Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Kapitalizmus – vadló futás, Capitalism – wild horse running – Hungarian

Written by: on October 26, 2023

Kapitalizmus – vadló futás, Capitalism – wild horse running – Hungarian

Part 1 – What Polanyi says…

Part 2 – What Clarks says…and a current Capitalist

Part 3 – What my peers say…

Part 4 – What Russ learned..


Part 1 – What Polanyi says…

Apparently, I have become an audio learner.  Perhaps because the sharpness of my sight has diminished with time.   Once again, I turned to Youtube.com to seek an overview of Polanyi’s concepts before I opened Polanyi’s document.

One thought (of many) that I keyed in on was Market Embeddedness.

Karl Polanyi and Market Embeddedness, by Noah Zerbe, walked me through embeddedness and below is my take on his words/graphic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcjLxcmQXcU

(For some reason the words floated through my mind, “England swings like a pendulum do…”[1]


Polyani describes the Pendulum like swing between embedded in culture and unembededness in his work The Great Transformation in his chapter Swings of the pendulum after World War One, page 276. [1]

Part 2 – What Clarks says…

In last week’s class Dr. Clark said something that caught my attention.  He said something about “Capitalism being unsustainable (in its current form).”  I believe he mentioned that there comes a time when “the have nots” will rise up against the “haves” (my words).  This rising up could result in violence. Not to oversimply, I see the Palestinians (have not’s) rising up against the Israelis (the haves).  Histories of injustices notwithstanding, the Palestinian identity has been “shaped by shared memory and experience (trauma).” [2]

Dr. Clarks words caused me to hunt for articles on the sustainability of capitalism.

Klaus Schwab of Foreign Affairs writes, “But in its current form, capitalism has reached its limits. Unless it reforms from within, it will not survive.”[3]  Schwab makes a recommendation that, “To start, companies and their shareholders must agree on a long-term vision of their objectives and performance, rather than let quarterly results dictate everything. From there, companies must make more concrete commitments to pay fair prices, salaries, and taxes wherever they operate. And finally, we have to integrate environmental, social, and governance measurements into formal business reporting and auditing systems.”[4]

The Economist reviews Net Positive. By Paul Polman and Andrew Winston. Harvard Business Review Press.  They write, “One figurehead of this movement, dubbed sustainable capitalism, is Paul Polman, ex-chief executive of Unilever, the consumer-goods giant. In that role he unveiled Unilever’s sustainable-living plan, which made commitments to cut its environmental footprint by half and help a billion people improve their health. Together with Andrew Winston, a writer, he has produced a book on his approach, defining “net positive”, the catchphrase of the title, as “a business that improves well-being for everyone it impacts and at all scales”.[5]

Critics call this “woke capitalism”  giving it a negative context for some.  However, in the spirit of changes perhaps this is step in the right direction.

For a local response, I spoke with the Vice President of Client services (automotive) for Epsilon (subsidiary of Publicis – a French company) Rhonda Kai, I asked the question is “capitalism sustainable.”  She asked how I defined capitalism and then proceeded to say that perhaps the question is “how is capitalism changing now.”  Kai stated that, Capitalism will survive in some form or another, however, there are new forces in today’s world that can help reshape capitalism.

Enter the Generation Y (30 somethings) and Z (20’s) .  These generations, said Kai, consume global information at a “staggering” pace.  The consumer power they wield is tremendous and through the power of social media than can expose “industry dirty laundry” to millions of other consumers globally.  Kai added that these and future generations are intensely aware of climate change, work force conditions and other socially conscious issues which impact their purchasing choices – one power.  The power of “cancellation” is the other power.  An example comes to mind of the “transgender” blunder of Bud Light.  Through the power of social media, Budweiser has taken a major financial hit as mainstream males disengaged from the cheap (and arguably bland) beer.

Capitalism, says Kai, will have to “Grow, Learn and give back to society.

Part 3 – What my peers say…

Jennifer Vernam writes, “Polanyi’s repeated highlighting that a market-based society has built in a reinforcement of working towards one’s self-interest above all else.”

I remember hearing some say that capitalism with out a moral direction (like Russia) can create massive drives to earning and in a dog-eat-dog world, oligarchs, mafia bosses, corrupt politicians rise to the top.

