal is to create greater value for their customers than their competitors through their products and services.

    If one is trying to maximizing profits now, it begins the slow process of gutting their business because they slowly begin pulling back on investing dollars for innovation and creating greater value for the customers.

    If one is trying to create greater value for their customers, they often leave money on the table due to the financial inefficiencies of innovation.

  • David Zook

    Many public companies find themselves in a catch 22. They are trying to achieve two goals at the same time and those goals often conflict with one another. One goal is to satisfy investors hunger for strong financials – including profits because if they don’t the investor’s dollars will go to another company with stronger financials. The other goal is to create greater value for their customers than their competitors through their products and services.

    If one is trying to maximizing profits now, it begins the slow process of gutting their business because they slowly begin pulling back on investing dollars for innovation and creating greater value for the customers.

    If one is trying to create greater value for their customers, they often leave money on the table due to the financial inefficiencies of innovation.

    It’s a tough spot for executives to be in because their jobs are on the line if they don’t produce for the investor and for their customers.

    • Greg Forster

      Certainly in the short term this tension exists. The danger is absolutizing it to the point where we’re sending the message that customers and shareholders are diametrically opposed and there’s a zero sum trade off between them. That sends morally dangerous messages to businesses and investors about their responsibilities.

    • Roger McKinney

      As Greg says, the issue is about time preferences. Those who are short term oriented, and therefore impatient, will cut corners and do all kinds of evil in order to satisfy their lusts.

      But long term thinkers will realize that they can maximize profits only by satisfying customer better than the competition.

  • Brian

    Neither is greed good for Socialism, Marxism, Communism, Individualism, Collectivism, Antinominanism, Calvinism, Arminianism, etc. Get the point? Let’s face it, greed is bad for every human institution. The only solution is the gospel, which I thought was the core mission of . . you know . . The GOSPEL Coalition.

    However, the author never even uses the term “gospel,” and only makes one direct reference to Christ. Admittedly, one might possibly, however unlikely, infer an undefined gospel from the article’s reference to the Reformation. Even though the article is intended to challenge Weber’s conclusions, this article promotes capitalism under a framework of moralism. The train of inferential thought arising from this article could go along these lines: Capitalism + Greed = Bad; therefore, Capitalism + Good morals = Pretty Good.

    Not convinced? Consider this assertion in the last paragraph:
    “[Capitalism] can only succeed if it’s grounded in a moral affirmation of capitalism’s historic foundations in stewardship and value-creating work.” This is decidedly false. Capitalism–and any other human institution–can only succeed if it’s grounded in a gospel-centered view of humanity’s sinfulness and Christ’s work of redemption. The gospel inevitably leads people to a sanctified return to God’s original purpose for mankind–stewardship of His creation for His glory.

    Am I making too much of this? The author, devoid of a Biblical basis or reference, defines stewardship as “a sense that we are responsible to make the world a better place.” Where does this “sense” come from? Does it arise out of the inherent goodness of humanity? Absolutely not! True Biblical stewardship can only arise from a heart transformed from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anything else is moralism. Any human institution that is built upon moralism–or, to quote the author, a “moral affirmation”–is doomed to crumble when a people, unchanged by the gospel, set aside or change their moral standard.

    TGC should stick to publishing articles that illustrate how the gospel intersects with all aspects of life instead of giving us a moralistic lesson on economics couched in a book review.

    • Greg Forster

      You’re reading a lot into this that just isn’t there. Case in point: my final paragraph does not talk about what will make capitalism successful, but what will make “the struggle to humanize capitalism” successful. If anyone walked away from this article thinking it’s just an apology for the status quo, that’s not my fault. Now, if you think the struggle to humanize capitalism has nothing to do with the gospel, well, there’s a lot that could be said against that and I doubt I can really do it justice in a blog comment. On the other hand, if you agree with me that the struggle to humanize capitalism has something to do with the gospel, I would argue that in order for that struggle to be effective you’re going to need to study history, economics, sociology and moral philosophy in addition to theology. If theologians were the only people allowed to speak into the discussion, well . . . no offense, but we’d be doomed.

      • Roger McKinney

        Defending capitalism doesn’t mean defending the status quo. We are about as far from capitalism in the US as we can get. I would call us fascist, a flavor of socialism.

