Lite blogging of late because, well, I’m writing a book.  I think we need to establish some sort of “book-writing” exemption from the daily blogging grind.

I’ve been negligent in mentiong to my Chicago area readers (and I know you’re out there) that Jim Wallis will be debating Arthur Brooks this Thursday on the question of whether capitalism has a soul.  It promises to be a lively time.  So lively, in fact, that I plan on making the drive to see it in person.  If you’re planning on attending, drop me an email and we’ll meet up.

More normal blogging starting sometime in the next two weeks, after I get a first draft tidied up.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. Sounds like a blast. I was hoping to make the trip, but I think the craziness of my day job will prevent it. I hope you’ll post some of your reaction to the event.


  2. Christopher Benson October 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Please excuse the cynicism, especially about a debate hosted at my alma mater, but the resolution (formulated as a question rather than a statement) is laughable. First, we know that no economic system possesses a soul, as if the system is an ontological entity. Second, capitalism, like socialism, is neutral insofar as it can be used for good or for bad depending on the users and their purposes. Both capitalism and socialism are capable of promoting the common good, the major difference being the agency: the former does it through markets and the latter does it through government. A better question (or resolution) is needed for debate. One final gripe: Jim Wallis? Gimme a break! Who would incline their ear to hear him on this topic? Wheaton should have chosen a Christian intellectual like Eugene McCarraher, who is the author of the forthcoming The Enchantments of Mammon: Corporate Capitalism and the American Moral Imagination.


  3. Christopher,

    As I had no hand in the framing of the topic, I can’t say definitively what the promoters were thinking. But I suspect something more along the lines of “Royal Rumble 3” rather than an academic symposium.: )

    That said, I’m not sure what I think about capitalism and socialism being “neutral.” That seems to treat them as “technologies,” which I’m not quite sure about. I’ll have to think through that some more. I’d be curious hearing why we should treat them as neutral, especially when they seem to have different anthropologies at work in them.


    1. “Royal Rumble 3,” eh? That’s funny… except I haven’t seen the prequels. ;-) Calling capitalism and socialism “neutral” was an overstatement in response to the proposal that an economic and political system might possess a soul. I would be mistaken (1) to compare socialism or capitalism to technology, as if it’s merely a tool that can be used or abused, and (2) to moralize socialism or capitalism, as if it’s inherently good or evil. To evaluate these economic and political systems, I would need to ask the anthropological question, as you suggested, and the teleological question. I can envision arguments where both capitalism and socialism are for the two-fold purpose of promoting justice and restraining evil, resting on a view of the human being as prone to evil, cowardice, and laziness.


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