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Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem Hardcover – May 5, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“In Money, Greed, and God, Jay Richards has written the definitive case for capitalism, a crisply written and incisive discourse on wealth and poverty, money and morality for the 21st Century.” (George Gilder, co-founder of the Discovery Institute and author of Wealth and Poverty)

“Jay Richards understands the objections to capitalism, and here explains why they do not convince him. The empirical findings revealed in Money, Greed, and God run against those objections.” (Michael Novak, Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute)

In Money, Greed, and God, Jay Richards shows us . . . a capitalism grounded in the truth about human beings as free, morally responsible, co-creators charged with dominion and stewardship of the earth by the loving God to whom we are all ultimately accountable. (Rev. Robert A. Sirico, President of the Acton Institute)

“Money, Greed, and God is both thoughtful and important.” (Washington Times)

From the Back Cover

Does capitalism promote greed? Can a person follow Jesus's call to love others and also support capitalism? Was our recent economic crisis caused by flaws inherent to our free market system? Jay Richards presents a new approach to capitalism, revealing how it's fully consistent with Jesus's teachings and the Christian tradition, while also showing why this system is our best bet for renewed economic vigor.

The church is bombarded with two competing messages about money and capitalism:

  • wealth is bad and causes much of the world's suffering
  • wealth is good and God wants you to prosper and be rich

Richards exposes these myths, and other common misconceptions about capitalism, and reveals the surprising ways that capitalism is, in fact, the best system to respond to the biblical mandates of alleviating poverty and protecting the environment. Money, Greed, and God equips readers to take practical steps in their own lives to conduct business, worship God, and serve others without falling into the "prosperity gospel" trap.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (April 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061375616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061375613
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., O.P., is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America, Executive Editor of The Stream and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute.

Richards is author of many books including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012). He is also the author of Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; and co-author of The Privileged Planet with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez. His most recent book, co-authored with Jonathan Witt, is The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that J.R.R. Tolkien Got and the West Forgot.

Richards' articles and essays have been published in The Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Washington Post, Forbes, Fox News, National Review Online, Investor's Business Daily, Washington Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, The Federalist, The American Spectator, The Daily Caller, The Imaginative Conservative and many other publications. His topics range from culture, economics, and public policy to natural science, technology, and the environment.

He is also creator and executive producer of several documentaries, including three that have appeared widely on PBS--The Call of the Entrepreneur, The Birth of Freedom, and The Privileged Planet.

Richards' work has been covered in The New York Times (front page news, science news, and editorial), The Washington Post (news and editorial), The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Nature, Science, Astronomy, Physics Today, Reuters, The Chronicle of Higher Education, American Enterprise, Congressional Quarterly Researcher, World, National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report, and American Spectator.

An experienced public speaker, Richards has appeared on several hundred radio and television programs, including Larry King Live (CNN), CBS Evening News, BBC, Huckabee, Dayside, Fox and Friends, Studio B with Shepard Smith (Fox News), Bloomberg TV, Glenn Beck TV, Yahoo Finance, Life Today, PBS, CBN, and TBN, The Michael Medved Show, The Mitch Albom Show, The Thom Hartmann Program, The Dennis Prager Show, Linda Chavez, The Mark Davis Show, The Bible Answer Man, Janet Parshall's America, Al Kresta, Teresa Tomeo, Drew Mariani, Cardinal Dolan, and many others.

He has lectured at conferences as diverse as the Western Economic Association, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Evangelical Theological Society; on dozens of college and university campuses; at think tanks, including the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, Acton Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education, the New America Foundation and the Heritage Foundation; at numerous public policy meetings, such as the Heritage Resource Bank, the Council for National Policy, and the Atlas Freedom Forum; in Christian forums such as Legatus, Knights of Malta and Catholic Professionals, and on several occasions to members of the U.S. Congress and U.S. congressional staff. In January 2008, his debate with the late Christopher Hitchens at Stanford University, moderated by Ben Stein and Michael Cromartie, was broadcast live to several hundred North American churches.