    • Stephen DeKuyper

      In partial response to your comment about the quotation, I think that we can look back at creation to see how and why God created us. We see in Genesis 1:1 that God is a creator; we see in Genesis 1:27-28 that we are made in his image as creators, and that we are tasked with stewardship (vice-regents); in Genesis 2:15, Adam is put to work. The comment may not have been written that way, but I definitely see how our economic system (whatever it may be) must be grounded in creation, stewardship, and work and that it must be done in God’s glory.

      Of course Genesis 3:17-19 does much to explain why it isn’t that way now. We read that “…cursed is the ground because of you.” We can’t see the full potential of capitalism or any other economic system because our fallenness. The system only works if we have the right heart.

      So you are absolutely right that it is about the Gospel, but the Gospel is about what Jesus did for us in response to what we have done in the context of who we are and what we are created to be.

    • Roger McKinney

      So how does the gospel tie into capitalism? Greed causes the powerful to set up exclusive, extractive governments that bleed the common person for the benefit of the elite. True Christianity instilled in people a respect for reason, work, private property and fought the natural instinct toward covetousness and envy.

      Christianity outlawed the criminal practices of the elite, starting in the Dutch Republic, where capitalism really began. The rule of law, equality before the law, relatively honest judges, respect for private property, all came out of the desire of Godly men to implement Biblical principles.

      Socialism elevated covetousness and envy to virtues. As the West has abandoned Christianity, people have naturally gravitated to socialism and respect for property, the rule of law and equal treatment under the law had disappeared. Corruption has become rampant.

      Real capitalism can exist only in a nation of real Christians.

  • Adam

    There is as much historical questioning of Stark’s Victory of Reason as there is of Weber’s Protestant Ethic. Though I think capitalism was developing earlier as you say, Stark’s scholarship in this book, though otherwise stellar, isn’t the greatest either.

    • Greg Forster

      That’s why I also linked Charles Taylor; I wanted to make clear that what I’m saying here isn’t dependent on anything that’s idiosyncratic to one scholar. What’s fascinating to me is how much is similar across Stark and Taylors’ narratives even though their sympathies seem to be opposed. Stark is celebrating the rise of capitalism and Taylor is worried about it; if there’s an area of agreement between them, that part of the story is probably right.

    • Roger McKinney

      Just because some, or even many scholars questions something doesn’t mean the book is wrong. I have read many critics of economic and historical theories and found that most aren’t even familiar with the theory or book they criticize, or they criticize very minor elements and then claim to slammed the author to the ground.

      Christ had quite a few critics. It takes neither intelligence nor skill to criticize. Any idiot can do it. To be a real critic one must present evidence and argument.

      I have read Stark’s book and many, many histories of the origins of capitalism. I think his is one of the best. Another is the works of Chicago economist/historian Deirdre McCloskey, who agrees with Stark, btw.

    • Roger McKinney

      PS, Weber’s work has been thoroughly and irredeemably destroyed by excellent work in developmental economics and the history of capitalism. Douglass North’s New Institutional school demolished it as has Deirdre McCloskey’s work. There are no more questions about Weber’s work.

      On the other hand, Stark’s work agrees with the best in developmental economics and the history of capitalism. If people don’t like Stark’s book, they don’t like the best in economics today.

  • Roger McKinney

    Very nice article! Thanks!

  • Clark

    Hmm, this article really made me think. It really does make sense that selfish greed at the expense of your employees and customers will lead to failure every time. That seems obvious. I’m not familiar with weber’s philosophy, but the profit motive must be tempered by love for for your fellow man, maybe this is why capitalism seems to flourish alongside reformed Christian faith.

    • Roger McKinney

      Keep in mind that capitalism includes the rule of law with free markets. So if someone tried to steal or defraud another, then the government should step in and either stop it or make the guilty pay restitution. Capitalism is not lawlessness, never has been.

      But for minor expressions of greed that don’t rise to the level of fraud or theft, competition keeps that in check and in a free market there will always be competition unless a producer chooses to provide high quality at the lowest cost, which some producers have done.

      Profits are nothing but rent. Given enough time competition always drives profits down to the level of prevailing interest rates.

  • Roger McKinney

    On the morality of free markets, check out the writings of the School of Salamanca, Spain from the 16th century. They’re all over the internet if search. Wikipedia has a good article, too.

