Oligopoly and the Christian Church.

Oligopoly is a concept in economics where several firms sell almost identical products and keep out competition.  They are not motivated to improve their products or cut prices because they find themselves in very comfortable circumstances, dividing up the spoils.

The aluminum, steel and cement industries once were oligopolies.  These industries tried not to differentiate their products from each other or charge lower prices than competitors.

The problem for all of them turned out to be someone else was able to produce what the oligopolists thought no one else could do.  Both foreign and domestic producers came up with better products and lower prices.

Some established mainline Christian denominations think and operate like industrial oligopolists.  They think it is harmful to all to bad mouth each other.  Instead, they have ecumenical conferences and heap praise upon each other.

If a denomination is not confident of its theology, it may serve its purpose to make peace with others in the oligopoly so as to not be forced to defend itself.  If, however, one denomination believes it has something better to sell, a better truth, it would be in its interests to point out the shortcomings of others.

If they do not do this, the shortcomings of others will attract competitors.  These competitors, like atheists, may take business away from all.

Unfortunately, some like the author attached, believe denominations should huddle together like the oligopolies of old.  The no nothing white self rightous condemation preacher has come to  represent all of Christianity.

http://blog.acton.org/archives/59081-american-evangelical-protestantism-in-the-21-century.html#disqus_thread

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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20 Responses to Oligopoly and the Christian Church.

  1. dan says:

    “The no nothing white self rightous condemation preacher has come to represent all of Christianity.”

    It’s getting pretty old seeing not only white people in general under attack in our country but also the “no nothing white preachers.”
    Recent attacks on whites:
    1. The Spokane Police Department has arrested a (black) suspect and are searching for another in the brutal beating death of 88-year-old WWII veteran Delbert Belton.
    2. An Australian baseball player who was shot and killed by blacks near Oklahoma City.
    3. Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian in Knoxville, Tenn., were carjacked by multiple black assailants.Newsom was gagged with a sock in his mouth, his ankles were bound with his own belt, his hands were tied behind his back, his face was covered with a bandana and his head covered with a sweatshirt that his five assailants had tied around his neck with shoestrings. He was then violently raped with an object and beaten. The woman was forced into a back room of the house where she was hog-tied with a strips of fabric from a bedding set. She was brutally raped “in every possible way imaginable” for several hours as the assailants beat her viciously with several objects, including a broken chair leg. Both the man and woman died.
    4. Memphis police have identified two black suspects they say doused a bystander with gasoline before setting him on fire. The brutal attack left the Memphis man with burns to more than 60 percent of his body. He remains in serious condition at a hospital burn unit where he is being treated, the news reports state.

    Where’s MSNBC on this??? The Black Rev Al Sharpton is just waiting for the next murder of a African-American at the hands of a white man to take place.

    Attacks against not only whites but white preachers are also beginning to pick up steam. Some will find satisfaction in reading stories such as: “The pastor of a Maryville, Illinois, church was shot to death during a service Sunday in front of horrified church members who then tackled the gunman. No motive yet determined.

    Under Obama’s lack of leadership and ignorant comments regarding race issues:
    Examples:
    1. President Obama said that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “acted stupidly” in arresting a prominent black Harvard professor last week after a confrontation at the man’s home. Obama made the comment “acted Stupidly” before he even learned of the facts of the case.
    2. In a surprise appearance at the White House to discuss African-Americans’ Obama reacted to the verdict in the George Zimmerman case by saying that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

    So where am I going with this…Obama’s lack of foreign policy and lack of leadership is leaving the middle east in flames. The targeting of Christians in Egypt continues with reports of nuns being paraded in the streets, Christians killed, a statue of the Virgin Mary decapitated, and two Christian female siblings being groped by a mob, gays hung.

    And it’s not only coming to the U.S., it’s already here, literally. Craig Cobb is reportedly planning to turn Leith, N.D., into a town of white supremacists. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Cobb has been buying up property and inviting racists to live on his properties in the tiny town of only 19. Sure it’s only 19 but how many Saudi’s did it take to kill 3,000 Americans on 911? How about Timothy McVeigh?

    And so, which side with the atheists be on when society breaks down. Will the “no nothing preacher” be your true enemy or will people like Ayo Kimathi, the Department of Homeland Security manager in charge of buying weapons and ammunition for the government and running a website that throws around gay slurs and advocates for the mass murder of “whites” and the “ethnic cleansing” of “Uncle Tom race traitors.” This according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Do you really think no one is reading this? Did you read my 4 preceding examples?

