The departure from true capitalism took place a long time ago. The effects of that departure were not as blatant then as they are now. It would be hard to consider Rockefeller hiring a sodomite consulting firm to help him through the “image crisis” he faced with Standard Oil in Texas.
However, the root of the problems experienced in today’s post Christian culture were found in the culture and the lives of the men of this time. The root grew and was feed several different ways; economically, through paper currency; philosophically, by an apostate church; and socially, by men without chests; that is to say men who chose money over morals, men who had neither the desire or ability to stand for what was right.
Some have argued that the differences were epitomized between the north and the south in the war between the states and that in fact the last vestiges of true capitalism disappeared with the defeat of the south and the capitulation of her sons to the ideas of industrial capitalism.
Regardless of the cause or the advancement of this philosophy, industrial capitalism has shaped our nation and made it what it is today. In an attempt to show the fruit of true capitalism as a contrast we will not look so much at the idea of philanthropy because it is not known for giving away great sums of money. Although the idea of helping those in need is so much a part of life that it is not something tracked or a social indicator at all. It is simply a way of life, found when people have strong families and live in community with one another. So if so called philanthropy is a hallmark of industrial capitalism, then families and communities would be the hallmark of true capitalism.
Here is a great introduction to the concept of true capitalism from; The United States Since 1865, Fourth Edition Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc 1949. This is the opening of Chapter 9 The New Agriculture:
In many regions, the American farming community before the Civil War – like all those from the beginning of time-had been a complete microcosm in itself. Food, wearing apparel, all the essentials for its self-perpetuation, the agricultural community had produced itself or by the simple agency of barter had obtained at first hand. The local blacksmith shod the horses and made the nails, the local tanner cured the leather for footgear and harnesses, the local butcher slaughtered the animals for the farmer’s table. Lumber was obtained from the wood lot, vegetables were grown in the kitchen garden, bread for the table came from the wheat field, the corn needed for the fattening of the barn animals was homegrown, wool from the backs of the sheep made the homespun articles of clothing, butter was churned in the home dairy. The simple primitive tools-the plow, the sickle, the cradle, and the flail-were heritages from a past whose origins were so remote that changing their forms would have necessitated as complete a revolution in attitude as brought on, let us say, the protestant Reformation.
This author has marked the Civil War as the death of true capitalism which he describes very well. The other fact pointed out which is often disputed today is that our nation was distinctly rural until the rise of industrial capitalism.
Again to turn to Sobel:
“The presence of such merchants and small manufacturers should not lead one to believe there was a thriving urban life in the Colonies. [American Colonies prior to the War for Independence] There was no census in this period. The first such counting took place in 1790, at which time there were 3.9 million Americans, 3.7 million of whom lived in areas considered rural, which is to say they were farmers. Of the 202,000 who lived in “urban” areas, only 62,000 were in places with a population of between 25,000 and 50,000. A majority of Americans would live on farms in the nineteenth century as well. As late as 1900, there were three rural Americans for every two urban dwellers. The America that would emerge from the Revolution was populated by farmers, those who fabricated goods from farm products, and others who carried them to markets or created the means to do so. Such was America in its rural age.”
“The Pursuit of Wealth, The Incredible Story of Money Throughout the Ages” – Robert Sobel McGraw-Hill 1999
By now your probably saying, “That sounds a lot like agrarianism?” and you’d be on the right track if you did. But capitalism is really more than living off the land. Although the fruit of true capitalism is that people own their land. They work the land, and the land provides for their needs. They may not be professional farmers, but at very least they are freeholders. They are self sufficient and for the basics of life, that is survival in the rough times, they depend on no one outside their own family farm and possibly a couple close friends or neighbors in the larger community. Imagine what this kind of dependence does to the relationships in these rural areas.
I’ll give just one more glimpse into the time period of the early 1800s as an example of what true capitalism looked like in retrospect. This one from one of my all time favorite pieces, John G. Paton Missionary to the New Hebrides – First Part, Hodder And Stroughton 1890.
As a point of interest, John G Paton was born in 1824 in south Scotland 10 years or so before the triumvirate of Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Morgan. He was a contemporary who chose a very different path, he gave his life in service to the people on the islands of New Hebrides as a missionary. ( A tribute to God’s hand upon his work and one could say his Biblical philanthropy (although it was not administered in money) is the fact that to this day according to the CIA’s web site the islands are still 80% Christian in their religion. When Paton first visited the island of Tanna in the mid 1800s they were 100% cannibals. – A must read, if you haven’t seen it.) In the opening of his life story he gives us a glimpse of the world he grew up in and the changes that occurred in the move towards industrialization. Chapter 1 Page 5:
At that time, about 1830, Torthorwald was a busy and thriving village, and comparatively populous, with its cottars and crofters, large farmers and small farmers, weavers and shoemakers, cloggers and coopers, blacksmiths and tailors….
