Occasional thoughts of an Anglican Episcopal priest

Eventually “capitalism … will rank with feudalism as an evil memory of mankind.” (W. Rauschenbusch)

From A Theology for the Social Gospel by Walter Rauschenbusch…. I think this speaks to what we are seeing in the evil of Corporatism (Fascism) in the United States.

“Two principles are contending with each other for future control in the field of industrial and commercial organization, the capitalistic and the co-operative. The effectiveness of the capitalistic method in the production of wealth is not questioned; modern civilization is evidence of it. But we are also familiar with capitalistic methods in the production of human wreckage. Its one-sided control of economic power tempts to exploitation and oppression; it directs the productive process of society primarily toward the creation of private profit rather than the service of human needs; it demands autocratic management and strengthens the autocratic principle in all social affairs; it has impressed a materialistic spirit on our whole civilization.

Here, I think, we have the difference between saved and unsaved organizations. The one class is under the law of Christ, the other under the law of mammon. The one is democratic and the other autocratic. Whenever capitalism has invaded a new country or industry, there has been a speeding up in labor and in the production of wealth, but always with a trail of human misery, discontent, bitterness, and demoralization. When co-operation has invaded a country there has been increased thrift, education, and neighborly feeling, and there has been no trail of concomitant evil and no cries of protest. The men in capitalistic business may be the best of men, far superior in ability to the average committee member of a co-operative, but the latter type of organization is the higher, and when co-operation has had as long a time to try out its methods as capitalism (has), the latter will rank with feudalism as an evil memory of mankind.” (pp. 113-114)

I am truly beginning to wonder if it is possible to be a Christian and a capitalist….. Actually, I’ve wondered that for some time. What I’m trying to figure out is how to do something about it without actually joining a monastery. In other words, what might a group of people (families, actually) who live in their own homes, have their own expenses, have all the sorts of obligations that people have in a society such as ours, be able to do cooperatively that would promote “the law of Christ” in opposition to “the law of mammon.” I honestly don’t know! But I feel the need to find out.


1 Comment

  1. Eleanor Braun

    Well there are “intentional communities” of various sorts.


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