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Jobs are in the news. The lack of them actually. Unemployment is high and underemployment is higher. So tonight President Obama will address Congress and the nation and unveil a new jobs agenda. The Republicans will follow up with their plan next week.

I’m not interesting in commenting on the specifics of either party’s job plan. There are, no doubt, many good ideas that could help the economy and many bad ideas to avoid. I’ll let you decide which are which.

But I thought it might be worthwhile to think about where private sector jobs come from. Most basically, new jobs come from people with money to spend who want to spend their money on more people. This means:

(1) The employer must have money. He may spend his own money. Or he may borrow money from investors or the bank. But somehow he has to have money.

(2)The employer must believe that spending his money on new employees will be good for his business. We may wish that employers hired people just cuz. But that’s not the way the world works. When employers want to be charitable they give to church or to their alma mater. But with their business they know they need to make money. Consequently, they hire new workers only when they believe that paying more people will eventually be offset by making more money.

(3) The employer must be willing to take a risk. Very few new hires are sure things. Employers don’t know exactly what they are getting with their new employees. More important, they don’t know what will happen with their profits. They follow trends and track receipts and keep money in reserve, but in the end every expansion of business is a risk.

(4) The employer must be somewhat confident in his projection of the future. Yes, risk is inevitable. But shrewd businesses look to minimize risk. They want to know what their taxes will be, whether existing laws will be fairly enforced, what regulations will be like, what’s happening with their competitors, what’s happening with the prices of things they need to buy, what’s happening with markets overseas. There are a thousand things they’d like to know. They can’t know them all. But the more predictable their future looks, the more apt they will be to take risks.

Underneath it All

Of course, none of this matters if the employer is not profitable. Almost no business will expand unless profits are increasing, or it is believed strongly that they will.

So where do profits come from?

People make a profit when they sell goods or services for more than it costs to produce or perform those goods and services. No doubt, many people are greedy and pursue profits at the expense of principle and the good of people. But profits by themselves are not bad. In fact, they tell you that you are delivering a product that people find valuable. Profits help allocate scarce resources toward the goods and services that people want.

When the same goods and services can be delivered more cheaply, profits increase. And with fair competition prices will eventually decrease, which is good for consumers. Productivity is the name of the game. Whenever the same stuff can be produced for less cost, productivity has increased. And when productivity increases, an economy expands. This doesn’t mean everyone will profit equally. One business windfall may spell bad news for some other industry. But over time, with increased productivity, the net effect on the whole economy is positive. And that means more jobs.

Let me illustrate.

Mr. Moo and His Milkmaids

Mr. Moo sells milk. He charges $5 a gallon. Everyone in town wants milk so everyone pays Mr. Moo $5 a gallon. But Mr. Moo wants to make even more money. Maybe he’s greedy. Maybe he wants to give more to his church. Maybe he wants to buy a new car. Maybe he just had a new baby that needs food and clothes. Maybe he wants to bet on horses. No matter the reason, Mr. Moo (like almost everyone) wants to make more money. What should he do?

He could charge more for his milk, but he realizes that at $6 a gallon some of his customers will drive to the next town where milk is only $4.75. So instead he tries to lower his costs. He needs $4 to make a gallon of milk, but he’d like to do better. So next month he replaces his milkmaids with new milking machines. This requires a substantial up front investment, but within a year the milking machines have paid for themselves. Without having to pay milkmaids, his milk only costs $3 to produce. Now he charges $4.25—a savings to his customers and more profit for him.

This simple example shows how productivity fuels profits. Mr. Moo found a way to make the same thing for less money.

But, you ask, how is this good for anyone but Mr. Moo? Well, as the other farmers purchased their milking machines their costs went down too. So they started to lower prices, hoping to attract more customers. Mr. Moo did the same. Even if he is now getting richer, his customers are too. They save 75 cents on every gallon of milk (paying $4.25 when they used to pay $5.00). Now they have the same milk as before but more money. The economy has expanded.

