Letter: Capitalism has become our national religion

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Jan. 2, 2018 7:14 a.m.

    About 25 years ago one in four in the world were in poverty. Today it is one in twenty. Why? The answer is capitalism. The 88 nation bottom feeders of the Index of Economic Freedom find these have the least economic freedom. So the answer to poverty is capitalism.
    As the lady in Africa said, "do gooders please go home." 300,000 of them drive around in Range Rovers trying to help countries, but they do it the wrong way. What they need is actuary offices, title offices, etc. to allow capitalism to procede.
    Obama put 22,000 regulations on our business so we had a sluggish economy and more on food stamps than ever. Now fewer on food stamps a significant reduction in black and Hispanic unemployment. Of course we need some regulations. We need to know what is in our food. We need to know a drug is safe before it is sold. But when bureaucrats run a country down we go.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 6:15 p.m.

    Uncommon sense — Capitalism (with New Deal safety net and regulations) have given us the greatest country in history. Why are we working so hard to saw the legs off the stool?
    “There is more opportunity here. More equality ...” These statements are demonstrably no longer true if you’re comparing to many other industrialized nations. Why won’t we learn from them?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 1, 2018 2:14 p.m.

    " it seems that many of you would be all too happy to elect Hugo Chavez as your next president. You seem to want the promise of not only equal opportunity but, equal results. That isn't possible. "

    Who is asking for that... good grief amigo. Your statement makes it sound like we "equal opportunity" is a done thing.... hardly.

    I get it. Society can't solve all the problems of unwed mothers who can barely care for themselves, less alone their kids. Society is also equally powerless to do much about absentee fathers. Where society steps in to give the children born into these circumstances is hard to gauge.

    Letting these kids fall through the cracks only cost us all later on through poverty and potentially crime. It in my book, it's immoral to not do all we can for these kids. They didn't choose these conditions. We solve all the problems... but we surely need to try.

    Having this as a goal is hardly a call for a socialist dictatorship. It's a call for Christian values to truly guide our society.

  • uncommonsense CENTERVILLE, UT
    Jan. 1, 2018 8:23 a.m.

    Good grief. From the comments here it seems that many of you would be all too happy to elect Hugo Chavez as your next president. You seem to want the promise of not only equal opportunity but, equal results. That isn't possible.
    There is no system that is without flaws. Capitalism has given us the greatest nation in the history of the world. Not the perfect nation, yet the greatest. There is more opportunity here. More equality (no matter your opinion) and more freedom.
    The socialism of small countries like Sweden, where they do not have the homogenous mix of cultures and peoples as we do, will not work here.
    Freedom works with capitalism and will continue to do so.

  • Emerger Magna, Salt Lake, UT
    Dec. 30, 2017 6:55 p.m.

    Lisa Aedo asks: "...can we call this a democracy?"

    I certainly hope not, because the Framers were very careful to avoid making this nation into a democracy. Instead, they formed a republic, with a constitution that protected the rights and freedoms of the minority of citizens from the legislative whims of the majority. The sad part is, our government has forgotten the principles of freedom upon which this once-great republic was founded, and today, we have become more like a democracy than a republic. Where free-market capitalism once produced the greatest prosperity the world had ever seen, we now have a government-controlled market economy, and corruption has filled the halls of government to our eventual demise. In short, capitalism is not the problem. A huge central government is the problem!

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2017 5:23 p.m.

    Mike,

    Speaking for myself, I work very hard, I take few vacations and I am far from a millionaire and I don't care if I ever become one not my goal in life, more concerned about my family and others who I can serve. I do ok and I earn every dime I make. I know many people who work very hard sometimes two and three jobs and are still poor. Not because of their work ethic, but because God didn't start them on third base, God didn't bless them with a great intellect or opportunities to maximize the intelligence they have. They were forced to help care for the family at a young age and have been doing their best to provide for parents and their family ever since. I know single mothers working 60 hrs a week to provide the bare necessities for their children. They are far from lazy.

    If we are truly Christian let's take care of those among us who need a hand up and quit justifying greed and selfishness because a small percentage of people abuse the system.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 30, 2017 9:42 a.m.

    Is God plural or singular.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Dec. 30, 2017 6:29 a.m.

    @ NoNames

    "Atheistic government mandates."

    Atheism is a position on a single proposition - that gods exist. So the mandate (if one existed, and it doesn't) would be singular, not plural, and it would pertain only to the subject of the proposition.

