"You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing." (Deuteronomy 25:4)Paul helps us understand this scripture when he gives the following explanation.
"For it is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. (1 Corinthians 9:9-10)This law applies to more than just oxen, it also applies to all who labor in the hopes of a reward; laboring in the hope of making a profit. It is in the nature of man to apply himself in labors where there is a hope for gain. This "profit motive" is from the Lord and is what drives and fuels the economic growth of any society. Take away the hope for a profit and you take away the incentive for industry, both personal and corporate. The profit motive applies not only to the owners of business but to all who participate in the chain of production required to produce a product and/or service. In this case, it apples to the ox as well as the farmer. In more modern examples, it would apply to the worker as well as the business owner. In all cases, the motivation for working is the hope for a profit.
This Profit Motive is what makes capitalism far more productive to socialism. In the early colonization of North America, the Pilgrims established early forms of socialism where all contributed to a common stock and received from the same stock according to their needs. However, without the hope for a profit, industry was lacking and many Pilgrims were starving. Because of this, in 1623 William Bradford abolished the system of socialism and gave each household a plot of land and made each responsible for their own needs. In the end, the colony grew as people applied their labors according to their hope for a profit.
I believe that this motivation for profit is from God; He has given us this motivation to spur us on in our labors and industry. If this is the case, then it is incumbent upon good government not to nullify this motivation or to make it of no affect. It concerns me when my own president says, speaking a year ago of the financial industry:
"There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time." (Obama)In saying this he misses the importance of the hope for profit to motivate people to work and succeed. If we take away the hope of any sector of our economy to make a profit, then we will decimate that sector as people move into other sectors where there remains a hope of profit. Hoping for a profit (and even making a profit) is not a sin, it is part of how God made us.
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