And that’s not all, with more money in his pocket Mr. Moo goes out to eat more, which helps the local burger joint hire one more cook. And all the new machines need servicing, so the local repairmen hires an apprentice. The grocer spends less on milk so he can add another bagger. The doctor, who is saving money on dairy, has more money to spend so he donates to the local art museum which can afford to purchase two new paintings from an aspiring artist. No one knew Mr. Moo’s machines would help so many people and create so many jobs. No one really notices either, but it happens.

But what about the poor milkmaids? True, they are out of work. Their lives, at least in the short run, are worse because of the new innovation. Those dreaded milking machines seemed to have ruined everything. In fact, the mayor almost outlawed them. Others wanted to institute a new milking machine tariff to discourage farmers from buying them and to help save milkmaid jobs. But none of this happened. Instead farmers kept buying milking machines and milkmaids kept losing their jobs. Which was really hard on the milkmaids and their families.

And yet, that’s not the end of the story. Some of the milkmaids went to work for Mr. Pump who manufactures milking machines. His business was booming. He needed more workers to help make more machines. So he hired a few milkmaids. And remember, as the price of milk dropped, so did the price of cheese and pizza and yogurt. Everyone’s grocery bill was less. The whole town had the same stuff but more money. So Mr. Wall and Mr Mart decided to open a new thrift store. Mrs. Lovejoy, who started watching busy Mr. Wall’s and Mr. Mart’s kids during the day, decided to open a daycare. She hired some former milkmaids to help, as did Mr. Wall and Mr. Mart. A few of the married milkmaids decided they didn’t have to work anymore because groceries were cheaper than they used to be and the family could get by on less. It was hard and humiliating to lose their jobs, but five years later the whole town is better off because Mr. Moo bought his milking machines. There are more jobs. Families are able to purchase more things. And there is more ice cream for everyone.

Coming to a Point

The point of this little parable is to highlight the power of productivity. Obviously, my story is hugely simplified. This one example doesn’t take into account that some technologies are morally suspect and some people use them immorally. Virtue is necessary for any flourishing economy. Economists call it social capital. It’s the fancy phrase for trust, honesty, and the rule of law. Economies drag when corruption soars. Every economy needs rules that are justly enforced by impartial rule keepers. All of this is assumed in the story of our capitalist friend Mr Moo.

I don’t believe the Bible mandates a specific economic system. Capitalism is not required by Christianity. But Christian principles do undergird capitalism. And the biggest of these is capital itself. When we hear “capital” we think of money. But that’s not the only, or the most important, kind of capital. Remember, capital comes from the Latin word for “head.” The most important element in capitalism is the human brain. The engine of capitalism is the God-given drive, ability, and responsibility to create, to innovate, to conquer and subdue. When humans make something out of nothing, or when we make the same something more efficiently, we show for the image of God in us. We turn a black gooey mess into gasoline and sand into silicon chips. That’s the result of human ingenuity, which results in increased productivity. And it just so happens, that increased productivity leads to profit, and profits are ultimately where jobs come from.

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49 thoughts on “Daddy, Where Do Jobs Comes From?”

  1. Paul says:

    Errr Kevin,

    There’s a concept that’s missing from most of this analysis and it’s called sin. For example, you write:

    > many people are greedy and pursue profits at the expense of principle and the good of people

    No. All people are greedy and all (except people like Mother Teresa) would pursue profits at the expense of principle and the good of people if they could get away with it. Perhaps you’ve heard of total depravity but that sentence makes it look like you’ve never heard of it. You also write:

    > Christian principles do undergird capitalism

    That’s nonsense. Maybe you should read the first few chapters of Acts and tell me where you find these Christian principles that undergird capitalism. What undergirds capitalism is greed and self-interest and those aren’t Christian principles. Capitalism doesn’t work without greed and self-interest because it requires them to be efficient.

