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Redeeming Capitalism - Ken Barnes


Among the victories in our Better Capitalism work is finding, connecting, and collaborating with others working to improve America’s current form of capitalism. One such victory is a new friend, Ken Barnes, the internationally seasoned corporate executive and author of the splendid Redeeming Capitalism. Ken has graciously granted us permission to publish selected excerpts of his book to our readers. We trust these excerpts resonate with you as they did us, and that they prompt you to read the entire Redeeming Capitalism to receive the full benefit of Ken’s insights.



A Model of Redemption


“The Oxford online dictionary defines redemption as 'the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.' While the term is often used in reference to an individual's eternal state of grace (that is, salvation), it may also apply to any attempt at correcting errors of the past.


One of the most interesting things to understand about redemption is that it is a process of healing, not a ready-made cure. It involves an acknowledgement of the past and the errors inherent therein, and it requires honest and probing assessments of past actions, their causes, and their effects.


The objective here is not to replace capitalism with an alternative economic system, but to overcome the sins of the past by addressing the moral issues that produced the current crisis. Rather than formulating a quick fix to a problem that took generations to create, this approach seeks to transform our economic system by reclaiming the moral values that once undergirded it. (Emphasis throughout is ours)


In the following chapters, we will explore various tools that we can use to redeem our economic system. Among these tools is a cache of wisdom from across various cultures and traditions. Such wisdom includes not only the cardinal virtues mentioned [earlier in the book] but other universal virtues, as well, such as faith, hope, and love. Tragically, this wisdom has been expunged from the lexicon of business and economics.


As we mine the depths of religious wisdom, note that space does not permit us to consider all faith traditions. We will concentrate on the Judeo-Christian tradition, because it holds a unique position of influence in the West. That is not to suggest that other traditions, both religious and secular, do not have much to say as well about ethical business conduct or economics -- they do.


What I hope to demonstrate is the universality of biblical and theological principles relating to business and economics that are applicable despite the complexity and the diversity of our global economic landscape.” (Barnes, Kenneth J. Redeeming Capitalism, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018. p. 90.)


Notre Dame Cathedral spire burning and going to collapse during the April 2019 fire. The spire has since been rebuilt – redeemed if you will – and the cathedral remains on schedule to reopen in Dec. 2024. Fires and natural disasters aside we never have to wait for a collapse before redeeming anything. And ANYTHING can be redeemed.


We at are fond of the phrase, “Questions are the engines of thought and action.” From that posture, we invite you to give thought to a few of our questions.

  • Do you agree that capitalism is primarily a system that reflects our cumulative marketplace decisions based on our respective values or ethics? If you think not, why? 

  • What are the top three values or ethics that you bring to your marketplace decisions?

  • What are the top three values or ethics that you want America’s largest corporations to bring to their marketplace decisions?

  • In your view can a virtue such as compassion or love have a place in capitalism? If you think not, why?

How might these questions prod you to re-think your perspective of capitalism? How might these questions prod you to make different marketplace decisions? We'd love to hear your answers and so invite you to share them with us.

Stay tuned for future excerpts of Redeeming Capitalism. Or. Why wait for us? Buy and read a copy for yourself now.


Stay tuned for future excerpts of Redeeming Capitalism. Or. Why wait for us? Buy and read a copy for yourself now.


 Want to help create a better future - professionally, morally, and financially?

Buy now, or get a free sample here >>

"This book merits close, sustained attention as a compelling move beyond both careless thinking and easy ideology."—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Better Capitalism is a sincere search for a better world."—Cato Institute





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