Jonita Payton and Jennifer both mentioned Polanyi’s statement… “The crucial point is this: labor, land and money are essential elements of industry: they also must be organized in markets: in fact, these markets form an absolutely vital part of the economic system.”[5]

I am new to the concept of Labor, Land and Money as the essential elements of Industry.  These building blocks are then organized into what we call markets. (Small threshold experience here).

In regard to Labor, Jonita homed in on the “poorhouses” which upon investigation revealed one aspect of robber barons exploiting child labor.  I wish I could say those days are done, but just this year, underaged unaccompanied immigrant children were found to be working for “cleaning” companies that took on cleaning contracts with major businesses. The big businesses had no idea that these cleaning companies were using under aged immigrant children (so they say).  I repeat, capitalism without moral guard rails (like Russia, China and Hungary) gives rise to oligarchs, mafia bosses and corrupt politicians.  Sigh, nothing is new under the sun.

Amid a child labor crisis, U.S. state governments are loosening regulations, May 4, 2023.  https://www.npr.org/2023/05/04/1173697113/immigrant-child-labor-crisis

Kim Sanford writes… “modern individualism pulls us away from the communal nature of our faith. In its very essence, the Christian faith is meant to be lived together in a way that I fear modern, western evangelicalism misses completely. In the New Testament, notably in Acts 16.”

Kim refers to Dr. Clark who says, “Polanyi sees a move from a Christian society with a responsibility to others, which limited the effects of markets, ultimately replaced by a turn to the self that “renounces human solidarity” with the development of the “secular religion” of the market.” [6] If we allow this to happen, individualism has become our idol.

I loved Kim’s image of a tug of war between individualism and Christian fellowship. She has taken Polanyi’s embedded versus unembedded markets, fellowship (capitalism with moral/social guardrails = Acts fellowship versus individualism (every man does as he desired =Judges)

From DLGP01, Caleb Lu writes, “The market economy was supposed to bring newfound wealth and prosperity but seemed to leave a majority of society behind. Polanyi identifies the idea that the self-regulating market is “natural” [7] as a main problem. He makes clear that not only is it unnatural for an economic system to be disembedded from social relationships, it’s also impossible.[8]

Like an unbridled horse, bereft of guidance or direction.  Capitalism careens forward into the future with no reins and the hands to guide it, it is a wild horse answerable to no one.  Capitalism leaves it’s riders behind in the dust.  Dr. Clark’s comment that capitalism is unsustainable. 

I take his warning to mean that unless enough of those riders rise up to bridle the horse,  that the distribution of wealth will remain in the hands the few rather than the many.

Part 4 – What Russ learned…

A long time ago in a land far away, my folks got divorced.  As a young single U.S. Army Captain, I started paying half of my mother’s mortgage.  I remember being chastised by peers who didn’t understand the commitment. Two houses and two apartments later my goal of keeping my mom safe and secure in Hawaii was acheived.

In 2000 I finally got married and started my family (age 40).  I really didn’t have savings, or grand mutual fund plans.   When time came to move to Hungary to work as a vocational missionary, my family lived on a U.S. retirement pay which was stretched as we adopted two Hungarian children (plus one biological).  Life on a budget in a 2nd world country can be done. But all aspects of spending were scrutinized.  Ready to take out a mortgage to finance the Hungarian House I was building, my mom visits and drops ¾ of the money I needed (no need for nasty mortgages).

Trudy and I always saw it as a gift from God and when I sold the house last year, we created a fund that will take GoodSports International into the next 10 years working with 8 orphanages.  I think God forced me out of my capitalist thinking during my time in Hungary.  We never cancelled a children’s summer camp in 25 years due to lack of funds. (the same in GoodSports Slovakia for 27 years). We always plowed on knowing that God would provide.

Lesson learned…you can’t outspend God.  He gives you need, when you need it.  To make matters sweeter, he allows you to do the thing with the “talents.”  Matthew 25:14-30.

Jennifer Vernam’s post got me thinking along these lines.  It is really HARD to trust God in the U.S. market system in 2023.  War, rumors of wars, taxes, gas prices, and college costs all pile on in uncomfortable ways.