    Here’s the correct way to think about this. People are fundamentally greedy and want more stuff they don’t need. Capitalism is the best system so far invented for providing people with more stuff they don’t need. Therefore, capitalism is here to stay and it’s irrelevant what you, I or anyone reading this blog thinks about that. What Christians need to do is to work out how, on a local level, the people who are or would be hurt by capitalism can be helped.

  2. Nate says:

    I have to say that this is a fantastic piece. Way to go KDY!!! Frederic Bastiat and Adam Smith would be proud.

    Beer is a great industry to se where productivity has led to more jobs. 15 years ago Bud, Coors, and Miller were THE American beer market and their beers were terrible. However other individuals wanted to try something different and those producers came in and started marketing a new product- microbrews , this has radically changed the beer market…

    To Paul’s point about depravity- If a company is doing something illegal/immoral/etc, consumers tend to develop integrity and not buy those products. Look at the grassfed/freerange/organic craze that has happened recently. Many people are tired of factory farm meat, because it is shoddy quality and the treatment of animals is questionable- So they have started marketing newer ways of producing meat, that is better tasting and more ethical to the animals.
    This goes right to Kevin’s point of the human brain doing things to reflect the image of God.
    Remember Bastiat’s masterpiece “That what is seen and that what is not seen” you can read it here if you are interested-

  3. Paul M. says:

    I enjoyed your post Kevin. Wanted to make a minor note: increases in productivity (either because of technological innovation or of what Thomas Haskell calls “recipes of knowledge”) create greater societal wealth, but not necessarily greater profits per se. In theory, in a free market, productivity gains are spread among consumers while profits are kept at approximately the same level by competition. In other words, productivity gains generally make things cheaper.

  4. Nate says:

    Nice Thomas Haskell reference

  5. Justin Lonas says:

    Thomas Sowell would be proud…

  6. Denise says:

    I’d like to remind Paul that sin is an equal opportunity corrupter. It not only taints capitalism, but also socialism, communism, and even Christian charity. Read beyond the first few chapters of Acts, to Acts 5. Peter said that Ananias and Sapphira were free to do with their property as they wished, but that their sinful hearts led them to lie about their charitable activities. The presence of sinful behavior within an economic system does not mean we should scrap that system and look for a perfect one.

    Capitalism is not perfect, because people are not perfect, but it is the most effective economic system known to man, allowing people to freely produce and exchange desired goods or services. Greed and self-interest are necessarily kept in check by free markets, because no one is required to do business with anyone else. I must produce a quality product or provide a valuable service at a reasonable price, or I will go out of business.

    Socialism and communism require force, in the form of centralized control, and are inevitably unsustainable because they do not respond to supply and demand.

  7. Denise says:

    One other thought: As Kevin hinted at in his parable, charities and ministries benefit from a capitalist economic system because more surplus goods, services, and money are available to be donated than from socialist or communist economies. Also, individuals who give benefit from personal involvement in charitable activities.

    So many times I hear those involved in non-profit, service-oriented jobs belittling the profit motive of the business sector and I wonder, where do they think their funding is coming from?

  8. Michael says:

    All your points deal with employers creating jobs. Based on all the political hoopla, one would think that the government creates all the jobs!

    Comments like Paul made above show how far socialism and marxism have made inroads into the USA (even among Christians!) Socialist leaning Christians always want to cite Acts 4, forgetting to mention that the believers gave freely of their own accord, not by compulsion from the government.

  9. Jay Beerley says:

    I love me some Kevin. Great article.

    Paul, I would only say that being totally depraved does not mean everyone commits every sin. I really believe not all people are greedy at the expense of others. They are sinners, sure. But that doesn’t mean we all commit all sins.

  10. Don Sartain says:

    Great post, Kevin. I’m not sure I buy into all of it yet, but it’s worth thinking about…

  11. Nathan says:

    I can’t help but continue to be thankful for this blog post… and the Thomas Sowell shout out. I can I hear some love for Milton? Hey Oh!!!!!!

