Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves

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John E. Stapleford, Professor of Economic Development at Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, rightly states that ethics and economics are the ground-level topics of this book. The author also makes the valid point that both economics and ethics developed as branches of philosophy. He further observes that over the years, barriers between the two disciplines have developed with most economists avoiding any explicit mention of the ethical implications of the economic theories and concepts addressed in popular economic texts. Stapleford seeks to address this gap.

He assumes that economics and ethics are necessarily interconnected and that ethical principles influence the behavior of both consumers and producers, not to mention the design of public policies. This book is written “from the perspective of Christian ethics—Christian standards of behavior as found in Scripture.” The book is arranged in five sections: first, the framework of Christian ethics relevant to economics; second, Christian reflection on basic assumptions of market economics; and application of the Christian ethical framework to macroeconomic, microeconomic, and international economic issues in the final three sections. Stapleford recognizes that adding ethical considerations to the {133} already complex conceptual framework of market economics will add to the student’s workload, but asserts that it is a challenge that we are obligated to undertake.

At the outset of Chapter 1, the author states that God conducts a theocracy, not a democracy—there is moral truth, not a survey of public opinion to determine the nature of things. Here the author seems to misinterpret the meaning of democracy which is based not just on public opinion but on majority rule tempered by minority rights and the rule of law.

Stapleford recognizes that God gave humans free will and quotes biblical passages in Romans and Genesis to support this contention. But he also quotes passages which imply that...
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