Questions for Discussion
- Christians see the Bible as a manual for daily living. Does that include the kind of economic system we have? Should consultation of the Bible on this topic be done on a superficial level or should it be done thoroughly?
- What are your feelings toward capitalism? Socialism?
- Do you think that the selections of Scripture in this chapter are a fair representation of biblical teaching on the issues addressed?
- Is inequality a bad thing?
- Do we want the government to do what God has directed us to do in helping others? Or should we do it through our individual actions and through our churches?
- What is your attitude toward work? Do you agree with the apostle Paul that people who are unwilling to work should go without? Is the act of working beneficial or harmful to individuals?
- Do you believe that there is a connection between economic and political freedom?
- Do you see God’s hand in the cosmos? In the genome? If you said yes to both, is it plausible that there is to be order also in the economic sphere?
- What do you think about the questions: How do prices play an essential coordinating role in a market system? How does all available information get worked into a market system? How does this relate to the role of the Invisible Hand?
- Why is there inequality in a market-based system? Can such inequality be justified, or does it need to be addressed though government policy?
- What is meant by the “creative destruction” that takes place routinely in a market-based economy? Does it make us better or worse off?
- Are big businesses a threat? Are they all monopolies? Should they be treated differently than other businesses?
- Have your views on socialism changed from reading this chapter? If so, how have they changed?
- What, in practice, is equality in the distribution of income? Are socialist systems able to achieve such equality?
- Do you think that socialist systems can be as successful as market systems in spawning innovation?
- Does socialism impinge on personal freedom? Is this good or bad?
- What is meant by the statement that socialist systems short-circuit the role of the Invisible Hand? Is this good or bad?
- Do you think that it is reasonable to establish a socialist system that is free of corruption?
- What do communism and fascism have in common? How do they differ?
- Communism has characterized itself as a global movement while fascism has been intensely nationalistic. What accounts for these differences?
- Do you believe that communism and fascism are compatible with the teachings of the Bible? Why or why not?
- Why do you think that these systems have been highly brutal in the past? Is this inevitable?
- What is the role of the individual in such systems versus the role of the collective? How does this compare with America?
- For communism to be successful, does human nature need to change? Is this likely?
- Do you think that the welfare state is compatible with the teachings of the Bible?
- What is the best way to care for the poor in keeping with biblical commands? What government programs might be most effective in providing for the poor?
- Do you consider the Scandinavian nations to be good examples of socialism or the welfare state? Who owns property in those nations? Who decides what gets produced? What do those nations have in common with socialism? Capitalism?
- Is further expansion of the welfare state likely to impinge on personal freedom? If so, how?
- What are the pros and cons of a Universal Basic Income (UBI)? Is it in keeping with biblical teaching?
- What are the full costs of the welfare state, not just the government budgetary cost?