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A Biblical Economics Manifesto (Economics and the Christian Worldview) [Paperback]

By James P Gills (Author)
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Item Description...
This book will help to clear up the many misunderstandings of basic economics. With this book you can learn about the economy and how it actually works. The authors will show you how the best understanding of economics conforms with what the Bible teaches about economics.

Publishers Description
Combining biblical insights, scholarly research and common sense in this hard-hitting economic treatise, James P. Gills, M.D. and Ronald H. Nash, Ph.D., expose current systems threatening true liberty and prosperity. Anyone looking for a balanced review of current world economic systems and the long term consequences of popular trends will find this to be a clear, concise analysis.
In these confusing days of economic coercion for the sake of security, Gills and Nash present compelling conclusions that call for an informed Christian response to those who govern worldwide. Readers are shown the benefits and liabilities of life in a free-market capitalist, socialist or interventionist society.
The authors also evaluate the long-term effects of each system and help readers come to terms with how God intends people to live-with responsibility and gratitude. This timely study encourages readers to examine their own personal values in light of God's Word, and to accept the challenge of removing whatever prevents them and others from enjoying godly prosperity and freedom.
Concerned citizens cannot afford to miss this urgent message-America's future hangs in the balance "A solid mix of biblical wisdom and common sense." -Chuck Colson

Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.29"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 12, 2002
Publisher   Creation House
ISBN  0884198715  
EAN  9780884198710  

Availability  0 units.

Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General   [11417  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Reference > Ethics   [760  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Business   [431  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith   [4314  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Economics teachings are compatible with biblical teachings  May 7, 2008
This book describes some biblical foundations of economics. It clarifies to "confused" Christians that capitalism is not bad. Compassion for the poor, for example, in not only a concern for social justice, but also concern for material conditions as well. No other economic system is better at producing materials than capitalism. For this reason, Christians should thinking like economists.

The economic way of thinking recognizes the importance of incentives under conditions of scarcity. Scarcity compels us all to choose. Choices have value and cost, and a choice that carries is one for which its benefit outweighs its cost. Capitalism enhances benefits because it fosters "peaceful means of exchange," as opposed to socialism, which dictates "violent means of exchange". Observed failures of capitalism are not because capitalism exists; they are because "as long as the human beings taking part in market exchange are sinners, we should expect to find problems" (p. 25). Capitalism mitigates "the effects of human sin in society [by] dispersing and decentralizing power" (same page).

Since one of its key features is free markets, capitalism recognizes human weaknesses and the limits to human knowledge. Therefore, to the extent it permits peaceful means of exchange, capitalism "passes the biblical test" in accordance with Scripture.

Chapter 6 of the book outlines Christians' objections to capitalism, and puts up a credible moral defense. The seventh chapter deals with the Christian worldview of the economics of money. It extols the virtues and warns against the vices of material wealth. In the end whether wealth is a blessing or a curse depends on how wisely Christians use it to meet their obligations. Both chapters anchor securely in biblical references.

The last chapter of the book is somewhat out of depth, but its objective is discernible. The conclusion appears to be that the relationship between God and economics is not necessarily a negative one. Since the conclusion is not dogmatic, one gets the impression the book is well-balanced. It is clearly informed by Ludwig von Mises teachings, although I am not an expert here. Over all, the book is a stronger argument for capitalism, alternatively an argument against socialism and government "interventionism", than it is about economics. It is still a highly recommended reading.

Amavilah, Author
Modeling Determinants of Income in Embedded Economies
ISBN: 1600210465
A Great Primer  Jul 27, 2007
This book is a basic introduction to the various philosophies of economics. I found the book to be very interesting and read it through in one evening. It's an outstanding tool for those, like me, who have never had much interest in economic theory. It assumes that you are, like the average American, ignorant of the basic systems and definitions. The authors explain the concepts clearly and concisely.

The most important fact for me was the insistence of the authors in several places in the book that the American system of economics is NOT capitalism. Although most people think it is, our economic philosophy is actually a system of Interventionism. Interventionism is a system that is based on capitalism, but then the state is allowed (and even asked) to manipulate the playing field for the benefit of some and the detriment of many others. It is interventionism, and not capitalism, which makes sure the elite keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. In a truly capitalist society, the playing field is level and there is NO coercion or violence in regard to economical exchange. Interventionism always leads to socialism.

This understanding of the American economic system helped me immensely. It is not capitalism that I have had trouble with, but interventionism! True capitalism cannot be coercive or violent, and if approached biblically and with wisdom will lead to prosperity.

This book has also enticed me to attempt to tackle other, more "meaty", books on economics - especially in the biblical tradition.