….The Villagers of my early days – the agricultural servants, or occasional labourers, the tradesmen, the small farmers – were, generally speaking, a very industrious and thoroughly independent race of people. Hard workers they had to be, else they would starve; yet they were keen debaters on all affairs both in Church and State…
… (Page 9) There amid this wholesome and breezy village life, our dear parents found their home for the long period of forty years….making in all a family of five sons and six daughters.
Our home consisted of a “but” and a “ben” and a “mid room”, or chamber, called the “closet”. The one end was my mother’s domain, and served all the purposes of dining-room and kitchen and parlour, besides containing two large wooden erections, called by our Scotch peasantry “box-beds”; not holes in the wall, as in cities, but grand, big airy beds, adorned with many-coloured counterpanes and hung with natty curtains, showing the skill of the mistress of the house. The other end was my father’s workshop, filled with five or six “stocking frames”, whirring with the constant action of five or six pairs of busy hands and feet, and producing right genuine hosiery for the merchants at Hawick and Dumfries.
The “closet” was a very small apartment betwixt the other two, having room only for a bed, a little table, and a chair, with a diminutive window shedding diminutive light on the scene. This was the Sanctuary of that cottage home. Thither daily, and oftentimes a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and “shut to the door”; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct (for the thing was too sacred to be talked about) that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place. We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice pleading as if for life, and we learned to slip out and in past that door on tiptoe, not to disturb the holy colloquy. The outside world might not know, but we knew, whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face: it was the reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived. Never, in temple or cathedral, on mountain or in glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord God is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatch and oaken wattles.
Here in these few paragraphs we capture what epitomizes the idea of true capitalism in three parts. First, the town was small, and secondly a busy and industrious place. It was a place where the people worked hard and crafted goods to meet the needs of their neighbors with excellence.
Secondly, the family was a place of Biblical order, with biblically defined roles for both men and women. Make a special note here of the shallowness of the modern cry of the feminist against a woman’s place being in the home. In true capitalism we have both mother, father, and all the children in the home, working together. The home is a place of industry. It might be noted that without each person fulfilling their own duties the family would not survive, economically or physically.
Lastly, point 3, the father led his family. He was not a figure head, but in fact actively came before God with the needs of his family and led each one of them into their own walk with God and directed them in their walk in life. This is more attested to in previous posts about this book, but is also seen in these quotes above. Read here for more info on the Paton family relations.
If one contrasts the life of James Paton with that of Sam Walton we can see the fruit of the work they were involved in. If we left the individual analysis out of this and strictly compared their lives based on the time they lived and the work they were involved in we might also see a glimpse of a comparison between the two philosophies being discussed. (Fully understanding we can never actually remove the individual aspect. But in an attempt to be kind and give Sam Walton the benefit of the doubt. Pretend he was just as good of a Christian man as James Paton)
The fruit of John G Paton’s life has been mentioned and his siblings were very remarkable as well, but what of the children of Sam Walton. With all the wealth ever needed, literally more money then the GDP of 90%+ of the nations in the world what have they accomplished for the good of society? Do they even serve the God of their father? Has anyone heard of anything that they have done with this fortune that would honor God or serve their fellow man?
There is no desire to be unkind here, just simply an honest comparison of what these variations of capitalism produce. The fruit in the families is only one comparison. The economy these ideas create and prosper in, or the effect they have on the larger society have yet to be considered. This will be forthcoming, by God’s grace.
But as a summary, the fruit of industrial capitalism is:
- A work place that removes father and mother from the home
- A government funded education system that socialises the children to be good producers for the industries
- An androgynous society where neither men nor women have specific roles to play or a purpose to fill – Each are interchangeable
- Marriage is not valued or needed, divorce rates sore, abortion, child abuse and neglect rise
- Money is the solution for all things and the measuring stick by which all things are judged
- Reckless giving of great sums of money
- Great amount of debt and voluntary enslavement
In contrast the fruit of true capitalism:
- Properly ordered home and society
- Divorce rates are low and the family is respected and revered
- The home is the place of industry and education
- Biblical order is the judge of success not money
- A close community provides for the crisis needs of a family and brings accountability
- Land ownership and freedom are the norm
Imagine what our modern lives might look like, if we owed no money, lived and worked with the ones we love, and enjoyed the friendship of others who shared our beliefs. That in a nutshell is true capitalism. Next how does this effect the economy, both locally and nationally.