How Basic Economics Lines up with the Bible

by Joshua Horn

I read Basic Economics in the spring of 2008. It is by Calence B. Carson, and it advocates a free market economy. For this report, we will examine whether this book speaks of Biblical things, or if it is contrary to the Bible. We will look at what it says about private property, morality, and the welfare system.

In this book, the author advocates private property. He says that there can not be common property, because in the end someone has to control the use of the property. The Bible speaks a lot about private property. For example,

“Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbor's.”
(Deuteronomy 5:21 KJV)

From this passage we see that property is not supposed to be shared by everyone, or your neighbor would not have an ox, it would be shared by you and him. In Basic Economics, the author shows what a disaster communism was in Russia during and around World War II. Communism says that everything should be held in common. Communism also rejected God and other spiritual things. When the Communists in Russia rejected God, and the things that He created, like private property, they should not have been surprised when they failed.
Another thing talked of in this book is how morality plays into economics. Carson says that morality is necessary, whether taught in church or elsewhere, because if everyone did what was best for them in the moment, without thought of whether it is good and right or not, it would be impossible to do business. People would constantly lie, cheat, and steal to get the best temporal result. The Bible says,

“Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
(Exodus 20:13-16)

Here God stopped people who obeyed his laws from destroying the economy by commanding them not to do what is right in their own eyes. One thing that the author of Basic Economics does not emphasize is that the only way to give people a real morality is to teach them about Christ and God and why they must obey Him as their creator.

Another thing that this book speaks of is the welfare system. In the end of the book, he goes through several different economics systems from history, and this is one of them. The basic idea of this system is to take from those who have goods, and give to those who do not have them. It is an economic system where the government controls the production of all goods, and also the distribution of them. Those who advocate this system say that everyone should get paid by the government, even if they can not provide for themselves. The Bible says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Proverbs 13:4) Carson says that the government should not give people money. It is not their job, but rather the person's family or the church should provide for them. The Bible says that if there is a widow who does not have a family, the church should support her. (I Timothy 5:3-16) The Bible tells us that the government should not have a welfare system.

Here I have shown a few examples of how this book does, and does not, line up with scripture. I have shown it in these situations: private property, morality and the welfare system. I think that in general Carson aligns pretty closely with the Bible, but he does not reference it explicitly. He just recommends what practically works the best, and because of the way God set it up, it works out right. I think that even though most of his ideas are biblical, it would have improved the book if he had put more scripture in it.

Buy this book from Basic Economics


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