    Oh the power of the pencil

  12. Reg Schofield says:

    All systems are messed up. All I have to say is come Lord Jesus.

  13. John says:

    “And that’s not all, with more money in his pocket Mr. Moo goes out to eat more, which helps the local burger joint hire one more cook. And all the new machines need servicing, so the local repairmen hires an apprentice. The grocer spends less on milk so he can add another bagger. The doctor, who is saving money on dairy, has more money to spend so he donates to the local art museum which can afford to purchase two new paintings from an aspiring artist. No one knew Mr. Moo’s machines would help so many people and create so many jobs. No one really notices either, but it happens.”

    This is the fundamental logic fail in this kind of argument. The gains Mr. Moo makes are not necessarily going to go back into the economy. More likely, they will end up in a Swiss bank somewhere. This is especially true when Mr. Moo is actually a corporation whose finances are directed by a committee to further the interests of stakeholders. Furthermore, if everyone is attempting greater efficiency, as Mr. Moo is, then the only reason to retain humans is if they can do something that no machine can do (yet) or if they are cheaper than machines, which in turn drives the cost of labor down – along with the standard of living and quality of life for laborers.

  14. Scott C says:

    Capitalism is also a system that encourages hard work, excellence and incentives for reward. In communist systems there is no incentive and so it produces laziness and a lack of excellence in labor, products and services.

    I saw this first hand as an architect. Our American firm designed a home for a wealthy Russian businessman in Russia. The plan was to use a Russian construction company to build the house using local resources and labor. The problem was, the local resources were terrible. The construction products were of very low quality and there was no competition for better products. Furthermore, the labor pool was pathetic. The construction workers would not work and they lacked the knowledge to complete simple construction tasks. The project was costing so much money due to these problems. They were, I believe, the lingering results of a nation bred upon communist principles even though communism had collapsed.

    We had to import construction materials from outside the country where better products were made and we sent an American construction team to finish the house. It cost more money than was initially anticipated to do this, but not as much as it was costing to do it the Russian way. It was a real lesson in the failure of communism and the reason while capitalism is far more successful.

  15. Nathan says:

    John you are wrong. You really have taken the the “Broken Window fallacy” hook line and sinker.
    Yes the person may save some of his revenue in a bank. But he will no doubt buy his family clothing, take his wife out for dinner, or redo the kitchen as well. All require the person to contribute to the economy.
    You should also note that not many people go to Swiss bank, and if they do how is that a bad thing? Isn’t it their right to save for the future? If the person is fraudulently evading taxes, that is illegal and that is why we have a court system. Otherwise, it is their right to save. Are you only against rich people saving, or are you against anyone saving and therefore judge my 10 year old nephew for saving his allowance to buy a bike…. Oh by the way, that bike would be bought from a local bike shop down the road, thus helping their business. Get Real Man!!!
    for a simplified explanation of this fallacy

  16. Brian says:

    Okay, productivity is up, people are saving money, other people are getting jobs with other companies due to Mr. Moo’s increased productivity. But maybe just maybe one of Mr. Moo’s milkmaids is an excellent worker who puts in a good days work for her income and has fifteen years to go for retirement. Regardless she gets laid off and finds she won’t get hired by anyone else due to her age and no one takes into account that she has clearly been a good enough worker for one person for 20 years. After two years of unemployment she runs out of unemployment insurance and has no income at all. What about her? What about the national average of 9% that are unemployed? What about the 18% unemployment in the area where she lives? What about the 30% unemployment in the area where she lives that are over the age of 50?

    I would appreciate your insights.

  17. Nathan says:


    There is a place for this and that is the church and non profits. That is why Mr. Moo or others tithe and help the unfortunate on their own dime, voluntarily. It isn’t a perfect system but it is better than government intervention.
    No capitalist that I know of argues that poor people should be neglected, our question is who’s role is it to help.
    Maybe if we get rid of the minimum wage, Mr. Moo could hire her to clean his house a couple times a week. If there wasn’t government regulation maybe she could have taken her savings for retirement to invest in a cow of her own or chickens and start an organic foods business…. she could always invest in gold, I hear that is sky high right now.

