After Capitalism: Rethinking Economic Relationships
By Paul Mills and Michael Schluter
The Old and New Testaments are full of economic thinking – often profound thinking that Christians today would benefit from re-learning.After the financial crisis of 2008, Mills and Schluter realised that Europe faces one of its greatest peacetime crises, in which capitalism is failing to provide adequate solutions to the needs of citizens all over the continent. This series of essays puts forward a theological framework that not only critiques conventional economic wisdom but also proposes pragmatic alternatives based on the premise that God, as a relational being, prioritises not economic growth but right relationships.
Starting with two essays that seek to diagnose the problems we are facing, moving on to a series of essays that propose radical new principles and goals for public life, as well as for the structure of the economy, the authors propose a way forward through, for example, strategies such as: embed relational values; strengthen household balance sheets; empower extended families; engage capital providers to exercise responsibility as well as take risk; and entrust welfare to local communities. Further essays dive in to specific problems: charging interest; limited liability; globalization; faith versus financial security; and ethical investment. In all cases, there is a clear and thoughtful theological underpinning for the ideas, principles and practices put forward, even if at times the reader is left wondering “How on earth will we ever get this implemented?”
This is not a book for light reading, but rather a book to provoke deep reflection on what is wrong with the world’s current economic systems and how might they be reformed in a way that makes sense of the Bible. That said, because it’s structured as a series of short essays this book is more digestible than it might seem at first.
Paul Mills has a Phd in economics, worked at Her Majesty’s Treasury and is now a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund. Michael Schluter has a Phd in agricultural economics, founded the Jubilee Centre and the Keep Sunday Special Campaign and then went on to establish two organisations researching the importance of relationships to modern society. They have produced a thought-provoking critique, analysis and proposals that are worthy of your investment.
(Every quarter our Faith and Work ministry recommends a book that will equip you with insights for your work-life.)