I have mentioned more than once that Christians need to get up to speed on certain economic principles in this era of Obummer. If we do not, then we will discover, as we have been discovering, that he can commit ten economic fallacies at trillion dollar levels while we are all standing around his first one, scratching our beards. And so here is one of those issues that promises to be a big player for the foreseeable future.
This is the very common rhetorical ploy that pits liberalism against the fat cats of big business, and represents conservatives as being in the back pocket of those big businesses. As positional slanders go, this one is right up there with the assertion that the Puritans were sexually repressed, and just as effective — which is to say, very. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a slander that will be able to go on forever. To paraphrase Mark Twain, a really effective lie can run around the world while the truth is still getting its shoes on.
Here is the reality. Big business likes regulation. Big business likes the state. Big business likes to aggrandize profits, influence, and congressmen. The reason that big business likes all these things is because it gives them access to the one thing that can effectively deal with the one pest of their existence, which is competition. Once they get fat enough to present opportunities to fresh competitors, they are also fat enough to buy congressmen, who will be their legislative hit men. A cozy relationship with the government gives them access to the coercive power of the state. So the state likes just one big business in any given area — makes it easier to keep track of. And that one big business like being kept track of, and likes the number of entities like itself being limited to a number as close to one as possible.
The interests of big business are therefore not the same as the interests of those who want to create and preserve free markets. In a regulated economy, each new failure (and there is always a new one coming along) is always treated as prima facie evidence for the absolute necessity of doing the next stupid thing. The proposed reform is almost always fixing the previous reform. In this last go round, government intervention (by both the Garble and the Teleprompter) was justified as a national security issue because these entities were “too big to fail.” Oh? And how did they get that big? How did they get all swoll up to the point where they were too big to fail? That’s right — they grew to that size in a regulated economy.
So the fallacy that we need to learn how to see through is the facile equation of enormous amounts of money with capitalism. You can have a lot of money concentrated in virtually any economic system. Even North Korea, as poor as a nation can get, can concentrate enough money to build a rocket. The presence of money does not equal capitalism, and the presence of lots of money does not equal fat cat capitalism. Mercantilism handles lots of cash. Fascism loves big business. Obama is chummy with all sorts of corporations that want to support his vision of government with a thyroid condition, and they in turn will expect his support when it comes to regulating all their little competitors right out of business.
Free markets (not those travesties currently called free markets) can only be built and defended by free men. And men can only be free if they are Christians. Scratch that. Men can only be free in this regard if they are Christians who think like Christians. Everything goes back to the gospel, and it always goes back to the gospel. But the gospel it goes back to is an expansive gospel, a gospel that gets out into the world and gets its hands dirty. Eventually this gospel will get into the economic assumptions of Christians, and it will teach them how to reject every form of coercion masquerading as compassion.