Bible-based free market economics


The mainstream media present government economic policies as rational, respectable, etc. You're supposed to either agree or disagree with them based on some straightforward "dichotomy of identity" – eg you're a conservative or a liberal (or a capitalist or a socialist). And that's the end of the story.

An alternative narrative which the media largely ignores concerns the origins of supposedly respectable economics. A good example is the move towards "faith-based" welfare provision in the United States. Where did this idea come from?

Well, George W Bush is apparently very sympathetic to the ideas of a certain Marvin Olasky. Olasky has an economic theory called "Bible-based free market economics" in which God is a sort of cosmic Landlord and Investment Banker, and each person's responsibility is to maximise the return on the Owner's investment.

In this theory, a kind of strict laissez-faire market economics, which prohibits minimum wage and other workers' rights, has been endorsed by Lord God The Property Owner. Olasky argues that welfare rights are the result of a liberal effort to "uncouple welfare from shame". Without shame, he says, how will the poor be driven to work and God?

Perhaps people should know about the weird, wacky ideas underlying economic policies which may have dramatic effects on their lives? Perhaps it's an area worthy of media attention?