by Jay Atkinson

Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production for gain. Inequality of income is the most conspicuous feature of capitalism. Capitalism alone is responsible for the fact that in the 20th century, a century of colossal growth of productive forces, scientific progress and increased knowledge, it did not put an end to the poverty of hundreds of millions of people and did not provide an abundance of material and spiritual values for all men on earth. The kingdom comes with a denunciation and shake up of the capitalist spirit. Jesus taught us:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth... But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The complex shift from craft to capitalist production stretched from the twelfth century to the Industrial Revolution and beyond. By 1560 the cleavage between capital and labor was firmly and widely established. Inflation widened the cleavage and wages lagged behind prices. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer. For wage workers the price meant economic regression and a serious fall in living standards throughout the world. Capitalist interests were bluntly supported by the most influential theologian of the age, John Calvin. Max Weber maintains that the capitalist spirit may virtually be regarded as the child of Calvinism. Puritan leaders believed that profitable undertakings were themselves God's work and gave the world a perfect recipe for capital accumulation by regarding frivolous spending as equivalent to sin. It is also maintained that without this attitude, Europe would never have acquired enough capital to launch the capitalist system.

The Calvinists, or the Reformed divinity, were less bound to precedent and adjusted itself rapidly to the new economy. With this protestant work ethic of practicing thrift, temperance, honesty, and consideration for others, they became a successful merchant class. As wealth accumulated and the system spread, Puritan restraints began to wane. Righteousness, however, degenerated into an excuse to get rich by exploiting those not of the same faith. They took advantage of the poor because they had not been granted God's favor of prosperity and squandered their income on worldy pleasures. The countries in which capitalism had made the greatest headway were prevailingly Protestant countries. As a world view, ruthlessness itself became a virtue when Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest gained popularity.

The modern history of capital dates from the creation in the sixteenth century of a world embracing commerce and a world embracing market. Early capitalism led to the formation of ascetic tendencies, nineteenth century capitalism led to the preponderance of the desire to save and hoard leading to the twentieth century capitalism of the desire to spend and over-indulge in an ever-increasing lust for possessions, debt and cheap labor.

The tougher and the more aggressive a man was in business, the more he reached the top by whatever means. As social values declined, imperialism by the "Christian" countries gained a divine mandate where exploitation of the world's resources was justified. Little thought was given to the realities of international order or a social gospel and assumptions were made that world-wide markets would run of their own accord. This new attitude toward economic matters manifested itself among businessmen and may be called the capitalist spirit.

Luther was opposed to the spirit of capitalism and attributed the rise of prices to the rapacity of the capitalists. The great scandal for Marx was that the capitalist system produced surplus goods, and yet the producers themselves, the workers, were unable to purchase them and reap what they had sown. Marxists denounced democracy but not as an ideology, but rather the vulgar and evil manipulation of democracy by the capitalist profiteer, vulgar because he shares the public's bad taste, evil because he perpetuates it.

Tracing today's capitalism to the church leaves an evil mark. The Reformation in its Calvinist version made religion a thing of this world and achieved the miracle of identifying blessings with the accumulation of riches. The shame of profiteering was wiped away and what was formerly lust for wealth became the fulfillment of God's purposes on earth. Capitalism gave birth to the luke-warm church. Since money was no longer loaned primarily to assist those who were in need but for profit, the Biblical, canonical and other restrictions upon usury and mammon worship were either circumvented or ignored. Even church offices and means of grace were frequently viewed in terms of financial returns. Sin piled upon avarice until deregulation and the anarchy of the market created an environment where greed became a virtue and religious way of life. Pretentious saints would pray for financial reward and giving became a means to expect a blessing in return. Hireling pastors preached prosperity from the pulpit to gain more money and faith became a seed for accumulation.

"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." II Timothy 3:5

This new industrial capitalism became an inhumane system where a few owners get rich from the work of poorly paid men and women and children would often slave sixteen hours a day amid frightful conditions. Not until the nineteenth century was there enough backlash in Europe to effect social reforms. That this barbaric type of capitalism still exists in many parts of the world is a great comfort and impetus to the communists. The proletarian situation is an inescapable consequence of the demonic structure of capitalism. Relations among capitalists are determined by competition, where exploitation remains as the foundation of capitalist progress. Large enterprises enjoy technical, financial, organizational, economic and political advantages over small enterprises. Under this situation, prices had always risen faster than wages unless automation replaced the wage earners themselves. The greater amount of capital being able to exploit a greater number of workers inevitably emerges victorious out of a contest. Thus, out of honest, democratic, progressive competition grew an irrevocably harmful, parasitic, reactionary monopoly.

It has been said many times before: the workers wear their chains willingly. The voluntary acceptance of capitalism is maintained within the productive process itself, which induces habits of submission and infuses an all-embracing consumer fetishism; no-one can any longer take for granted its capacity to shower us with an ever increasing supply of material goods. Man's activity and man himself have been reduced to units of production and consumption of things. The industrialized capitalist countries control Asia, Africa, and Latin America to their own profit. The diffusion of capital does not go from developed to developing countries, but rather from developing to developed, exploiting and impoverishing the third world more. Development is impossible.

As a condition of employment, workers turn their products over to capitalists who are free to sell them, wages only need to be high enough to maintain families and raise more children. As the twenty-first century goes on, society will more and more become the victim of commercial crises, depressions, deregulation, homelessness, economic sanctions and global intervention over economic interests until finally that last crises in which the people will realize too late.

The colonial and capitalistic countries will not assist another nation unless they can profit from it and it will be the means of their own destruction. Many poor countries are indebted to the rich countries and when they default - it will be a domino effect, plunging the north into economic crisis. Thus in capitalistic society we have a democracy that is delusional, wretched, false; a democracy for an elitist minority, doomed to fall with Babylon.

[Matthew, 54, 59, 68, 69, 70, 75, 77, 89, 95, 103, 150, 133, 152, 172, 175, 197, 206, 230, 232, 264, 267, 271, 176]

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