by Jan (John) M. MAŁEK
Christian Economic Thought (ChET) is based on a Christian worldview. According to this vision, God created the Earth with its riches, and upon creating the first humans, He gave them possession of Earth with all its goods. He blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and have dominion over it.” Thus, He wanted people to use these goods fruitfully. To this end, He also established private property for man, making it a natural human right, so that people could use it as an instrument enabling the most productive development of the Earth and use of its riches. In order to make it easier for people to protect the fruits of this activity, He instituted as many as two commandments forbidding covetousness and appropriation of one’s neighbor’s property (i.e. private property), namely the commandments: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s property!” and “Thou shalt not steal!”
Therefore, from the Christian perspective, economics, which is the science of human economic activity and the laws governing this activity, must treat man’s right to private property as a fundamental and primary law of economy and an economic imperative expressed by God’s prohibition against theft. Breaking any natural law from the Creator always leads to undesirable, negative consequences for people. There is plenty of evidence for this. Therefore, if we wish to improve the material quality of life for ourselves and for others (especially the poor) let us be aware of and follow this fundamental economic imperative, both in our direct activity and in the activity of our representatives in local and national government. Otherwise, we promote and perpetuate widespread theft, such as the State stealing from its citizens, which is economically and socially harmful. This occurs in various ways, such as:
- 1. the practice of socialism through direct confiscation of private property for the benefit of the State and its various institutions;
- 2. printing paper money not substantiated by growth in national wealth, which causes inflation and a decline in the value of the money citizens already have;
- 3. increasing the national debt without the knowledge and consent of citizens, who, along with the next generation, will be responsible for repaying it;
- 4. engaging in and perpetuating corruption by practicing nepotism, resulting in high overhead costs to society;
- 5. creating unproductive and parasitic positions within State institutions to justify spending taxpayer money;
- 6. granting licenses, concessions, monopolies and other privileges to select individuals or groups at the expense of all other citizens;
- 7. selective (progressive) taxation of wealthier people, as recommended by Marx, which is contrary to the principle of equality of all citizens before the law, and punishes wealthier people for becoming wealthy in a market economy through their diligence, resourcefulness, honesty, sacrifice, frugality, and meeting the needs of others;
- 8. breaking the law of supply and demand, by imposing minimum or maximum prices on goods or services, i.e. divesting the owner of the right to dispose of his own property freely;
- 9. taxation for purposes that do not serve the good of society as a whole, but only select groups…;
- 10. And so on.
To summarize, it is important to emphasize that Christian Economic Thought accepts as an unshakeable truth extremely simple and understandable, God-given guidelines regarding the conditions of good economic management. These guidelines are: the VII Commandment prohibiting the appropriation of another’s property, and the X Commandment prohibiting covetousness of that which belongs to another (covetousness which results from envy or jealousy and leads to depriving one’s neighbor of his property, and even – to murder or other crimes).
As the above demonstrates, Christian Economic Thought is easy to understand, and it is very difficult to interpret it in conflict with the truth. It greatly simplifies the understanding of economics by identifying the causes of various economic phenomena, both positive and negative, and allows one to draw the proper conclusions.