On Brian Griffiths, Mrs. Thatcher’s Christian Economic Advisor
ANALYZING THE MORAL DEFENSE OF FREE MARKET CAPITALISM — PART II
Brian Griffiths has been Dean of the City University Business School in London, a director of the Bank of England, and personal economic adviser to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In The Creation of Wealth, he addresses a mainline Protestant audience. He recognizes that many Christians have criticized free market capitalism, and attempts to show its superiority to other forms of economic organization on economic, theological, and moral grounds. Griffiths grants that free market capitalism is not without its problems, and that it does not stem directly from Christian principles. But he does argue that it is compatible with Scripture and Christian theology, and attempts to provide a rationale for a distinctively Christian capitalism.
Griffiths states that the central purpose of economic activity is wealth creation, which is due to resources and the efficiency with which they are used. Resources include the traditional ones of land/ natural resources, labor, and capital. But Griffiths argues that capital should be viewed in the broad sense, as the accumulated knowledge and talent of a society’s people and not just as machinery and physical equipment. To create wealth from resources, people have to work and plan. They must delay present consumption and immediate gratification in order to increase their human capital and future earning power. The possibility of future profit is the motivation for the suffering and work involved in the process; therefore, the profit motive is necessary for wealth creation.
Griffiths then gives his view of the history of wealth creation in the West over the past several centuries. He argues that the dramatic increase in prosperity since the Industrial Revolution is due more to the increasingly efficient use of resources than to the discovery of new resources themselves, that market economies have been more efficient in wealth creation than state planned economies, and that Protestant Christianity has made significant contributions to the rapid industrialization of the West in the past two centuries.
This historical analysis leads Griffiths to specify four important factors in wealth creation. The first is ownership. He argues that private ownership of property is an incentive to productivity because it provides motivation for hard work and the investment of resources.
Enjoyed reading this?
READ MORE! GET A FREE 7 DAY TRIALSUBSCRIBE TODAY
You May Also Enjoy
Review of Lehrbuch der Nationalöko-nomie/Teaching Guide to Economics by Heinrich Pesch
The financial crisis of recent months has been more severe than anything seen for decades.…
Free enterprise in its earlier stage was the unwitting and ungrateful beneficiary of generations of hardworking, God-fearing people.