Richards has a Ph.D., with honors, in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also has an M.Div. (Master of Divinity), a Th.M. (Master of Theology), and a B.A. with majors in Political Science and Religion. He lives with his family in the Washington DC Metro area.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 132 people found the following review helpful By David Bahnsen on June 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will cut to the chase - this is going to be a very, very positive book review. This is an excellent book, and I will explain why I am so fond of it in just a moment. But since I write a lot of book reviews, and the one negative thing I have to say about this book is something I have never said before, I will just get it out of the way up front so I can move on to the real review: I wish I had written this book. Quite literally, Jay Richards took the need for me to do something I was very serious about doing (some day) right off of my "to-do" list. A book for laymen of faith that provides a Biblical defense of free market capitalism is in tremendous need. John Schneider's The Good of Affluence" is a fantastic contribution ([...] but its focus is exegetical and theological. Dinesh D'Souza's The Virtue of Prosperity is delightful, but it is specifically contextualized to an era that was practically gone by the time the book was published (the dot com techno-affluence world). A slew of treatises exist that provide an underlying defense of capitalism, but the sad reality is that most books defending the morality of a free market ideology were not written by people of faith, or at least not people publicly identifying their faith-based presuppositions. The book concept I have been so excited to see is one that was (a) Written for an audience of laymen, (b) Written for an audience of professing believers, (c) Written with an underlying theological credibility and understanding, and (d) Written with a very specific economic expertise. Perhaps I was fooling myself to think I was the person to tackle such an endeavor, but I am happy (and sad) to report that my vision has now been fulfilled.Read more ›
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72 of 88 people found the following review helpful By English Prof on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Richards is not a Randian, but he notes several positive things about Rand, not surprising from an author who explains that he was positively influenced by Rand. To clarify his position on Rand, Richards does not argue in this book that Rand defends misers. Quite the contrary. He discusses the fact that she makes pioneering entrepreneurs the heroes of her novels. Richards' complaints are that:(1) She defends selfishness; (2)she attacks the sacrificial ideal (common to the Judeo-Christian and broadly Western tradition); and (3) she argues that Christianity and capitalism are incompatible.

Richards does say that readers might expect her to defend misers because of her praise of selfishness. He never says she did so. Here's what he says in the chapter on greed:

"Despite Rand's official praise of selfishness, however, John Galt doesn't look anything like Ebenezer Scrooge or that fat, cigar-smoking, tuxedo-clad guy in Monopoly. On the contrary, Galt is a pioneer, a brave creator of wealth who pursues his vision despite powerful obstacles, including a malevolent state bent on destroying him. In fact, although Rand despised Christian self-sacrifice, Galt is suspiciously Christ-like. He preaches a message of salvation, founds a community, challenges the status quo and official powers-that-be, who hunt him down, torture him, but ultimately fail to conquer him.

"To be sure, there are dissonant notes. His symbol is not a cross, but the dollar sign. The book ends with Galt and his lover tracing the sign of the dollar across a dry valley. But insofar as Galt's character works, it's because he contradicts the miserly stereotype that Rand's philosophy leads the reader to expect. In fact, none of Rand's best fictional characters fits her philosophy very well.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By CT on May 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The question whether Christianity and capitalism can work hand in hand has been asked ever since the idea of capitalism was expressed. In this book, Jay Richards addressed this very question in an intellectual approach. Often, Christians who do support capitalism and know that it is the best available system to alleviate much of the world's sufferings due to poverty are unable to articulate their position in an intellectual manner, as well as being consistent to Christianity. Such Christians, including myself, are unable to give intellectual rebuttals, while being consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ, to misconceptions and objections to capitalism. Jay Richards has accomplished that in this book, and for that I consider it to be groundbreaking. I strongly recommend this book, particularly to Christians: whether you support capitalism or are sympathetic to socialism. As it is written in the Scripture, "in all your getting, get understanding."
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46 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Nothstine on May 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
(This review was written by Ray Nothstine and originally published on the Acton Institute Powerblog)

The belief that the essence of capitalism is greed is perhaps the biggest myth Jay W. Richards tackles in his new book, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and not the Problem. One reason for confronting this challenge is that many free market advocates subscribe to the thought that capitalism produces greed, and for them that's not necessarily a negative. But for those with a faith perspective, greed and covetousness are of course serious moral flaws.

It's also the kind of myth that less articulate writers would rather not challenge, especially in this troubling economic climate. Richards does however have a skill for tightly honed logical arguments, and he not only is able to defend free markets but tear lethal holes into many of the economic ramblings of the religious left. He even takes on holy of holies like fair trade and Third World debt relief. Richards argues that the free market is moral, something that may come as a surprise to many people of faith. This book provides a crushing blow to those involved in the ministry of class warfare or those who wish to usher in the Kingdom of God through "nanny state" policies.

The book divides into eight chapters, with each chapter discussing a common held economic myth like the "piety myth" or "nirvana myth." Richards says the piety myth pertains to "focusing on our good intentions rather than on the unintended consequences of our actions." The nirvana myth characterizes the act of "contrasting capitalism with an unrealizable ideal rather than with its live alternatives." Richards himself states, "The question isn't whether capitalism measures up to the kingdom of God.
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