Christian Ethics Project One
1. What is the difference between self-interest and selfishness? Why is this distinction important when considering the competitive market economy as appropriate for a society?
Self-interest and selfishness are two terms that are talked about in Stapleford’s book BULLS, BEARS, AND GOLDEN CALVES. Frist we must define these two terms to help us understand the difference between them. Self-interest is when someone is trying to protect their interest, but they also take into account how it may affect others. Selfishness is when one makes decisions based on self with no regard to others. Now that we have defined the two terms we can use this to consider the competitive market as it is appropriate for society. If someone is making decisions in a market economy ...view middle of the document...
2. Does your textbook present only positive economics and avoid any normative economics? If not, give some examples of normative issues covered in your textbook.
Positive economics is objective and fact based, and normative economics is subjective and value based. There is no way that our textbook can be just positive economics. It even states it in Roger Miller’s comment: “…the very choice of which topics to include in an introductory textbook involves normative economics. There is not a value-free, or objective, way to decide which topics to use in a textbook” This statement alone confirms the fact that only normative economics are present.
3. What did Adam Smith believes serves to curb self-interest in an economy?
Adam Smith believes competition serves as a curb on the excess of self-interest, which is also reinforced by the jurisprudence system. The market prices charged by a supplier of commodities and goods are constrained by his or her competition and the wages paid to laborers are bid up by competition amongst buyers.
4. What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God in a democratic capitalist economy? How can it be done?
Gods’ kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit and was made available to us through Christ’s incarnation death and resurrection. Jesus doesn’t ask us to set aside our self-interest but instead make good investments instead of poor ones. The market system becomes more productive when it is undergirded by moral values such as trust, honesty, obligation and cooperation. The book goes on to discuss ethics and moral consensus is key factors in generating economic value. Without moral consensus, transaction costs would be so high that market exchange and economic growth would be impossible.
Stapleford, J. E. (2002). Bulls, bears & golden calves: applying Christian ethics in economics. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.