But we can trust Him.  I may not be a lily in the field, more like a geranium…still Matthew 6:28 applies.



[1] Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation the Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 2nd Beacon Paperback ed. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001),

[2] “England Swings” is a 1965 country music song written and performed by Roger Miller.

[3]  Fukuyama, Francis. Identity. S.I.: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018, 10.

[4] Schwab, Klaus. “Capitalism Must Reform to Survive.” Foreign Affairs, January 16, 2020. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-01-16/capitalism-must-reform-survive.

[5] Ibid, Schwab.

[6] The Economist. “An Advocate of Sustainable Capitalism Explains How It’s Done.” Accessed October 27, 2023. https://www.economist.com/books-and-arts/2021/10/09/an-advocate-of-sustainable-capitalism-explains-how-its-done.

[7] Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation the Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 2nd Beacon Paperback ed. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001), 75.

[8] Clark, Jason. Evangelicalism and Capitalism: A Reparative Account and Diagnosis of Pathogeneses in the Relationship. London School of Theology, 2018. 143.

[9] Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation the Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 2nd Beacon Paperback ed. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001), 130.

[10] Ibid, 5.

About the Author


Russell Chun

interlinkt.org is now ready for your Refugee Resettlement needs. 15 tasks, languages ESL plans coming

8 responses to “Kapitalizmus – vadló futás, Capitalism – wild horse running – Hungarian”

  1. Esther Edwards says:

    Wow. You win the prize for synthesizing so many voices in one post! Love it!
    Your big takeaway is one to truly wrestle with in our capitalistic society:
    “You can’t outspend God. He gives you need, when you need it. To make matters sweeter, he allows you to do the thing with the “talents.” Matthew 25:14-30.”

    What are some steps you take to keep your focus grounded in God’s Kingdom principles regarding economy?

    • mm Russell Chun says:

      Hi Esther!

      I am unsure on how to answer your question. Let me land here. GoodSports Ukraine needs money for ministries to continue/thrive (despite the war). I THINK my role is to help raise money for these ministries. Prayers that my International Board approves the start of GSI Ukraine (they can say no).

      If YES occurs then I can coordinate with a Ukrainian lawyer to begin establishing the GSI Ukraine as a Ukrainian non profit. Facilitating the flow of donor funds from the U.S. to Ukraine.

      How do I avoid thinking about my consumerism and God’s economy? I gather with my focus on Ukraine, I more sensitive than ever to the value of money for ministries.

      I return to the parable of the talents and realize on a personal level that what I have been given is both to survive on and to expand the kingdom. Sigh. Not a great answer.


  2. Esther Edwards says:

    Your heart for Ukraine is evident and your proposal needed. You are leveraging your gifts and talents for Kingdom purposes which also means the need to raise funds.
    Praying for God’s direction and empowerment as you move forward.

  3. Jenny Dooley says:

    I love how you are quoting our peers in your post! Thanks for pulling out some gems! You mentioned Gen Y and Gen Z. I appreciated the conversation you shared and the insights about how differently they process global concerns and question how we do life. You noted, “Kai added that these and future generations are intensely aware of climate change, work force conditions and other socially conscious issues which impact their purchasing choices.” I am very impressed with the way young people think today. What percentage of your students are Gen Y and Gen Z? Working with refugees, do you see similar patterns of thought among Gen Y and Gen Z?
    Oh… and Russell, you are a magnificent geranium! Thank you for the lived reminder that God can be trusted.

  4. mm Jonita Fair-Payton says:


    Thank you for articulating what I was thinking, “It is really HARD to trust God in the U.S. market system in 2023. War, rumors of wars, taxes, gas prices, and college costs all pile on in uncomfortable ways.
    But we can trust Him. I may not be a lily in the field, more like a geranium…still Matthew 6:28 applies.”
    Current events and times, make it difficult sometimes to see and hear God. That feels really hard to say.
    I love the quotes that you included from our cohort family, I was surprised and honored to be included in your post this week. Thank you for always speaking your truth and teaching us something new, week after week.

  5. Hey Dr. Russell, brilliant research and post…as usual! I have never heard the term “woke capitalism.” Can you unpackaged this for me please?

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