Week 5 - A Just Society
Day 1 - Getting Started
- Christians believe that through the fall the whole of creation was subjected to futility, and that evil cuts through the heart of every human being. They also believe God will one day establish a new heaven and a new earth where evil will be defeated forever. Should Christians bother trying to fix a world that will eventually be destroyed? Why, or why not?
- Christians should try to fix the world, despite it's inevitable destruction. Christians want to bring as many people to Christ, while waiting, as possible.
- Considering that we are to act as stewards of the earth and its resources, and all you have learned about incentives, what would be the most effective way to save a species or natural resource? How would you propose we keep elephants or tigers from becoming extinct? Explain.
- The most effective way to save a species or natural resource is by creating an incentive against using or killing them. For example, creating a reward for anyone that reports someone that is killing elephants or tigers would be an incentive against killing off the species.
Day 2 - Creating Heaven On Earth
Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Tse-tung, Pol-Pot and The Black Book
- 1. What did Marx and Engels call business owners?
- Marx and Engels called business owners "bourgeoisie."
- 2. What did business owners seek above all else and how did this affect their view of their workers?
- Business owners sought profits above all else. The employers treated their workers like tools instead of actual people.
- 3. According to Marx and Engels, how does Capitalism sow “the seeds of its own destruction”?
- "Capitalism creates a large oppressed population that will eventually revolt against its oppressors."
- 4. What were three economic impacts of Lenin’s attempts to centralize the Russian economy?
- Bureaucrats were not only unmotivated to run the farms and factories, they did not know how; therefore, productivity plummeted. Additionally, inflation went up 1 million times and the black market became larger than the actual economy.
- 5. What was the result of Mao Tse-tung’s heaven-on-earth construction project?
- 20 million people died of starvation as a result of the heaven-on-earth project.
- 6. Who was Pol Pot, when did he live and how did he view religion?
- Pol Pot was the despotic leader of Cambodia, who attempted to create a communal existence. It is implied that Pol Pot believes that religion just causes separation.
- 7. Who were the Khmer Rouge and what did they and Pol Pot do in an attempt to erase the inequalities of the “old society” and socially engineer a classless peasant society?
- The Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot drove everyone out of the big cities, into farmland and erased all private possessions.
- 8. Richards describes the ending scene of the movie, The Killing Fields, which shows the reunion of one of the survivors of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and the western reporter, Sydney Schanberg. The scene shows them embracing while John Lennon’s “Imagine” is playing in the background. What is the irony of having this song playing in the background of this scene?
- The song describes what Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were attempting to do.
Day 3 - Creating Heaven on Earth
The Nirvana Myth
- 9. There can be little doubt that we are seeing an increasing number of those who identify themselves as socialists as well as an increase of those who denounce capitalism with great fervor. Consider Michael Moore’s tweet: “Happy 200th Birthday Karl Marx! You believed that everyone should have a seat at the table & that the greed of the rich would eventually bring us all down. You believed that everyone should have a slice of the pie. You knew that the super wealthy were out to grab whatever they could.” What are a few of the realities that new socialists like Michael Moore may have forgotten? How would you respond to filmmaker Michael Moor’s tweet?
- A few realities that new socialists may have forgotten are that socialism, historically, has always caused mass amounts of murders, a terrible economy, zero innovation, and little individualism.
- 10. Many have alleged that the early church was communistic, socialistic, or something like that. Do you think so? Why, or why not?
- I do not believe that the early church was communistic, socialistic, or something of the sorts because no one was forced into giving anything up, there was no class warfare, and not one suggestion that private property is immoral. Everyone was sharing freely and spontaneously.
- 11. What problem led to the deaths of many members of the Plymouth colony during their first winter in America, and what did William Bradford do to solve the problem?
- The problem with this community was that the lazier members of the community would "ride" off of the harder working members, causing the harder working members to produce less and less, out of anger. As a result, William Bradford divided the plots of land among the individual families, which fixed the problem.
- 12. According to Richards, why did Socialism fail?
- Socialism failed because it treated man like wet clay. Instead of starting with man as he really is, communists sought to create their ideal man in an ideal society, which for them meant one in which perfect equality reigned.
- 13. What did the “grand Marxist experiment” attempt to do?
- The "grand Marxist experiment" attempted to establish God's kingdom on earth, without God.
- 14. What belief undergirds the Nirvana Myth and how can we avoid the dangers of its subtle effects?
- To avoid its subtle effects, we have to resist the temptation to compare our live options with an ideal that we can never realize.
Day 4 - Realizing the Role of Private Property Rights
Legal Systems and Dreams
- 15. True or False: Living standards in the 1800s were vastly different than they were 2000 years earlier.
- 16. What three “rights” accompany the ownership of private property?
- 1. the right to exclusive use 2. legal protection against "invaders" 3. the right to transfer to another
- 17. Private ownership rights provide four major incentives to use property wisely. What are the four incentives and why does each provide owners with strong incentives that propel economic progress?
- The first incentive is that private ownership encourages wise stewardship. Additionally, private ownership encourages people to use their property productively. Private owners have a strong incentive to develop things that they own in ways that are beneficial to others. Private ownership promotes the wise development and conservation of resources for the future.
- 18. What three incentives does the increase in price of a privately-owned resource provide consumers, producers, innovators, and engineers?
- Conserve, search for substitutes, develop new methods of discovering and uncovering new amounts of the resource.
- 19. What comprises the “mainsprings of economic growth”?
- The mainsprings are capital formation and trade.
- 20. Why is private property essential to the cooperation that emerges from market interaction?
- It ensures people consider the opportunity costs of their actions.
Private Property and Opportunity Costs by Dwight Lee
Day 5 - The Rule of Law
Creating a Culture of Responsibility, Virtue and Integrity
- 21. According to Blackwell, what must Americans do if they wish America to return to prosperity?
- If Americans wish to see a return to prosperity, we must demand public policy that upholds the rule of law when it comes to property and business and hold elected officials accountable not only to deliver such policy but also to submit to the rule of law as well.
- 22. Give two reasons capitalism depends upon the rule of law in order to be successfully sustained?
- 1. Capitalism requires predictability, which the rule of law provides 2. Another reason that the rule of law is necessary for capitalism is that it drives capital formation.
- 23. Why is government inefficient and wasteful when it gets involved with business?
- The government puts more importance on the political side then the actual business side.
- 24. What four things must we do and realize in order to reverse the present cultural trends and help foster a culture of virtue and integrity?
- Hard work, planning for the future, honesty, understand that we all live our lives under God's watch.
Rule of Law by Kenneth Blackwell