Monthly Archives: December 2004

Faith & Economics – Fall 2004

Faith & Economics
NUMBER 44, Fall 2004


The Biblical Underpinnings of Tit-for-Tat: Scriptural Insights into Axelrod’s The Evolution of Cooperation
Charles M. North and Beck A. Taylor

Abstract: Axelrod (1984) identifies the tit-for-tat strategy as robustly superior to other strategies in a repeated Prisonerʼs Dilemma. Axelrod attributes tit-for-tatʼs success to its willingness to never be the first to defect, its propensity to quickly forgive previous defections, its provocable nature that quickly and reliably recognizes and punishes defection, and its clarity. This paper summarizes Axelrodʼs analysis of cooperation, particularly tit-for-tatʼs effective properties, and then frames it in the context of Christian scriptures. Are the factors that Axelrod finds most likely to lead to cooperative, or successful, behavior in social interaction also in accord with biblical mandates governing human relationships? We conclude that biblical commands regarding personal interactions are strikingly parallel to the properties that make tit-for-tat successful.
JEL: A13, Z12, C70
Keywords: Prisoner’s Dilemma; tit-for-tat; cooperation; Christian teachings

Productive Capital and Christian Moral Teaching
Jim Halteman

Abstract: This article explores the notion of productive capital from ancient to modern times. Capital productivity was not well understood and applied until well into the Mercantilist era of the 17th and 18th centuries. Accordingly, in the ancient world sustained economic growth and increases in average living standards were not expected nor experienced over time. Wealth was understood as high consumption or hoarding for future consumption and that influenced the ethical teaching of the times. The implication of this argument is that biblical teaching on wealth relates to consumption rather than productive wealth. The real challenge for Christians today is to use productive wealth wisely and to adopt modest living standards as a response to biblical passages that warn of dangers associated with wealth.
JEL: A13, B15, Z12

Symposium: Two Approaches to Fashioning A Christian Perspective on the Liberal Market Order

Poverty, Freedom and Economic Justice: The Need for an Extended Dialogue
Edd S. Noell

The Market Economy and Human Community
Douglas Puffert

Capitalism, Wealth and Poverty: How Should Christians Evaluate the Liberal Economic Order and its Consequences?
Tracy C. Miller

Poverty, Government and the Meaning of Economics
John P. Tiemstra

Wealth, Poverty and Human Destiny: A Selective Review
J. David Richardson

Two Different Worlds, We Live in Two Different Worlds
William F. Campbell and Andrew W. Foshee

Book Reviews

The Economics of Sin: Rational Choice or No Choice at All?
by Samuel Cameron
Reviewed by Earl L. Grinols

Lifting up the Poor: A Dialogue on Religion, Poverty and Welfare Reform
by Mary Jo Bane and Lawrence M. Mead
Reviewed by Sarah Hamersma

A New Protestant Labor Ethic at Work
by Ken Estey
Reviewed by Todd Steen and Steve VanderVeen

Inhabiting the Land
by Andrew M. Yuengert
Reviewed by Andrew Henley