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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Greed or improvement?

Several months ago before the financial meltdown, I was thinking about what drives our economy. Many people believe that it is greed. While human greed is a factor, (and has been a huge factor in the crisis we are currently in), I believe that capitalism is better described as being driven by the desire for improvement.

We all desire to improve our lives - to live in more comfort and convenience. We want to be able to do things that we could not do before. My desire for a computer with more memory, for example, isn't greed, but a desire for a better tool.

Doctors try to improve medical techniques so that the quality of their medical care will improve. Engineers look for better materials and ways of building and designing so that their products will be safer, more efficient or be done in new and interesting ways.

These are only a few examples. There is a financial reward for all of these efforts, as well. Or at least there is the hope for that reward. When the financial reward is realized, the lives of those who have earned the reward is improved.

There is a fine line between the desire for improvement and greed and I'm not sure where it is. It may well depend on the individual and how God has directed that person.

The desire for improvement is part of our creativity as human beings, part of our being made in the image of God. From this, can we conclude that a form of capitalism is more in tune with our being made in the image of God than other economic systems?

I await your comments.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Pegler,
    I agree with your assessment here. However, I would add that greed cannot drive capitalism. The reason one business gets wealthy over another is because that busness meets the needs of the most people the best. In other words, though we can't separate our own motives, and though greed and service overlap in economics, it is service that drives capitalism. No matter how greedy a man may be, he will get nothing from capitalism if he doesn't meet other peoples' needs.