Chapter

The Challenge of Global Capitalism: A Christian Perspective

Brian Griffiths

in Making Globalization Good

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780199257010
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596223 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199257019.003.0008
 The Challenge of Global Capitalism: A Christian Perspective

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Brian Griffiths sets out his interpretation of the Christian attitude and response to global capitalism. After identifying the foundations of a Christian perspective, viz. the nature of the world God created, the covenants, the moral law of the Old Testament, and the Incarnation, Griffiths identifies six distinctive components of an acceptable global economy. He then goes on to distinguish between the Christian viewpoint and that of liberal economists who tend to regard the market (as one of the critical institutions of capitalism) as an autonomous entity and independent of any reference to morality; he has little sympathy for those theologians who view capitalism ’as powered by the unremitting stimulation of covetousness’, and indeed, as a Christian, he strongly defends the moral legitimacy of the concept of private ownership, and the freedom of individuals and firms to do business in the market place. At the same time, Griffiths is in no doubt that without a vigorous and clearly enunciated moral framework that embraces Christian values, the risks of extreme poverty, social injustice, and exclusivity, and the threat to the environment (the three downsides of the present state of capitalism discussed in the chapter) will remain. Finally, he avers that individual Christians and the Christian church bear a major responsibility for advocating and promulgating their beliefs and opinions, and also for cooperating with other religious persuasions, to identify ways of upgrading the moral ecology of the constituent institutions of global capitalism.

Keywords: acceptability; capitalism; Christian church; Christian values; environment; exclusivity; global capitalism; global economy; global market place; markets; moral ecology; morality; poverty; social injustice

Chapter.  11294 words. 

Subjects: International Economics

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