    It’s all fun and games until one day, it shows up on your door steps. I’m a conservative and I’ll always seek peace first but will “stand my ground” to protect my family with my gun if required.

    So as people shake their fists at the “Intolerant Religious People,” please ask yourself one question: Who would you’d rather trust if given an option: A “no nothing” white preacher, a white supremacist, a black panther, or a Islamic jihadist?

    Sorry for the long comment, it’s 2:45 am, can’t sleep. Have a good day Jon.

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      I know a place you would feel very comfortable; it’s a new development close to Bismarck called Leith, North Dakota. Perhaps you have heard of it. You would be among friends and like-minded people there from what I have heard recently. The rest of us who actually like living in the United States’ multi-cultural communities will probably not miss you.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      dan 7:47 “Who would you rather trust is given the option…A no nothing white preacher, a white supremacist, a black panther, or a Islamic Jehadist?”

      The goal is to not find ourselves in a position where we have such a choice–to all work together to keep society secular.

    • Michael Ross says:

      Did you see this video of a young white man who was nearly beaten to death by Three young blacks. Why? Because he has a black girl friend.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8bEX-y1nr8

    • Henry says:

      Dan: “Who would you’d rather trust if given an option: A “no nothing” white preacher, a white supremacist, a black panther, or a Islamic jihadist?”

      None of the above. Nor a rabid atheist. Trust someone who is well-trained, credentialed, is in conformance with scripture (all of it, not bits and pieces), and can readily extend the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations.

  2. Brad says:

    There actually are examples of churches tearing each other down.

    A good example is the conservative wing of the Lutheran church (the Missouri and Wisconsin Synods and maybe others) versus the ELCA. Several years ago, the ELCA made an agreement to be in full communion with the Episcopal church. That decision prompted the one of the right wing factions (I think it was the Wisconsin Synod, but I could be wrong) to write a letter that went out to all the ELCA churches. I was a council member of an ELCA church at the time and our pastor shared the letter at a council meeting. The gist of the letter was that because of the agreement the ELCA made with the Episcopal church, they (whichever right wing synod it was) no longer considered the ELCA to be a valid Christian faith within the Lutheran church.

    Then of course when the ELCA decided to allow gay clergy, that sparked another reaction not only from the conservative wing, but among some of the more conservative members of the ELCA, to where some churches removed themselves from the ELCA.

    In general, the liberal Christian churches tend to try to form alliances with other churches and avoid criticizing other churches, and the conservative churches tend to chastise and condemn any liberal church, and they usually divide themselves from other churches, because they believe that they and only they know the “real” truth and everyone else is evil.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Brad; To quote Jon, paragraph 5; “If a denomination is not confident of it’s theology, it may serve its purpose to make peace with others in the oligop0le so as not to be forced to defend itself.” While this among other issues is only a symptom of a more serious problem, I couldn’t have said it better. The remainder of the paragraph is relevant also.
      Your reference is actually old news. Care to publish the rest of groups the ELCA has agreed to be in communion with? If the trend continues, I seriously would not be surprised to hear of someone from the Unitarian Universalist “church” in an ELCA pulpit.
      The ELCA in it’s church’s constitutions state the Book of Concord is the definition of the faith. “The rule and norm of faith”; “The ruled rule”. “The Ruling rule”, being the Bible. By their unionizing practices, they have effectively disregarded those confessions they say they subscribe to. The result of that is self evident.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Brad; Re. “…tearing each other down.”?????—A father talking to his 17 yr. old daughter; “No Sally, it is not advisable to go whoring around just to be popular”. “Constructive criticism—tough love—Speak the truth in love”, even if it hurts.———ouch

    • Henry says:

      Brad:“There actually are examples of churches tearing each other down.”

      The Wisconsin Synod or whoever does not seem to be “tearing each other down”. Rather, they simply say they are not in fellowship with the other denomination. It is a choice. It does not tear the other denomination down.

