The original ideas behind capitalism were good: to prevent monopolies of goods and power, and to safeguard institutional order, but what it has created over time, is an idea of individualism, self indulgence, narcissism and social havoc (Slatter, 2014). In fact, according to Premawardhana, “our contemporary economic assumptions “affirm greed as normative, the capitalist economic system functions on the assumptions of scarcity and unlimited need. These create systems of distribution so unequal as to guarantee various injustices, including poverty” (2011, p. 232).
Capitalism has perpetuated that which it had initially been designed to avoid. People are encouraged to “climb the corporate ladder,” to be successful, to reach the corner office with the view at all costs, to earn that first million by age thirty. A bit of success or wealth or power motivates an individual to keep pushing ahead to the next step and the next and the next. This idea has permeated society, and unfortunately it came at a cost. Greed has been elevated to the status of a virtue – the idea that is okay because it is a necessity in a world of opportunity (Slatter, 2014). Cavanaugh states it the best, “this attitude, which at one time would have been clearly seen as a personal fault, has now been canonized as part of the essential repertoire for the effective businessperson” (as cited by Slatter, 2014, p. 497).
Over time, greed is easily overlooked, or more dramatically expressed, lost in this inevitable cycle once an individual takes part. First, it ...
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...so doing, the giver gives out of love, and ultimately yields a sense of freedom, lightness and joy (DeYoung, 2009).
A quick look at Scripture supports the idea that avarice has been around a very long time, in fact, since the Fall, when Adam and Eve were tempted and wanted more of a good thing. Avarice ranks high in the human sinfulness arena; some might argue that it is the root of all evil, trumping pride. An in-depth look at Scripture pointed out numerous texts that talked about greed. A number of scenarios were then highlighted where greed is common in today’s culture. Next, capitalism was scrutinized to see if in today’s society avarice, or greed, is accepted, encouraged, or overlooked. Finally, a practical look at ways in which the virtue of charity, the heart of the Christian faith, could be utilized to release the stronghold of avarice was discussed.
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