Ken Ewert’s article Moral Criticisms of the Market (1989) explores the subject of religion and economics, and rebuts the leftist views of the “Christian Socialists” in regards to the free market system. He does a phenomenal job of breaking down the morality of the free market and examining the traits of selfishness, materialism, impersonalism and individualism, community relationships, economic power, and economic ability to please.
With regards to selfishness, Ewert made a great distinction that a self-directed action can happen in one of two ways: “through mutually beneficial economic exchanges, or through predatory political actions” (1989). This cuts to the core of selfishness in a free market. We have the ability to choose our actions, and selfishness is not a requirement for success. I slightly disagree, however, with his views on materialism. While advertisement does give customers important information about products, it can equally be misleading. A consumer may receive just as much misleading information from an advertisement as sound material. I do agree with Ewert’s (1989) assertion that materialism is a problem of all economic systems, as well as his views on impersonalism and individualism.
I worked as a waitress for quite a while, and formed many personal relationships with customers; my tips were better if I had a personal relationship with the customer. A free market definitely doesn’t always encourage impersonalism and individualism, nor does it discourage community relationships. Ewert’s (1989) stance on how economic intervention, not the free market, has actually disintegrated family bond is interesting, and a claim I am not sure I agree with, however I am not able to refute his statements on the subject. Ewert’s (1989) comments about economic power were thought-provoking, as I had never thought much into the subject. He made a great point in that an employee chooses to work for an employer because the benefits, even if seemingly small, outweigh the consequences, such as moving costs and loss of local friendships. The last subject Ewert (1989) touches on is economic ability to please. I agree with everything he says in this section, especially his comments about politicians and the “powerful oppressing the weak” (Ewert, 1989).
Overall, I think Ewert did a fantastic job refuting the claims that “Christian Socialists” make about the free market. His statements assume that people have the ability to delve down into the root of what causes our behaviors and thoughts. God has given us that ability, although sometimes it may be hard to put into practice.