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An Introduction To Christian Economics




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Is there such a thing as a distinctively Christian economics? Yes. Are there explicitly Christian economic teachings that no secular economist has written about? So far, probably not. The uniqueness of Christian economics is that the Christian economist has specific, concrete biblical revelation concerning the limits of economic theory and practice. A secular economist may see the relationship between monetary inflation and fraud, but he does not stand with the authority of the Bible behind him, and he is, in the mid-twentieth century, utterly unable to convince ninety-nine percent of his academic colleagues (and no minister of finance) of the validity of his critique. Thus, the monetary theories of a Mises or a Rothbard lie unused in academic circles. The proponents of the economics of the full gold-coin standard are unaware that their theory rests on certain God-given external conditions. They simply accept these limitations of nature as "given," and they do not bother to inquire as to the source of them. Such investigations, every secular economist would tell us, are not relevant, are not scientific, cannot be demonstrated by ethically neutral, rationalistic presuppositions. Of course, if we are to judge by the state of the economics profession, nothing can be demonstrated in this fashion, because none of them agrees with all the rest on any issue. But God, a priori, is irrelevant to economic reasoning, even among the a posteriorists.

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The crisis of the international monetary system which presently confronts us is simply the product of a far deeper intellectual and moral crisis. Basically, it arose because of the policies of virtually every government of the industrial world, both Iron Curtain (Marxist-revisionist) and Europe-America-Japan (Keynesian). The commitment to domestic inflation in nation after nation has produced the collapse of international monetary arrangements and points to some future economic catastrophe on a global scale.
Modern economics, however sophisticated and complex, is the creation of post-Kantian thought. By asserting the total autonomy of the human mind from all categories of biblical revelation, economists have fallen prey to the inevitable antinomies basic to all post-Kantian modern thought-law vs. freedom, structure vs. change, unity vs. plurality, and apriorism vs. aposteriorism. By refusing to accept the idea that the Bible warns men against overstepping their intellectual limits as creatures, economists have created numerous theoretical universes, frequently self-contradictory and always in opposition to some other "purely rational" system, that have drifted increasingly from biblical presuppositions. The result has been intellectual fragmentation and drift, both in theory and in economic practice.
An Introduction to Christian Economics is an attempt to set forth the biblical presuppositions in several areas of economics, but primarily in the field of monetary theory. Some of the implications are then explored, though hardly in an exhaustive fashion. The book is intended to supplement the more rigorous secular economic textbooks that, for all their rigor, are virtually worthless in the area of espitemology, and nearly so in the area of monetary theory. It should be read in conjunction with the author's discussion of modern economic epistemology in Foundations of Christian Scholarship.