  3. Michael Ross says:

    Why did the media establishment give wall-to-wall coverage of the Martin-Zimmerman case? To incite racial hatred. They want us all at each others throats. Black against white, rich against poor, old against young, men against women, labor against management, Christians against Moslems against Jews against atheists. Divide and conquer is their statedgy. The answer to this is for all law-biding, peace-loving Americans to stop our primary identification with others of our own ethnicity or whatever, and identify first with other law-biding, peace-loving Americans. Our true enemy is the very establishment that is provoking all this hatred and we are all fools for falling for their schemes.

  4. Henry says:

    Jon:“The problem for all of them turned out to be someone else was able to produce what the oligopolists thought no one else could do.”

    Concerning steel, lax environmental laws and non-union workers at basement labor rates make the foreign steelmakers look innovative and more capable. Obviously, we can’t compete against that except for a few domestic plants who use highly automated processes to reduce scrap iron to steel. When the ready supply of scrap steel is exhausted from the rust belt and the post-WWII military machine, the dynamic will change once again with consumers paying more for steel, perhaps bolstering the increased use of integrated steel mills likely situated in a foreign country. That way we can save the ozone hole, owe foreigners lots of cash, and feel good about ourselves.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 7:35 “the dynamic will change once again with consumers paying more for steel…”

      For several decades, U. S. Steel, Inc. fixed the price of steel. Eventually, it got its comeupptance. Can we be certain foreign steel makers will never get their comeupptance? To me, shipping and finanace are more seamless than ever. I would not make a prediction, however.

      • Henry says:

        Jon:“For several decades, U. S. Steel, Inc. fixed the price of steel.”

        Perhaps. If they did pricefix, they did a very poor job of it, putting themselves out of a job. Really, until the construction of the World Trade Center, nobody was able to crack the domestic steel safe. The logistics of importing, shipping, and fabricating foreign steel took many years to occur. Prior to the WTC, the opportunity was available for imported steel to happen. All you needed were coke plants, iron mines, limestone quarries, blast furnaces, rolling mills, ports, ships, and a domestic fabricator able to wait for a foreign rolling mill to supply. All of these are high capital enterprises that took time to figure it out. For these reasons, domestic steel could wallow around in its union largesse with the various steel mills being competitive with one another, but no one else. They eventually created their own competition.

        The other factor is China’s subsidization and dumping of steel. That was the death blow. They won with it fueling their military industrial complex. Now, they have many of our rolling mills (equipment) bought for a song out of our shuttered factories. These rolls won WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. They may continue to win wars. I would not make a prediction, however.

        • Henry says:

          P.S. I don’t know if the US can make steel anymore. We wouldn’t be content in securing the smart phones in the baskets of the “welfare room”.
          http://images.artnet.com/artwork_images_424079904_179807_stephen-wilkes.jpg

          We would also get the wrong crowd if the term “welfare room” was used. No steel would get made.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 1:38 “If they did price fix, they did a poor job of it, putting themeselves out of a job.”

          I agree with you on that. On China dumping steel, when that happened and for how long I don’t know. All production eventually has to be paid for. So they could have charged too much for something else but not forever. You are right about the industry, high fixed costs.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“So they could have charged too much for something else but not forever.”

            There is indeed a cost. I have heard some rumblings the economic health is not great over in the east. They got ahead of themselves so far that they built entire cities sitting empty with no people in them. Empty new cities and subsidized steel=$$.
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324412604578515382905495900.html
            The key is not to embarrass those people when their correction occurs. I remember the EP-3 incident back in 2001. They completely did wrong, yet were on a defensive hair trigger in settling the aftermath.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 3:25 Thanks for posting that link. I’ve read of other empty new city projects like this one. I wonder how many there are.

            In my simple thinking, countries where laborers live on three dollars a day and export a lot have big profits, owned by governments, for investment in steel mills and such. When the standard of living rises, workers are getting enough of these profits to starve out the investment. Domestic demand goes up, but invest money is not replaced.

            The Chinese are investing too much in apartments and shopping malls. We invest too much in interstate highways, parking ramps and sport venues. While I claim not to predict, I do sometimes anyway. I predict that a few generations from now, interstate highways will be torn up and people then will wonder why they were ever built. The little airport I camp at every year in Clinton IA tore up an old runway and replaced it with a smaller one. In Fargo and all over, permanent bicycle lanes are being assigned to space in streets. The streets were too wide to begin with so it is wasted concret/drainage otherwise. With so few bicycles, we can all still wonder if it is useful, but there is hope. The better solution would never to have built such wide streets.

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