    Church scholars had debated the “just price” for centuries. By the 16th century they had concluded that a just price on earth can be found only in free markets.

    Of course, free markets are nothing more than the instantiation of private property. Without free markets, property is just an abstract idea.

  • David Gill

    Great commentary Greg. I am always uncomfortable with “capital-ism” because of its ideological baggage. How about “free enterprise”? In any case I am with you on the importance of excellence, ethics, creativity, and culture in any sustainably successful business. I think Weber was trying to describe, not promote, the secularization of the Protestant work ethic (eg the Puritan “halfway covenant”). And Weber’s “iron cage” was not much about greed and profit but a whole lot about rationalization, bureaucracy, and technicization — exemplified in Taylor’s “Scientfic Management” as you rightly point out. Thanks for a thoughtful, informed essay.

    • Greg Forster

      Thanks! I do prefer free enterprise to capitalism – not least because a fairly large number of people actually define capitalism as an economic system based on greed, and in some cases refuse to permit this definition to be challenged. I have actually seen people agree about what they want the system to look like and then spend ten minutes arguing over whether the system they’re envisioning is capitalism. Not a fruitful dialogue!

      Even better than free enterprise, in my book, would be something like “enterprise society.” That’s really the heart of it – a society that identifies with the virtues and values of enterprise, not just the absence of restraint on enterprise.

      • David Gill

        Now you’re talking! I love “enterprise society/economy.” My friend Marvin Brown (Civilizing the Economy, Cambridge, 2010) promotes the concept of “provision” which also has its merits. Language is so important and we really need a new terminology that can get us past the conflicts and misunderstandings of the present.

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  • William Harris

    The notion that capitalism thrives in moral or Christian framework implicitly creates the tension that Weber observed. That idea means at the very least that there are certain values that precede and govern the economic enterprise. The very role of self-interest in transactions pushes players to test these moral boundaries. Indeed, the historical experience has been to validate game theory: violation reaps the rewards, thus the bitter outcomes of so many extractive industries. The corollary to this would be a degradation of standards, unsurprising since the observance of moral precepts, that is of self-limitation, is itself a cost. So utilitarianism, the role of self-interest (aka “greed” or in polite circles perhaps “fiduciary duty”) gets validated, and indeed becomes normative.

    This conflict between the moral sentiment and religious grounding and the imperatives of the emerging market or capitalist economies is well attested to in the literature and journals of the 19th Century, or for that matter in the family practices of the great capitalists themselves (thinking here of Chernow’s portrait of John Rockefeller in Titan). In short, it’s real.

    Second, the article assumes in good business school optimism, that companies in fact act for the best interest (“humanizes work, builds trust with customers, and orients workers toward creating value and serving the customer with excellence”). Greater honesty would admit that realizing this view is more a matter of privilege, that many work only to survive, seeking a satisfice role rather than one of pursuing excellence. Where one does not have a market dominant position the force of competition at the least creates the sense that one cannot afford such a move to excellence, no matter how personally desirable.

    And that brings the other issue left out here, the nature of internal policies. The question of greed is often as much expressed in how one understands the varying claims on revenue: what portion properly belongs to the investor, what to the worker, what to benefits, what to reinvestment, what to improved processes and the like. Again, there is a societal or group dynamic at work here that limits the view of the participants themselves as to what they may consider to be even feasible. (Case: in the 70s the Fortune 500 firm, Herman Miller, limited CEO pay to a multiple of 35x the wage on the floor; current practices would find that decision to be fiscally irresponsible. Or read Dickens to see what could be tolerated).

    To sum, while the idea that capitalism rests properly on moral precepts and Christian teaching may offer an explanation of where and how capitalism works best, it is a notion that is limited. And indeed, were we to admit it, by putting (biblical) ethics before business, it functions as an implicit critique of current practice. And ironically, that is not so far from where social justice begins.

    • Roger McKinney

      William, Thanks for your post, but I think you’re laboring under some illusions promoted by the mainstream media and public education, both of which have been captured by socialist, atheist thinking.

      First, self-interet is not equal to selfishness or greed. Adam Smith first used the term self-interest to describe what motivates people in market transactions and he meant by it the normal desire to provide the food, clothing and shelter for oneself and family. The Bible says that men who don’t provide for their families are worse than infidels. God has given us a natural desire to improve our living conditions and those of the people we love.

