United Methodist Polity & 21st Century Post-Fordist Capitalism in the United States

Date
2018-04
Authors
Schreiner, Bailey
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Publisher
Florida Southern College
Abstract
I contend that there is a material connection between the value structures found in both Christianity and capitalism. Historically, this connection has been treated as static. This treatment is unfair because it has led to reduced criticism and imaginative thinking about economic systems and United Methodist polity. I also acknowledge that unawareness of this dynamic relationship has led to some harmful changes in the value structures of both Christianity and capitalism; the fallacy of misplaced concreteness is a classic example. The value structures found within Christianity can beneficially inform capitalism, and vice versa. No true progress can be made by talking about Christianity and capitalism in strictly abstract terms, so I will focus on United Methodist polity and businesses that operate within 21st century post-Fordist capitalism in the United States. To do so, I will provide a brief history of both United Methodist polity and capitalism in the United States to provide adequate context and connect a few of their historically-shared value structures: abundance over scarcity, innovation over traditionalism, and connectionalism over self-interest. Then, I will explain how each field has deviated from these value structures and propose practical solutions for each to improve upon their positions. Before I do that, I must verify that the roots of capitalism’s value structures do, in fact, reside in Christian history.
Description
Honors thesis Spring 2018
Keywords
United Methodist Church, Capitalism, Post-Fordism, Christianity
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