Editor’s Note: The "V&V Q&A" is an e-publication from The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. This latest edition of “V&V Q&A” is an intriguing look at the biblical basis for the free-market economy, dispelling the popular notion among many “social justice” Christians that Scripture supports a socialistic, collectivist, redistributive economic system. Dr. Shawn Ritenour, economics professor at Grove City College, offers an insightful biblical defense of free markets. Ritenour has just released a compelling new book, “Foundations of Economics: A Christian View.” Here, Ritenour responds to questions from Dr. Paul Kengor, executive director of the Center. This topic will be discussed at length by several speakers at our coming April 15-16 conference on “The Progressives.”
Dr. Paul Kengor: Dr. Shawn Ritenour, before we get into more detailed questions, give us a synopsis of your book and your motivation for writing it.
Dr. Shawn Ritenour: “Foundations of Economics” is an introduction to economic principles, showing there is no conflict between Christian doctrine and sound economics. The book demonstrates that the foundation of economic laws are derived from a Christian understanding of nature and humanity; explains basic economic principles of the market economy and applies them to various economic problems; and shows that Christian ethics regarding property implies a free economy.
I wrote the book because I had not found any other book that satisfactorily integrated systematic economics rooted in human action with the Christian doctrines of man and creation as well as the Christian ethic of property. Professors at Christian colleges and universities are mostly left to supplement one of the standard works with articles from an explicitly Christian perspective. Many of these materials do not advocate biblical principles in the area of the state and economic policy but merely offer interventionism dressed-up in Christian language.
Kengor: That’s indeed a major problem, which is why I’m so excited about this book. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that the very foundation of economics, not to mention the American republic in some respects, is the right to private property. Do you agree? If so, is that Scriptural?
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."