    "Secular Christianity." And, "It was secular (or even overtly religious) Christianity..."

    Nonreligious religion? Overtly religious religion?

    All of the above qualify as nonsense terms, IMO. But I get the message all the same: "Make American Christian Again." (Also known as "freedom of religion" in some quarters, without a hint of irony.)

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 29, 2017 10:03 p.m.

    "Ask any of the first generation millionaries in Utah how they became millionaires. Their answer will shock you. They will tell you they worked harder than others, that they reinvested every dime into their dreams, that they didn't go on vacations, that they didn't party or play - they worked."

    Mike, having personally worked for two of the richest people in the world, and in and around many others.... what you say here is complete fantasy. It is obvious you don't know many of these people you promote, or know much of their lifestyle.

    Even your patron mentor, Donald Trump, takes vacations. The man has gone golfing over 100 times just this year alone since taking office. Larry Ellison, born of a poor family, whom I worked for for 13 years, took elaborate vacations and spent lavishly on luxury items.

    The arrogant attitude that poor people are just that way because they are lazy is absolutely absurd. From your own post you claim yourself to have been a hard worker, but also claim to not be wealthy as well. I doubt you are neither lazy, nor hold successful people in contempt.

    People come from diverse conditions - judging them and their intent is dangerous ground.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 29, 2017 6:41 p.m.

    Those who believed the lies that Obama told; every family in America would receive $2,500 per year reduction in health insurance costs; some "rich guy" would pay for everything; might have a hard time understanding that we eat by the sweat of our brow, as God told Adam. Laying around while others work and then demanding an equal portion is something that you won't hear from America's producers.

    The whiners are quick to label anyone who worked hard all of their life to achieve whatever lifestyle they wanted, as excessively rich, are only telling us that they were not willing to make the same sacrifices, work the same hours, put their homes up as colateral, and go without while they paid the payroll taxes for their employees.

    Ask any of the first generation millionaries in Utah how they became millionaires. Their answer will shock you. They will tell you they worked harder than others, that they reinvested every dime into their dreams, that they didn't go on vacations, that they didn't party or play - they worked.

    In the gimme, gimme, gimme world we live in, working for what they want is the last thing some people are willing to do.

  • Husker2 Aspen, CO
    Dec. 29, 2017 4:41 p.m.

    @NoNames

    Superb post! I’m not LDS but I came to Utah by choice, and I love it here. Is it perfect? No. Are there concerns for the future? Yes. In the meantime, I embrace the culture here and love my awesome LDS neighbors.

    If I ever decide I need a different cultural experience, then I’ll move to a state that fits my needs. It’s a very simple concept.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 4:03 p.m.

    All the world enshrined in more socialism than we have, yet the peroetually unhappy want to force the USA that same direction. Part of what us a great nation was immigrants who came/come seeking the culture that is here.

    Why is it the same people who demand we respect diversity, have so little respect for diversity of culture.

    They want the USA to look like secular, socialized Western Europe. They want Utah to look like Vegas or NYC.

    They choose to live where their views are a minority and then complain endlessly that the culture is not to their liking.

    I don't get it. I figure a competent adult can choose to live most anywhere he wants. I've lived coast to coast, and traveled a bit overseas. It is a big beautiful nation and world, with somepleace most everyone ought to like.

    I chose to live in Utah because of its culture. I would not presume to tell New England or Cali to change to suit me. I visit and enjoy, then come home to live where the culture suits me.

    Why do socialists come to Utah and demand we change to be like other places?

    I hope they are happy being miserable because I see no reason Utah to change who we are and how we do things. Most of us like it.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Dec. 29, 2017 10:47 a.m.

    Utah taught me everything I know about money. Thank you.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 9:25 a.m.

    Just keep this in mind as you ponder your yearn for the days when your ancestors sacrificed what little they had for a better life. It is well documented that our social ills magnify and multiply when income inequality is at it’s greatest. Crime, suicides, drug use etc,etc,etc. because society strips people of hope. Hope begets producers and before anyone goes off on a selfish tangent the working poor do pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy and we are about to see that fact ramped up a notch.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Dec. 29, 2017 9:01 a.m.

    Capitalism is not religion. IMO, it is the opposite of religion.

    Yet it is the staunch right wing evangelical/fundamentalist element of the country that is most vociferous in not only defending capitalism but also taking capitalism to an extreme. When so many of the leaders of the fundamentalist/evangelical religious organizations become prime spokepersons for caffeinated capitalism, how does it not become more important to this element of society than the central messages of Christianity?

