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Aug 22, 2006


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Ted Gossard

Good thoughts here.

I don't understand economy, or for that matter government, all that well. I do find free market to be fine, in and of itself. Is it really inherently better than an economy that may be partially free market, as well as geared toward the good of all. That is called socialism, or something of a socialist element in it, a dirty word to many American evangelicals, I guess.

For me, that seems the most desirable context in which free market economies could exist, even if not the most desirable (for them). An aside, but just was thinking.

Again though, good thoughts. I find this true in myself. Thanks.

Ted Gossard

I do want to add to that, the Church is the body of Christ in the world. Not govt. So we can't sit around and wait for what we, as Jesus' hands and feet, alone can do.

Michael Kruse

Ted, I don’t think I could do full justice to your question in a short comment here. My position is that free markets, should be the default position, and the burden of proof should be to show why the markets can’t handle and issue. And there are such cases!

The markets aren’t just financial exchanges, they are information exchanges. Each transaction adds to the information telling suppliers if people are wanting more or less of a good. Because of what people will pay are not pay there is a constant dynamic flow of information matching supply to demand. Whenever you introduce centralized planning or in some way artificially adjust the prices (up or down) it distorts the information flow and makes the allocation of resources more inefficient and wasteful.

The free market is based on me efficiently and effectively producing a product that you desire but lack the level of skill I do to produce it. You do the same with a product that I desire but I am not as adept at producing. You will value the product I made more than I will and I will value the product you made more than you will. We exchange goods. We both win. The markets are about win-win transactions; each party trading something they value less than the thing they are acquiring.

I think markets are geared to the good of all because each individual makes the decisions themselves about what they are willing to exchange (or not) for something else. A socialist system is not geared toward the good of all. It is geared toward what some small group of experts or bureaucrats decide is good for all. They would be operating with distorted market information and they are no less subject to sinful behavior than individuals are.

The market system is not perfect. Imperfect access to information (intentionally created or otherwise) by a buyers or sellers can lead to transactions that are misinformed. Some times people end up unable to enter the market through no fault of their own. Sometimes we simply make bad decisions and need grace. There are deficiencies that have to be addressed. Society needs systems in place (family, voluntary associations, government, etc.) that address the needs of the poor and those who can not adequately participate in the economy. Nevertheless, altering what Mark Twain said about democracy to free markets, “Free markets are the worst economic system on the face of the planet….except for all the others.”

That is my reason for siding with markets as the default choice.

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