What would Christmas be without Charles Dickens’ classic work A Christmas Carol? No matter how many times you experience it, you never lose that warm feeling that comes when the repentant employer Ebenezer Scrooge rejects his miserly ways in favor generosity and compassion. On the surface, Dickens’ masterpiece might sound like a critique of modern capitalism. However, a deeper dive reveals a much different story. I’m no Christmas ghost, but follow me as we journey through A Christmas Carol in the spirit of capitalism.
Contrary to popular belief, capitalism does not inherently lead to greed. Here in America, many employers have to be competitive in order to get the best employees possible. If Bob Cratchit were around today, I’m sure any number of employers would be delighted to welcome the hardworking and industrious father to their team. Cratchit would have no need to stay with an employer who won’t put coal in the furnace or give holiday pay. Under a capitalist system, it’s usually the generous employers who come out on top.
If Democrats had written A Christmas Carol, the ending would have been much different. Rather than being visited by three ghosts, Scrooge would have been visited by three tax collectors, who would have taken all of his money, kept most of it for themselves, and put a little bit into welfare systems. Scrooge would hate the world even more than he did before and he would have to lay off Bob Cratchit to cover the astronomical business taxes. Tiny Tim would have met an untimely end thanks to socialized medicine.
In all seriousness, A Christmas Carol still teaches us a valuable lesson that every capitalist needs to hear. Generosity has a critical role in any successful economy. Despite all the benefits of the free market, people sometimes fall on hard times. We should all help those who are in need as Christ commanded us. Capitalism can never succeed without private charity. That’s why the idea of separating so-called “fiscal conservatism” from social conservatism is such a bad idea. The best society is one where capitalism is augmented by the charity of our Judeo-Christian roots. Remember to be generous this Christmas, and “God bless us, every one.”