Bounding Markets With Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34.   “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15.   “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12.  “This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17

One of our readers wrote in response to Charity and Truth 2 that

Economics is a science but we sometimes forget that it is a special kind of science.  It is not a natural science (like astronomy, geology or botany). Economics is essentially a study of culture, not of nature.  This is an important point.  When economists study and talk about the market they are dealing with a human construct, not a natural force like the tides or eclipses. . . [T]he concept that economics deals with culture (not nature) means that to a large extent we can structure it to be what we want it to be, and if we want to change it for social or ethical reasons it is possible and proper to do so and we are not as some suggest) tampering with a natural force.” (read the full comment below posted following Charity and Truth 2).

Lord what would it look like if our markets were bounded by care and compassion for our neighbors?  Should those who profit by moving financial capital be required to reserve for the risks of dislocation and loss borne by those who provide the physical capital needed for actual production? Can we find ways of ensuring that a market’s failure to properly manage risk does not cause a loss of jobs and homes for those who have no control over the decisions made? Or ways to ensure that those who work and save do not see their life savings eliminated as businesses and banks are restructured?  Help us to find ways to fund training for new forms of work and opportunities to those who are in desperate need.  Free us from unquestioning acceptance of the myth that markets act wisely, and give us the courage to change.  Give those who profit both the humility to recognize that they build on the contributions of others and the grace to share the benefits they receive.  Help us to search for and find the structures that could help our markets better serve our  communities. Help us to care for one another O Lord.

Amen

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