Part 5 of my interview with Alex Doherty of New Left Project. I will post the whole interview at the end of the series.
What is wrong with capitalism from a Christian standpoint?
Theoretically, a Christian could support many types of government, but the core insights of the religion are basically socialist and even, I think, anarchist. Jesus began his ministry by saying “I’ve come to preach good news to the poor, and to announce the acceptable year of God.” That statement would have been understood as announcing the year of Jubilee, which meant a release of prisoners and a redistribution of the wealth. To pretend Jesus wasn’t political doesn’t make any sense. The Romans wouldn’t have killed him for being a religious leader. Crucifixion was primarily reserved for insurrectionists. The fact that the Romans put “King of the Jews” on his cross was not a religious taunt. It was a threat to any movement of liberation among the people.
Of course, the ancient world didn’t have the word “capitalism” in the modern sense, but they had a word for making money off of interest owed you by your neighbor. It was called “usury” and it was considered a sin. It is a mistake to reduce any religion down to a political position. And it is also wrong to force any religious sectarian viewpoint into the public sphere. But, I would say any Christian who leaves the fate of the poor to market forces has renounced Christ in every meaningful sense.