Jesus Take the Wheel of Economy: A Call for Socio-Democratic Reform to Swerve from Anarcho-Capitalism

The separation of Christianity really had a big impact on the economy and development, starting from Orthodox Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Mormonism, and other intersections. However, Christians as the majority of global citizens, especially Protestants, are often beaten with their political branding which is identical to Anarcho-Capitalist. Society is increasingly evolving, but are these Christians really applying the dogma and values ​​of Jesus Christ, especially in his first coming to the world through the political economy teachings of The New Testament? And are these teachings in principle precisely more resonant with social democracy?

 Quoting from the website International Political Economy in Everyday Life on Eviction by Berglund, in the global economy, financial products based on mortgages directly caused the financial crash in 2007-2008. It left millions of households homeless and in debt, plus the subprime mortgage crisis whose selling targets were tending to be racist, sexist, and of course classist. Therefore, if you think about it, private property ownership which is propagated in the teachings of Protestantism which tends towards the realm of anarcho-capitalism definitely gives rise to economic injustice. Although there is no definite number of Christian-Anarcho-Capitalists in the world, we can still argue that these people are still against the government because of the bible story. The Old Testament’s cautionary tales, such as “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25), warn against a society without central authority. However, the modern economic system is far different from the era of ‘Judges chosen by God’, so it is not compatible for this ideology to be maintained.

Expanding from the mortgage crisis, we can once again realize the political ideology of anarcho-capitalism that this economic system often leads to exploitation of labor in the name of economic freedom, even though not everyone is born with the same privileges. Consciously we can see how rigid this ideology and dogmatic thinking about Christian values ​​are not truly embedded in this anarcho-capitalism. As Salter in (2012) noted, “it takes a theory to beat a theory,” where in his research he explains that it makes more sense to prioritize individualism in anarcho-capitalism which is in stark contrast to communal and Christian teachings. Plus, many churches prioritize proselytizing nature rather than dissecting the actual doctrine of a dogma.

Exploring the New Testament, Jesus’ call to “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12:33-34) highlights the temporary nature of worldly wealth and the importance of supporting those who are vulnerable. Even the Old Testament, as relevant as it is for its warnings against materialism and the dangers of private property, highlights the need for a system that promotes equality and communal support for the accumulation of individual wealth (Isaiah 5:8). This alignment with the socio-democratic economic system. And to jump to the extent of the core, the values ​​of love, especially towards everyone, are actually implemented.

Taking the data of christian population as a majority in countries which have two different political spectrums to drive their governance, Sweden and the United States. We could determine their priorities in which it could be either socio-democratic or anarcho-capitalism according to their comparison in poverty rates, income inequality, and GDP growth and stability. Sweden, with its stronger social safety net, reduced poverty rates to 9.4% (OECD, 2021). On the other hand, the United States, with minimal government intervention, had a poverty rate of 18% in the same year (OECD, 2021). Relatively the same, GDP growth rates illustrate the benefits of a socio-democratic system. Sweden maintained a stable GDP growth rate of 2.5% from 2010 to 2020 (OECD, 2022), while the United States experienced a more variable growth rate of 2.1% over the same period (OECD, 2022). Lastly, income inequality also varies significantly between these models, According to data from the OECD (2021) and Silenas in the Foundation for Economic Education (2020). In Sweden, the Gini coefficient of market income reaches 0.366 before taxes and transfers, which drops significantly to 0.271 after accounting for compensation adjustments. Additionally, the Gini coefficient of equalized disposable income reached 29.50% in December 2023. In contrast, the United States shows a higher level of income inequality with a market income Gini coefficient of 0.434 and an adjusted compensation Gini coefficient of 0.39, according to the latest data from World Economy. These detailed figures underline that Sweden maintains relatively lower levels of income inequality when compared with the United States at various stages of income measurement.

Hence, Without having to wait for Jesus to come a second time, it is time to return to the original dogma. This socio-democratic approach is definitely driving poverty and inequality away from a country. This was also represented through the presence of World Vision International which is a Christian-led NGO. Regardless of their Christian branding, they were once accused of funding terrorist organizations in 2016, World Vision maintained its inclusive stance, supporting LGBTQ employment policies and aiding diverse communities (Daynes, 2014). Not only inclusivity, World Vision, a Christian NGO involved in socio-democratic projects, for instance their Economic Development (2023) according to World Vision International website, which have impacted in changing 117.484 individual behavior, 158.000 training smallholder farmers for improved and sustainable agriculture and natural resource management techniques, 1,2 million individuals mobilized into saving groups to access credit and economic opportunities, and 2,8 million people reached for livelihood programming

Christians who adopt a social-democratic model can cultivate a more just and compassionate society, one that reflects true Christian principles. This is nothing new, this is in line with Jesus’ initial goal of coming down to reconfirm what humans must do as a community. The awareness that the attachment of Christianity to anarcho-capitalism is contradictory is not much. The economic system associated with Christianity required a revolution, embracing socio-democratic principles more in line with the teachings of Jesus. A Christian economic perspective must advocate for a system that truly embodies the values ​​of love, community and support for vulnerable groups.

Yosephine Amelia Kristi
Yosephine Amelia Kristi
An 18-year-old student majoring in International Relations at Gadjah Mada University, Yosephine is ambitious to do her part in challenging economic and geopolitical issues, especially in the Global South. Participating in multiple student associations, volunteering, activism, and competitions, Yosephine explores the many ways to tackle various crises worldwide.