  18. Josh says:

    Interesting post Kevin. Can’t say I agree with everything, but I thought you tied it all together nicely with what the heck economics have to do with Christianity… all I can say is, this is interesting. :)

  19. Josh,
    What do economics have to do with Christianity? An odd question. The Bible talks much of justice, including economic (fair weights & measures, for instance). The economy is about the growth or reduction and distribution of wealth. How wealth is distributed has moral implications. As does whether or not wealth is growing or diminishing (like now). God cares about this, and so should we.

  20. Josh says:

    This is exactly why I didn’t pose it as a question. I said I thought KDY tied it all together nicely. Someone who may not know a whole lot about the Bible and stumbles across this blog may not have thought of the economic implications of Christianity, but this post helps clarify this a bit. :)

  21. Brian says:

    Nathan, It would be nice if the government removed the regulation the prevents me from taking my IRA without penalty but I would submit that regulations are a necessary evil. The lack of regulation plays a huge part of what got the US in this mess in the first place. This mess is still continuing and anybody who thinks that it won’t last long, especially in Calif, is quite simply a fool. It will take at least 30-40 years in Calif. to get the economy anywhere near where it was before this came down in 2007.

  22. Nathan says:

    Much of the economic mess is do to the fact that the perpetrators of the collapse (Banks, etc) were bailed out by the government. If individuals faced the consequences of their poor decisions in the marketplace, things would look a lot different and potentially better. Absolutely, the mess is a big one, and it isn’t getting better. Our country as a whole is in debt 14.5 trillion dollars (and its growing by the day.)If we think this is bad, what happens when the house of cards falls apart?
    It really is sad. I agree with you, but Keynesian models of spending and the over-regulating isn’t helping.

  23. Brian says:

    I would argue that the collapse and mess occurred before the government bailout. Not because of the government bailout. But perhaps I misread what you were writing.

  24. Bob Johnson says:

    So we should just let the Koch brothers, et al., take over the country, remove all regulatory safeguards, remove all trade barriers, stop educating the poor people, remove wage controls, ban all unions, etc. just to feed the greed of these people. They want to prevent the working people from having a voice. Thats biblical? Just fyi austerity does nothing but bring on recession and then depression as evidenced through history, more recently in Europe.
    You can have a lot of employment if they would set up trade tariffs that were in place prior to Reagan’s NAFTA, like every other civilized country has.

  25. Josh says:

    Woah woah woah Bob, I don’t recall the Koch brothers being mentioned at all in this post. I think the post was about Christianity and economics? Let’s keep the current political conspiracies out of this.

  26. Nathan says:

    I was referring to the fact that companies and individuals who were a big part of the economic collapse in 2007-08 were then bailed out. I would argue they wouldn’t have been so foolish and frivolous with money if they knew they would actually have to account for their losses. Artificially inflating the housing bubble is a huge dimension in the economic collapse. I say, let the market work.
    Bad things happen, it is true… but regulations and government commissions are not a panacea.

    Bob, you are kidding right. You know that the “Koch brothers, et al…” who have created numerous jobs- haven’t “taken over this country.” I don’t know what you mean about whether that list of things you ripped off are biblical or not. I never knew that collective bargaining was in the Torah or was it in Galatians?
    NAFTA,really? protectionism? is that where we are going? Awesome, cause it really isn’t effective.
    This might help begin to explain the benefits of free trade between nations, its called the pencil. No kidding, check it out.

    I hope this in no way deflects from KDY’s awesome piece on basic economics, Harry Hazlitt would be proud. See:

  27. Ron says:


    Not trying to be picky, but Clinton signed NAFTA into law.

  28. Jared Wilson says:

    I don’t believe the Bible prescribes capitalism or that capitalism is inherently Christian or anything like that, but “Thou shalt not steal” at least provides support for Kevin’s claim that the Bible undergirds capitalism.

    Also: If you took away capitalism, you wouldn’t take away greed. Greed would still be there.

  29. david says:

    So a short addendum to KDY’s post check this out:

    Top 3 Common Myths of Capitalism

    and its only like 3 minutes long, and the prof is from HARVARD- just saying

  30. John says:

    We could all argue and try to pick apart the analogy given in this article. Just keep in mind that the big takeaway is simply one thing: When our government “intervenes” in any economic situation, crisis, recession, or what have you, they make it worse. This is a verifiable fact.

  31. Good stuff Kevin. I really would like to see a book come out showing where capitalism and biblical Christianity intersect but also where they diverge from one another. I really think that Christians need to really ask whether or not they are capitalists first or Chrisitans first. I really do believe they can coincide but I think far too many “conservative” Christians are not challenged from a wholistic biblical mindset. We tend to use passages that undergird our economically conservative point of view and explain away those passages that really challenge our materialism and greed. And if one attampts to question capitalism they are immediately labeled a Marxist or socialist, which is really unfair. Although I myself am a fiscal conservative I hope that I would bend the knee to Scripture when it goes up against my worldview.

  32. Scott says:


    There is a book, try reading “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem” by Jay W. Richardson. I believe Kevin even reviewed this book a while back.

    If you want to read a short article by Jay called, Should Christians be Socialist

    Think about this, Thou Shall Not Steal, Thou Shall not Covet…, thou Shall not Murder. Think how these commandments protect “Private Property Rights”. Show me a better system than Capitalism, that protects these Private Property Rights, and fits with these commandments.

    So when Kevin writes “I don’t believe the Bible mandates a specific economic system. Capitalism is not required by Christianity. But Christian principles do undergird capitalism.”

    Show me how any other “Economic Political System” that fits Biblical Principals better, including Private Property rights.

    So use your God Given “Capital” and think.

  33. Chad says:

    How many jobs do pastors create? How would Kevin know where jobs come from aside an ideological commitment to capitalism? Has Kevin ever had to make payroll on a Friday afternoon?

  34. Jeni says:

    Chad, I can’t answer for Kevin, but I have worked for a church that has over 100 people on it’s payroll. My paycheck was signed by the pastor. Now, I work for a parachurch organization that depends on pastors choosing us for retreats and camps. If they don’t come to our camp, I don’t have a job.

  35. paul dare says:

    Outstanding article. Kevin’s been boning up on Smith, Hazlitt, Mises, Ron Paul and Peter Schiff economics(Austrian that is!). No human institution to buy, sell and trade goods and services will ever be perfect in this kingdom. Only the next kingdom will be ruled perfectly.
    But – that said, Capitalism is the best of all our choices! No other systems work long term. Yes, it has its issues, because it contains humans! But look how quickly other systems devolve into oppression and poverty and drive themselves into the ground. A simple historical survey shows this.
    When people knock capitalism, they aren’t really attacking true capitalism, but it’s abuses by those who have tried to be greedy and sinfully selfish within the system. But pure capitalism(full of “social capital” and empty of heavy government regulation and stimulation) is wonderful and always prospers and flourishes – everyone’s standard of living is improved (
    I had to laugh at John’s note (September 8, 2011 at 11:38 am ) that knocks automation. As he types on his personal computer. :)

  36. O.D. says:

    //The engine of capitalism is the God-given drive, ability, and responsibility to create, to innovate, to conquer and subdue. When humans make something out of nothing, or when we make the same something more efficiently, we show for the image of God in us. //

    Amen … and that’s just what American has done to the indentured servants, the Native Americans and, yes, the black African slaves.

    A host of people were lifted to great social and economic heights by their own efforts; they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. Good ole capitalism and individual responsibility … brought to you, proudly, by White Anglo-Saxon Christians: Conquering new worlds in the name of Jesus!


