What brought on this post? I listened to “A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul”, Economics. Here is a brief description of the broadcast from the website.
What does God say about economics? Today, R.C. Sproul provides us with four basic principles.
In his presentation, Sproul provides a excellent explanation of what the Bible has to say about economics. His presentation includes two ideas I believe we all need to understand:
- What is the difference between equity and equality?
- Why is Socialism destructive of productivity?
To get his take, please listen to Sproul’s broadcast. In this post and in Part 2, I will provide some of my own thoughts. In this post we will consider the difference between equity and equality. In Part 2 we will consider why Socialism is destructive.
The Difference Between Equity and Equality
Equity is a more complicated concept than equality. Whereas economic equality requires that everyone have the same amount of wealth, economic equity involves a distribution of wealth that is fair and just. Unfortunately, some people want to change the dictionary. Hence, Wikipedia’s article on Equity (economics) begins like this.
Equity or economic equality is the concept or idea of fairness in economics, particularly in regard to taxation or welfare economics. More specifically, it may refer to equal life chances regardless of identity, to provide all citizens with a basic and equal minimum of income, goods, and services or to increase funds and commitment for redistribution. (continued here)
On the other hand, other Socialists borrow from Karl Marx.
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. (from here)
For example, some argue that the students who are furthest behind should receive the largest amount of government funding.
Here’s where equity comes in. The students who are furthest behind — most often low-income students and students of color — require more of those resources to catch up, succeed, and eventually, close the achievement gap. Giving students who come to school lagging academically (because of factors outside of a school’s control) the exact same resources as students in higher income schools alone will not close the achievement gap. But making sure that low-income students and students of color have access to exceptional teachers and that their schools have the funding to provide them with the kind of high-quality education they need to succeed will continue us on the path toward narrowing that gap. (from here)
Are the students who are furthest behind entitled to the most resources? Should the government tax us and redistribute our wealth based upon the needs of the needy? What is an equitable distribution of wealth? Who should “WE” appoint to decide and reallocate “OUR” wealth “equitably”? Doesn’t that depend upon how we define the words just and fair?
When a Socialist defines just and fair, what assumption does the Socialist begin with? Doesn’t the Socialist believe that “WE” jointly own everything? Therefore, when one of us tries to exercise our right to own private property, the Socialist calls exercising this right to own property privately selfish.
When the Capitalist defines just and fair, what assumption does the Capitalist begin with? Doesn’t the Capitalist believe that we each have the right to own private property? When one of us tries to exercise the right to own private property, what concerns the Capitalist?
- We each must acquire our property justly and fairly.
- We each must use our property justly and fairly.
Keep in mind that Socialists and Capitalists don’t necessarily have hugely different ideas about justice and fairness. The key difference lies in their approaches to ownership.
- The Socialist balks at private ownership. The Capitalist abhors the idea of Statism, putting the government in charge of everything.
- In the name of compassion, insisting that it is just and fair, the Socialist wants government to distribute wealth, making CERTAIN the disadvantaged get their share. Because Socialism does not work and because government ownership is unjust and unfair to those who produce wealth, the Capitalist insists that those who produce a nation’s wealth should retain control over it distribution.
Contemplate that old tale, The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop. Imagine the horror of the Socialist. The grasshopper was left out in the cold to starve. Imagine a different tale. As winter set in, at one anthill a committee of ants and grasshoppers resolved to save whatever grasshoppers they could save. The ants agreed to redistribute part of what they had gathered to the starving grasshoppers. Fortunately, there was just enough that winter for both the ants and the neighboring grasshoppers. The surviving grasshoppers joyfully spread the news to the next generation of grasshoppers. What happened? At the onset of the next winter untold hordes of grasshoppers arrived to beg at the door of the generous ants. Those ants saw the horde, shook with fright, and they left their door shut.
Who is right? What is the wisest solution? Is it Socialism, Capitalism, or something else? Sproul points to the wisdom contained in Bible. Please consider listening to his broadcast.
To Be Continued. The title of Part 2 will be: Socialism is Destructive Of Productivity.