      Self-interest can become greed if taken to extremes, but I think the best way to think of greed is the willingness to do something immoral or illegal, such as fraud or theft, in order to gain materially. In a truly free economy operating within the bounds of natural law, competition will force the self-interest of people to work toward pleasing customers, otherwise the business will fail. If you want a brief summary of Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” it’s this: competition in a free market with the rule of natural law will suppress greed better than anything the state can attempt.

      “So utilitarianism, the role of self-interest … gets validated, and indeed becomes normative.”

      That is a socialist/atheist view of morality. Smith and most people in his day held to the traditional Christian idea that people decide their morality in private conversations with God, sometimes rejecting God, sometimes obeying him. But mankind can do nothing to change the tendency toward evil that is part of the sinful nature. Atheists who invented socialism said that man has no tendency toward evil; mankind is born in innocense and goes bad only because of oppression; private property is the greatest oppressor.

      The difference between a Christian and atheist world view is that Christianity teaches that the character of individuals determines the character of society; atheists say social institutions determine the character of individuals. Socialism is a salvation story that mirrors Christianity: create the right institution and you will make perfect people. Christianity teaches that only God can change human nature through the power of the Holy Spirit.

      As for Chernow’s portrait of Rockefellor, it was very distorted. Rockefellor was a good Christian man who always offered to buy out his competitors at a good price, but many became bitter and refused. Rockefellor had a better business model and better technology that he knew would put competitors out of business because he could charge lower prices for his products. There is nothing wrong with offering consumers something at a lower price; it makes them better off. Rockefellor did more than Christian kindness required in offering to buy out competitors.

      “the article assumes in good business school optimism, that companies in fact act for the best interest…”

      Not necessarily. Capitalists have always assumed that some people will actly badly. But competition will either run them out of business or they will suppress their bad actions. Companies who treat their employees badly will not keep good employees if there are better places for them to work. In fact, most the improvement in working condition in the US came about by businesses competing for better worker, not by law, as most history books teach.

      “what portion properly belongs to the investor, what to the worker, what to benefits, what to reinvestment, what to improved processes and the like”

      Again, competition will work that out. Historical evidence shows that in a relatively free market with competition, profits may be high in a new technology, but are driven down by competition to the prevailing interest rate in a short time. Profits are divided between the capitalist (owner), the workers and the consumers (through lower prices). History has shown that the only way to raise wages is through improved worker productivity, and that comes through better tools to work with (investment by businessmen).

      Yes, capitalism works best in a Christian society, but it works in non-Christian cultures, too, such as China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. It doesn’t work as well in non-Christian cultures and the benefits are limited.

      “putting (biblical) ethics before business, it functions as an implicit critique of current practice.”

      Exactly! We don’t have a Christian society or capitalism. We are a strange mix of classical socialism and fascism, a flavor of socialism developed by the NAZI’s and Mussolini. Fascism has business cartels determining state policy on economic issues. Those who call the US a capitalist nation are deluded. We were capitalist before 1929, but it has been a long time.

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  • Rick

    Thanks for this great article. I was thinking about this very thing a few weeks ago when Obama made his “You didn’t build that” comment. Most of my friends are conservative Christians. And most of them reacted against Obama’s statement by proclaiming self-dependence in such a way that really just glorified the individual. I’m all for personal responsibility. But a self-dependent, self-indulgent pursuit of riches as an idol is nothing better than worshiping self. However, viewing capitalism as stewardship gives us the possibility of being God-centered, gospel-driven capitalists.

  • Roger McKinney

    I still prefer the term “capitalism” to “enterprise”. Capitalism has a bad name because we have allowed socialists to define it. If enterprise becomes popular, socialists will simply redefine it to mean something evil, and many already have done so by claiming that “free enterprise” means no laws or regulations at all. Capitalism traditionally has always meant free markets within the rule of natural laws prohibiting fraud and theft.

    Regardless of any new term you invent to replace capitalism, you’ll have to define the term because no one will know what you’re talking about. Why not just define capitalism when you refer to it.

    The main method of argument used by socialists and atheists is redefining terms so that they automatically win. We need to quit allowing them to do that. We need to call them on it and point out its dishonesty, then insist on a correct definition of the term.