Capitalism or Marxism?

At the heart of the Cold War sat core philosophies that were seemingly reconcilable, and though the headlines and bluster focused on the weapons, politics, and posturing of the United States and the Soviet Union, it really boiled down to the differences between capitalism and Marxism.

At the heart of Marxism lies a central belief that an individual is confined to the place in which he is born within society. Marx believed that individuals are born into a specific layer of social class, and this birth place determines everything for their life (Elwell, 2013). Capitalism, on the other hand, promotes the idea that every individual has a right to choose her own path because of the innate rights she has (Fraser & Campolo, 1992). Now, Marx would not necessarily disagree that an individual has the right to ascend to class status, but he would argue that the class status he is born into ingrains within him certain ideas, mentalities, and ambitions that are specific to his class (Elwell, 2013). If one is born into a lower class, then the way he approaches life and the pursuit of success is not only going to be influenced by the core mentalities of his class but in a large part governed and even controlled by his social class (Elwell, 2013).

Capitalism, on the other hand, would not only argue any one person has the right to aspire to greater class status through the course of life but encourages it as a foundational catalyst of social development of a society as a whole (Fraser & Campolo, 1992). This expectation of pursuit comes from the belief that individuals have freedoms to live their life as they see fit, predetermined by nothing.

From a Biblical standpoint, which lines up more? Marxism or Capitalism?


Elwell, F. W. (2013). Sociocultural systems: principles of structure and change. Edmonton: Au Press.

Fraser, D. A., & Campolo, A. (1992). Sociology through the eyes of faith (1st ed). San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

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