    Religion aside, the ancient Greeks had it right, and most of us know this to be true. Moderation in All Things. Unfettered capitalism brings on great discrepancies. And unfettered socialism brings great abuses. Most of Europe has the right mixture of both, with thriving industries and a social network that we ought be envious of.

    Why can't America look to others for better ways? And why do we follow the political siren songs of the extremist religious leaders who would harm us all so intensely?

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 8:42 a.m.

    @Lisa Aedo "When the country owes trillions in debt, are we actually free?"

    Democrats must be out of power, because now they are talking about debt. Great, let's talk about it. It is imperative that we do.

    Republicans, you have an opportunity here. Did you mean what you said about balancing the budget? I don't think so, but prove me wrong.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    Good advice which will not only be ignored but attacked.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    Rikitikitavi said: "Abuses of capitalism will be dealt with at a later date by a "higher power".

    Yeah sure, that's what religion used to tell the masses when they asked why being wicked was so rewarding. Why would God let the king or nobleman live so nicely when they were so sinful...thus the invention of "hell" or the "they'll get theirs later" speech, to calm the masses.

    It even worked on many, and apparently continues to.

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 7:44 a.m.

    Rikitikitavi--" Abuses of capitalism will be dealt with at a later date by a "higher power"." If we apply this same principle to other problems in our society we could do away with our entire system of laws, regulation and justice. Murder? Deal with it later. Robbery, rape, same story. Maybe robbery would have to be dealt with sooner because it involves interference with wealth accumulation. Unfettered capitalism has led to both social and economic abuses and disasters, some of quite recent memory. Just as we learned from the European Enlightenment which helped produce our Constitution, perhaps we could learn something from the mixed economies of Europe today. It might just be worth a look.

  • BobMac Mission Viejo, CA
    Dec. 29, 2017 7:25 a.m.

    Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations warned against a number of things where free markets need some constraints. An economy that leaves too many outside unable to participate is going to fail. Just as a government where too much power is in the hands of a oligarchy is going to fail.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 6:36 a.m.

    This is really a great letter as it highlights America's dilemma: Do we blindly pursue capitalism and free markets and accept their consequences (boom and bust cycles, businesses exploiting workers, the natural tendency of businesses to merge and consolidate to reduce competition to drive prices up to exploit customers, businesses influence in government to enact laws favorable to business interests/profits, etc.)?

    ... or do we harness capitalism to help pursue societal well-being?

    There's a great documentary series, "The Men Who Built America," that features the great entrepreneurs of America's Gilded Age of the industrial revolution -- the time when many of America's great social ills, poverty, depressions, labor oppression, etc. were caused by the exploitation of massive business trusts and monopolies (e.g., Standard Oil, Edison Electric, Morgan Bank, etc.), but government perceived that capitalism shouldn't be regulated or harnessed for social good -- until GOP Teddy Roosevelt became president.

    Good history lesson for our modern age as government favors big business over general citizens (e.g., new tax law; non-renewal of CHIP; undermining of ObamaCare).

  • patrioticAMERICAN South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 12:29 a.m.

    Yes I agree. America seems to have lost it's way, or at least it's leaders have. A couple months ago, I read an article by someone who was so concerned by all the strife in the country, that he decided to travel around the country & see how people were reacting. He found that most people are just trying to live their lives, earn an honest living, & be good neighbors.
    We see evidence of this in how people helped one another during the recent Las Vegas shooting, how so many offered help to those in Texas, Florida & Puerto Rico. Many celebrities donated money/participated in fundraisers, & many conservative groups have volunteered time/money. Even Tesla, a mutli-billion dollar company, went to P.R. to install it's batteries to help w/their electrical problems.
    Good people are out there. But so many seem to be caught up in an endless pursuit of money, thinking it leads to happiness. All this rampant speculating is bound to implode on itself, sooner rather than later.
    Greedy business leaders took over pre-WWII France, weakening the country so much, that it was easy-pickings for the Nazis. Hopefully we can wake up our own leaders to their folly before it's too late for America.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Dec. 29, 2017 12:02 a.m.

    @no names
    Very well stated. After all, "forced compassion" is clearly not real compassion. Nor is "forced charity" even remotely true charity. Gov't must be kept out of the business of wealth redistribution. Those ideas from the left are nothing more than attempts to grab power and take away our freedoms. Abuses of capitalism will be dealt with at a later date by a "higher power".