My only complaint is that while the book rightly confronts left-wing evangelical thought that favors socialistic intervention to redistribute wealth, it completely misses the equally destructive expansion of neofascist intervention and big government statism on the right. This could be (hopefully) because it was written before the effects of the Bush administration were clearly seen.
Good for What It's Designed to Be  Jan 4, 2007
"A Biblical Economics Manifesto" is designed to be a primer for those who have never seriously studied economics or what the Bible says about it. Nash and Gills systematically present basic economic concepts, and then address what the Bible says (and really doesn't say) about capitalism, interventionism and socialism. They also try to clarify misconceptions that some Christians have about wealth and money in general.

At only 90+ pages, Nash and Gills' treatment of economics, in general, and the type of system the Bible supports, in particular, is extremely basic - hitting only the general concepts without going into much detail. I would have preferred a much more detailed, scholarly argument which supports their thesis and refutes those of liberal, socialistic Christians more thoroughly.

But the authors' main point does come through that only capitalism is embraced by proper biblical exegesis as the best, most efficient and most humane economic system for God's greatest creation (Mankind) to utilize in the furtherance of His will. As the book says, "To quote [Arthur] Shenfield, among all the economic options, only capitalism `operates on the basis of respect for free, independent, responsible persons. All other systems in varying degrees treat men as less than this. Socialist systems above all treat men as pawns to be moved about by the authorities, or as children to be given what the rulers decide is good for them, or as serfs or slaves.'"

It is this respect that capitalism affords human beings as free, independent and responsible individuals which allows them to reach their fullest potential as the image-bearers of God.
Economics: yes; biblical: no  Jul 24, 2006
On the face of it, this book provides a simple yet compelling case for the superiority of capitalism over socialism. Because humans are imperfect, socialism is bound to fail, and this has proven true in practice over and over again.

There's just one problem: this purports to be a book on biblical economics. Sadly, the Bible is very little in evidence in this small book. The sum total of biblical proof for the authors' thesis comes from the story of the Israelites request for a king and the story of Abraham's purchase of a gravesite for his wife Sarah. The former has very little to do with economics, but rather a comparison of monarchy with theocracy (or, more generally, the perils of government intervention). The latter, while supporting the point, is a far cry from a theological justification for capitalism. The remaining biblical passages quoted in the book are brought up in an attempt to undermine biblical arguments for socialism (more about that later) and to encourage personal responsibility with regard to money.

I am not an economist (neither are the authors, incidentally) so I am not prepared to propose an alternative biblical economics manifesto. The Bible says very little about economic systems, particularly as related to government intervention. Rather, the Bible speaks to individuals and how they should govern their personal economic dealings: caring for widows and orphans, not charging interest, using fair weights and measures, not accumulating wealth, etc.

One notable exception is the Old Testament mandate for a year of Jubilee, in which, every 50 years, land that was sold to settle a debt returned to its original owners. This passage has been used to provide biblical support for socialism and the authors go to some lengths to refute this claim. Their refutation, however, only nibbles at the edges, and resorts to implying that God might not have meant for this law to be enforced. While it may be stretching things to use this law as support for socialism, it seems to me that this law does say something about God's intentions regarding economic justice.

This book also attempts to refute some of the purported disadvantages of capitalism. The authors effectively deal with issues like greed and selfishness, noting that capitalism is based on mutual self-interest, which typically keeps such things in check. However, they miss several important points: (1) mutual self-interest rarely protects the environment; there is little short-term incentive for business to care for the environment, and little leverage for customers to force them to do so. (2) Mutual self-interest requires that consumers have choices. The authors insist that monopolies are the result of government intervention, which may explain some cases, but ignores cases like Microsoft, effectively a monopoly, and the consequences of such a monopoly. (3) Mutual self-interest requires that consumers be well-informed and protected from fraud. The authors gloss quickly over this point as if it is just an annoyance which is easily dealt with. In fact, 100 years ago this was a significant problem in the US and is still a problem in many developing countries. Socialism may not be the answer, but finding the right balance of government intervention is not as easy as the authors imply.

Finally, an interesting irony: one of the authors (Dr. Gills) has likely benefited from one of the biggest artificial economies in the world: government-subsidized health care. His specialty, cataract extraction, is almost exclusively focused on senior citizens on Medicare. Cataract surgery is a notoriously overused procedure, since it is easy to perform, relatively safe, well-compensated, and involves little economic disincentive for the patient. Dr. Gills should contemplate how his life would be different if patients waited until they really needed the surgery and could afford it before getting it, i.e., if it was truly market driven.
Worth the price  Aug 19, 2003
I like the approach of the authors. The text introduces economic concepts without loading you down on vocabulary. It also confronts liberal or left-leaning evangical thought that favors socialist intervention to redistribute wealth.

If you are working on buildings a biblical worldview, this book is a great way to start learning about economics.

... I highly recommend this to supplement your reading.


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