  37. James says:

    What is described in this post essentially pertains to how things are produced by rational human decision-makers. Without better tools and means of production, we don’t produce as much; it is really that simple. If you think that state intervention will provide a more just system of production, fine. But realize that when you marginalize those who produce the most, everyone has a bit less. One wonders why some would argue, in the name of Christ, that this is just. It should also be noted that this is a somewhat separate issue from the question of how followers of Christ should interact with material possessions. To wit, should we decry the means by which we produce goods because there is a tendency to be enamoured of them? I would submit that this penchant is not just in the world of capitalists but is shared by all.

  38. Ron Ferrin says:

    I think the question should be, “Where have all the jobs gone?”

    Help Kill NAFTA

    We will create such a loud voice that Washington will no longer be able to ignore us.

  39. ChrisCD says:

    “Amen … and that’s just what American has done to the indentured servants, the Native Americans and, yes, the black African slaves.”

    Yes, abuses occurred, but white-anglo-saxons don’t have a patent on slavery or torture. Examine what those nations did (and continue to do) to each other.

    Of course now you have Indians running casinos that generate quite a bit of revenue for their people. Of course, we won’t look at what they are doing to the people playing their games, that would be another post.

    And the same country that had slavery also has a black President, had a black secretary of state, etc., etc. And if it weren’t for a bunch of white-anglo-saxons who believed we are all created in God’s image that would have never happened. Of course that really isn’t the point of this post.

    Gov’ts are run by sinful man. Companies are run by sinful man. Blogs are written by sinful man. The question is how can we best glorify God and help each other. This country has proven over and over again that it can and does. Capitalism is not perfect. But it does provide a system that rewards hard work, allows people the freedom to chart a different course, provides the freedom to give as one chooses, when left to the market; it punishes greed and wrong doing. Gov’t intervention messes this up.

    In Acts, Christians were of one accord, willingly. Matter of fact, despite massive Gov’t restriction and oppression. Christians knew and trusted each other that is how they could share so willingly. These days we do not know one another. This makes it very difficult to be of one accord.

  40. O.D. says:


    Capitalism is kinda cool and kinda good, but it ain’t all cool and good; and, yeah, man is a sinful bugger. Boo-hoo, let’s just forget it all because we’ve had (Thank you, Jesus!) blacks in high government positions and (Hallelujah!) the presidency. That’s been established and I’m sure most blacks and others are happy. But it’s not a good excuse to ignore the fact that slave labor and vicious racism, segregation and classism in the United States likely contributed to the industrial boom and the greater success of many capitalists.

    I thank God for America. Even the Civil War (government intervention at its finest), but post-war was hell and a then some: Jim Crow (Capitalist??) America meant not simply white people not wanting to be around blacks and other minorities, it meant a concerted effort to restrict the creation of wealth. Mr. Moo prolly got the loan for his milk machines while good Mr. Chocolate Moo got his biz burned down and his neighborhood, job, etc. redlined (not to mention lynchings that made sure the messages were received). The rest is history and a continuing saga of playing catchup by Native Americans and Black Americans especially.

    I don’t have problem with capitalism, per se, (slavery and other evils existed in all kinds of economic and political systems) but it’s a bad look for Christian America when you point to capitalism as a great deal of why it’s so great. Tell that to the countries and lives destroyed because of greed. To the land that was taken from Native Americans as U.S. capitalism spread westward. Tell that to the many tribes that were made promises only to have the government go against the promise and stab them in the back. The whitening of their culture. And you want to point to casinos as a good example of how they are doing now? That’s damn near insane. When was the last time you saw a large group of Native Amerians? They are pretty much gone. The only difference between them and blacks are mainly numbers. Capitalism didn’t do much for them. And it was not their fault. The government, our capitalist Christian-influenced government, endorsed a lack of humanity in Native Americans and Blacks (and others) and failed to protect their basic rights countless times. Only recently, has American at large got a conscience and a clue.

    When slavery and Jim Crow wasn’t profitable we bucked it for something else.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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