Capitalism has been assailed by seemingly every segment of society in recent weeks – from the Vatican down to the halls of D.C. – but a nearly 40-year Wall Street veteran says American capitalism is the best economic system because it has roots in Scripture.
Charles Mizrahi, an observant Jew, told Christian Headlines the Bible views wealth as a blessing that is to be shared with others.
Mizrahi, who has been investing on Wall Street nearly 40 years and is the founder of Alpha Investor, previously wrote a column for RealClear Religion asserting that capitalism “as practiced in America” is “based on Judeo-Christian values.”
“Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King Solomon are blessed with wealth,” Mizrahi told Christian Headlines. “Wealth isn't some curse or disease. They're blessed with wealth. But also with wealth comes responsibility. To hoard money was never the objective. To help others with that money, you have a responsibility to society. That's what the Bible talks about.”
Pope Francis said in October that market capitalism had failed during the pandemic. Four Democratic senators – Tammy Baldwin, Tom Carper, Mark Warner and Elizabeth Warren – said recently they want to “fundamentally reform” capitalism.
Mizrahi, though, said that ever since the founding of the U.S., “there was always a concept of freedom, opportunity and the fact that each person gets the bounty of the labor.”
“This is embedded in the American spirit. And this is what our country is built upon,” he said. “Why did Google, Facebook, Microsoft ... originate here? It is because this country is fertile soil for that kind of development. And in terms of generosity, I challenge you to find a more generous people on planet Earth than the American people.”
Leviticus, he said, lays out a “welfare system to take care of the underbelly of society – the widow, the orphan and the resident alien” by those who have wealth. Part of that involved farmers who were required by God not to cut the corners of their field (Leviticus 19:9-10).
“That’s for the widow, orphan, the resident alien. It's for the poor,” he said.
The biblical view of wealth is “you didn't create this,” Mizrahi said.
“It was God's blessings upon you, and you are the steward of that wealth,” he said.
Mizrahi asked critics of capitalism: “What do you replace it with?”
“The Soviet Union didn't work. You think China's good? Go to Hong Kong and ask some of those people what they think of the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is such a prosperous, industrious, amazing people. And China's squashing that,” he said. “North Korea? Is that a better plan? We'd now be eating dogs.”
Photo courtesy: Alexander Mils/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.