Christian college professors Edd Noell and Stephen L. S. Smith, co-authors of our Values & Capitalism monograph “Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing,” recently answered a key question about why Christians should care about economic growth. For more Q&A with these authors, check out part one and part two of a series at the AEIdeas blog.
V&C: Why should Christians care about economic growth?
Noell and Smith: “Christians understand that the earth and its resources are God’s ‘good creation.’ Despite our fall into sin, we remain responsible to be God’s stewards over this creation. Our decisions about how to use our talents, time, and creativity—as expressed in innovations, investment, and technological advancements—are part of how we celebrate God’s goodness, and honor the creator God’s image within us.
Christians also recognize God’s special concern for those at the margins of society, including the economically destitute. Thus followers of Christ should consistently ask questions about the ends achieved by the honest pursuit of economic growth. Christians can endorse economic growth because in the long run it is most often a byproduct of human creativity realized through innovations which raise living standards, and because it almost always raises the real incomes of the poor.
At the same time, Christians recognize that the pursuit of wealth merely for its own sake—without faith, and without the desire to use wealth to serve God and all the appropriate ends of creation—is harmful. Regarding the environment and ecosystems, without engaging in simplistic worship of them Christians must treat them with care and prudential respect.”
Read an excerpt of “Economic Growth” and watch our promo video below: