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Professor P. J. Hill Essay Award

A friend of Wheaton College has established an endowment for an annual essay contest in honor of Dr. P.J. Hill, who retired from the Wheaton College Business and Economics Department in 2011. The contest is open to all Wheaton College undergraduate students.

1st Prize: $750; 2nd Prize : $200; 3rd Prize: $50


Is Modern Capitalism Compatible with Christianity?...

…or do the interactions of interest-maximizing individuals inevitably degenerate into a “war of all against all”?

Daniel Bell, a Christian ethicist, is a prominent critic of modern capitalism. His book, The Economy of Desire: Christianity and Capitalism in the Modern World, presents several arguments explaining why the United States’ economic system forms us in a way that “obstructs our friendship with God, one another, and creation” (88). Bell summarizes his argument with the following statement.

It is not difficult to imagine the interaction of interest-maximizing capitalist individuals quickly degenerating into a war of all against all (104).

Your essay should expand upon the above quote. Does modern capitalism carry moral costs that make it incompatible with Christianity? Is there something inherent in capitalism that makes a “war of all against all” inevitable? If you agree with Bell, explain what it is about capitalism that degenerates into such a war. If you think Bell is wrong in his characterization of capitalism, describe the moral and institutional aspects of capitalism that make it compatible with Christianity and prevent it from being a “war of all against all.” 


Essays must not exceed 2000 words.  Please include a word count.

For complete essay topic and rules contact:
business.ecomomics@wheaton.edu or stop by the BEC office on the 3rd floor of MSC

Essays should be submitted in electronic form to business.economics@wheaton.edu by November 30, 2018.  Please include a cover page with your name and contact information which will be removed so the judges can read the essay without identifying the author.   Please do not include any other identifying information.


The essays will be judged by three professors based on the substance of the essay and the quality of the writing.  The decision of the judging panel is final.

For more information on how your award package may be affected by the addition of a college prize, please contact Student Financial Services.

Please note that awards will be paid through financial aid into student accounts.