“America, land of the free” sounds hollow today, and “Free enterprise” sounds hollow.
The misnamed “free” market actually enslaves most when it grants unlimited power to the already powerful—those with hundreds of millions to invest, not in job-making enterprises, but in more-money-making ventures for themselves alone.
Money is power. We see money power flaunted when Congress dismantles regulations on industry, when it grants tax privileges to the wealthy, when it fails in fairness. Unregulated, the market lets some people exploit others, acting out the truism, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We need reasonable regulation to limit power, rules to govern the game of buy and sell.
Undeniably, our society presently fails in this: massive inequalities; crumbling infrastructure; education and health services in trouble; underfunded police and fire departments; streets littered with homeless, many of them veterans and the mentally ill, some of them employed. All this and we bear the title of richest nation on earth!
In itself, wealth is good. When used for the common good, wealth is good. But every society needs rules that direct wealth properly, and that’s the job of government. Only thus can a society provide freedom and opportunity for everyone; only thus can it protect our common rights, our freedom, and our common property—our air, water, and soil.
From my study and teaching of U.S. History (in particular the Gilded Age Era), I agree 100% with your comments about the mal-distribution of wealth problem. We are surely back with a vengeance into the spirit and practices of the Gilded Age…new robber barons in our midst!Derek writes:
How strange that the populace as a whole does not seem to notice this. But then, again, Americans generally do not have a good grasp of history and too often see only what they want to see. Sad—
Thanks for sharing this. I’ve connected with a group of wealthy folks who are trying to raise awareness of income inequality. One of them is Nick Hanauer; you might be interested in his little book The True Patriot, , which argues for greater contributions to society from the most well offTo save our democracy, we must correct the imbalance of wealth in the U.S.
Biblical warnings about money have never been more relevant. Would that Christians paid attention.