Definitions Critical Thinking Sample
Free Market is a type of market that allows the buyer and the seller to decide what products should be produced, how they should be priced and without any regulation from the government. The cost of commodities in a free market is determined by the demand among consumers. For example, if consumers have a high demand for a fast moving product like soft drinks, the selling price will remain low. However, if the product is a slow selling commodity such as Mainframe computers, the cost will be relatively high.
Biblical Theme is defined as laws of the Bible to be followed when facing certain situations in real life. For example, the theme of compassion is interpreted from the parable of the Good Samaritan. Although from a different race, the Samaritan stops to help. This theme expects compassion for one another across racial lines (Manser H, “Dictionary of Biblical Themes”).
Free Market Situations
The following situations will show particular situations that occur within the free market economy. They are the dominant issues that society contends with. Moreover, they violate biblical teaching and set the disposition for this paper.
Free markets are designed to generate volumes of profits. While the prices of commodities are fixed between buyers and sellers, the margin for profit would be considerably less. It would make the business unstable very quickly. Hence, free market products are produced in difficult work environments also known as sweatshops. The lack of government regulation encourages goods factory owners to deploy workers in long shifts with little or no provisions to protect them from harm. The wages are also considerably low with no compensation for additional hours (overtime). The Savar building collapse in Bangladesh and slave children on West Africa’s coca farms (Neigurg, “Nestlé, ADM and Cargill can’t escape liability for cocoa child slavery, rules court”) are shameful reminders. This practice allows the sellers to acquire commodities at prices that will eventually generate high profits (Rafi Atal, “The Bangladesh factory tragedy and the moralists of sweatshop economics”).
They would have to take input from the customer to decide their next product line. Hence, the workers are let off. These workers, having only a certain vocational skill will sink into poverty. The lack of any government mediation further deteriorates this position. Hewlett-Packard’s 29000 layoffs in 2012 is an example (businessinsider.com, “14 Biggest Layoff Announcements”).
Disadvantages of applying Biblical Themes
This section will analyze biblical themes applicable for the situations discussed in the previous section and check the practicality of possible implementation.
Moses, in the book of Leviticus (Old Testament) states that the bounty of profit should be shared with everyone including hired laborers (NIV, Lev. 25.6). This directly contradicts the operation procedure of the free market. There is no concept of profit sharing especially for its workers. For example, a large grocery chain like TESCO does not announce a big bonus hamper for its employees even during festivities; employee discount is the most that can be hoped for.
John, in his book (New Testament) states the segregation of day and night along with their purpose. The day is meant for work and the night for sleep (NIV, John. 9.4). The biblical clock would put the start of the night at 18:00 which is denoted as the first watch (Stone, “Bible Clocks”). The application of this biblical theme is virtually impossible in the free market; even those who hold lucrative positions cannot manage to leave work at 18:00.
Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians states that a fair wage has to be paid to every worker (NIV, Col. 4.1). The free market looks to acquire goods at the cheapest possible price. Hence, the wage provided cannot be a fair wage since a similar factory run by the government would pay a considerably higher wage for the same position. In addition, the free market often chooses to procure raw materials from outsourced suppliers who use any means of employment including slavery of children. Nestle and other prominent chocolate brands are supplied by West African farmers who use unpaid, captive child slaves to work their farms. The application of the biblical theme of fair wages is almost non-existent in the free market economy. Its application would result in reduced profits; this is not why the free market operates.
Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians sets the priority on how a work atmosphere should be conducted. It expects employers to provide amicable and able support to employees (NIV, Eph. 6.9). It also forbids any harsh treatment or threats. Remarkably, the free market workforce is most often motivated by the element of fear; fear of losing their jobs. While the incentive works in influencing long and pressurizing shifts for meager compensation, it conflicts critically with the biblical theme. Implementation of this theme will release workers from their fear and eventually would make demands of their own to accommodate weekend offs or even paid vacations. Furthermore, the implementation seeks to diminish profit margins and make the company susceptible to its competition. Hence, application of biblical themes in this situation is impractical according to free market principles.
Moses, in the book of Deuteronomy details the conditions of a worker being set free from a landlord. Moreover the landlords are instructed to provide the exiting worker generously (NIV, Deut. 15.12-15). The concept of layoff is to save labor cost for the company; hence, a generous payoff is unlikely. Hewlett-Packard provided their let off employees a handsome severance compensation however this is not a regular practice. The free market economy does not advocate the generous compensation of those let off since their intention for layoff is driven by increasing profit.
Humanity has been the victim whenever free markets made aggressive overturns in cutting cost or increasing profit. There is no room for government interference and the companies choose to cut corners wherever they can. There are several instances in the past including the Great Depression, Alaska Airlines Flight 261, AirAsia QZ8501, Deep Horizon oil rig explosion and Mile Island.
Although free market companies have provided us with many luxuries such as online shopping, custom product lines and unique services, their moral standards notoriously violate natural law ethics and biblical themes. The situations discussed were common place free market issues. The business leaders of free market companies agree that there is scope for improvement. However, there would be no win-win situation or would there be increases in profits for the free market should it choose to follow biblical themes. The main goal in conducting business in a free market is to generate revenue at an exponentially increasing rate.
Holy Bible. The New International Version (NIV). Colorado Springs: CO 80921, 1984. Print.
Stone, Phil. Bible Clocks. Web. 12 Feb 2015. 2008. Retrieved from http://bibleclocks.org/
14 Biggest Layoff Announcements. 2013. Web. 12 Feb 2015. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/14-biggest-mass-layoff-announcements-2013-6?IR=T#1-hewlett-packard-29000-17
Neigurg, Oliver. Nestlé, ADM and Cargill can’t escape liability for cocoa child slavery, rules court. 2014. Web. 12 Feb 2015. Retrieved from http://www.confectionerynews.com/Manufacturers/Cocoa-child-slavery-case-against-Nestle-ADM-and-Cargill-proceeds.
Rafi Atal, Maha. The Bangladesh factory tragedy and the moralists of sweatshop economics. 2013. Web. 6 Feb 2015. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/29/bangladesh-factory-tragedy-sweatshop-economics
Manser H., Martin. Dictionary of bible themes – 5000 humanity. Web. 6 Feb 2015. Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/5000-Humanity