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 28, 2017 9:24 p.m.

    At the heart of capitalism is the phrase "caveat emptor" - or buyer beware. It is the principle that it is the buyers responsibility to make sure they are not being ripped off. It was only through the introduction of the UCC that buyers rights started to emerge. Before these laws, man's integrity did nothing to prevent businesses from doing things such as turning people into tradable commodities for profit.

    I believe in free markets, freedom of choice, and freedom of self direction. But pretending that companies in the past used to behave better is completely false - that they acted and were driven by Christian values more - totally not backed up. Slavery, child labor, the trade in things that were damaging to people, not respecting the sabbath, setting up of monopolies to extract unfair value, all happened in the past.

    Freedom of choice, freedom of markets, freedom of self direction - all good and right things. But placing personal gain over moral responsibility is not. And as we know, without laws, people often act in ways even they would not expect themselves to do. That is why we have laws. I wish Christian morals was enough, but history says otherwise.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 6:35 p.m.

    Capitalism with well thought out rules with a strong safety net is the best system to have.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 6:20 p.m.

    NoNamesAccepted said: "It was secular (or even overtly religious) Christianity that made the compelling arguments for Abolition, for women's suffrage, for Civil Rights, and for just working conditions. It is the 10 commandments that demand 1 day of rest in every 7, including for hired help."

    It was also Christianity, that justified slavery, women as chattle, mixed race marriages as illegal, and I must of missed that " including for hired help" part about a day of rest.

    Unions gave us weekends, and all the other good things in worker/owner laws, not the scriptures. The conservatives who follow their profit are trying to do away with those protections along with minimum wage.

    NoNamesAccepted said: "Sadly, as Christianity has been pushed from the public square by the lefty atheists, secular Christianity has lost much of its sway on business."

    Christianity hasn't been pushed from the public by atheists, the religious hypocrites have pushed away people because of their ability to quote scriptures, and then ignore them in politics.
    Lost it's sway? Conservatives want to grant personhood to immortal corporations, seems like they are trying to keep that power to me.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 5:39 p.m.

    Adam Smith promised a market utopia where everyone would be made better off by the market. We have learned this is not so. So are made worse off by the market.

    We achieved a compromise of sorts between socialism and capitalism with the New Deal reforms creating the so-called mixed economy. We were happy with that for a time.

    But now conservative interests, some of whom are very powerful monetarily, are determined to demolish the New Deal completely. This is a mistake for the majority of people and for American capitalism itself.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 5:20 p.m.

    The only thing worse than unbridled capitalism, is unbridled socialism, fascism, Marxism, or any other system where individual freedom is fully subjected to atheistic government mandates.

    I have long believed that capitalism is harsh and needs to be bridled by that unique sense of what we might call secular Christianity that has long pervaded this nation. Legally, men must be free to be greedy because forced compassion, forced charity are the end of freedom. But those legal rights need to be restrained by social scorn against those who are greedy, abuse their employees, and don't make efforts to be good members of their community.

    Sadly, as Christianity has been pushed from the public square by the lefty atheists, secular Christianity has lost much of its sway on business.

    It was secular (or even overtly religious) Christianity that made the compelling arguments for Abolition, for women's suffrage, for Civil Rights, and for just working conditions. It is the 10 commandments that demand 1 day of rest in every 7, including for hired help.

    It also preached against the personal behaviors (drunkenness, infidelity, etc) that lead to the most serious personal and social ills.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 4:46 p.m.

    In Jesus' time, as now, it was a common belief that great wealth was a sign of God's favor and poverty was God's punishment for sin.

    However, Jesus denied that wealth is a sign of God's favor or that poverty is God's punishment for sin. This is shown most clearly in His Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). At least part of the reason the rich man ended up in hell was because of his hard-heartedness toward the beggar Lazarus. His great wealth was obviously not a sign of God's favor. The beggar Lazarus ended up in heaven although he was about as impoverished as a man could be. His poverty was obviously not a sign of sinfulness or foolishness.

    Despite the Bible's many warnings against it, the idea that wealth is a sign of God's favor and that the poor have done something to deserve their condition persists as an conservative attitude today, that is used to justify a callous attitude toward those who are poor.

    See, drugs, permissive behavior, lazy, envious, entitled.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 4:31 p.m.

    Yes. And our conservative religious leaders (most whom support the GOP) have become capitalists- over their religions. "Jesus wept" was probably a prophesy of what he did seeing today's America.