Thursday, September 15, 2011

God and Economics

by BlogSpotThinker
September 15, 2011

God’s Natural Economics vs. Contemporary Economics
A reasonable theory appears to be that we have altered what the Bible appears to refer to as the original economic system, to what it is now, possibly for admirable reasons. However, some undesirable side-effects appear to make this revised economic system a much less just economic system.

Revised Economic Access
To clarify, the Bible appears to suggest that, initially, God created resources for the taking. Apparently, each person was generally responsible for retrieving them from the environment, roughly based upon consumption. The economic system appears to have been revised by industrialization and capitalism which appear reported to have increased resource production, but also to have put humanity in charge of other humans’ access to resources. Analysis of Biblical and secular history appears to suggest that the new economic system’s development of the incentive toward selfishness appears reasonably considered to have been compounded by humanity’s apparent “post-fall-of-man” tendency toward injustice.

Apparently, as a result, the basis for human access to resources has gone from free access based upon the needs of the accessor to being controlled by another person and being based on the apparently illogical, unrelated factor of whether accessing those resources represents a sufficient benefit for the controlling person.

An additional undesirable side-effect of the revised economic system appears to be that it appears to connect two apparently unrelated factors: the resources Person A needs for the day and what Person B wants Person A to do that day. Although the two concepts might at times correlate, they also might well not correlate at all.

Another undesirable side-effect of revised economic system appears to be that long-stand­ing economic philosophy and tradition, as a result, appear to consider lack of economic opportunit­y to be an unfortunate, but acceptable and expectable circumstance and outcome of economics.

Revised Economic Incentives
This economic system revision also appears to replace two apparently important and well-designed incentive systems. The first well-designed incentive appears to be to obtain resources needed for consumption. The second well-designed incentive appears to be to work at what needs to be accomplished.

The revised economic system’s first revised incentive appears to be to obtain surplus consumption resources in order to gain influence. The new second incentive appears to be to work at that which will maximize influence. This new second incentive is not to be confused with working more to provide for appropriate, natural greater consumption needs.

The result of the new system appears to be that neither work nor resource allocation is related to consumption needs but rather, to political influence. In this scenario, desire to work appears to fluctuate with pay rather than what needs to be accomplished, the apparently natural, true basis.

The Possible Long-Term Solution
The Bible appears to suggest that the long-term solution for humanity’s economic problems appears to be to resolve its apparent spiritual problem, a damaged relationship and connection between God and humanity. Restoration of this relationship and connection appears suggested to restore human connection to the wisdom that comes from that relationship. The result appears suggested to include improved interaction between God and humanity and among humanity, allowing for the restoration of the simple economic system, devoid of economic injustice, that appears Biblically suggested to have worked perfectly prior to the “fall of man”.

The Possible Short-Term Solution (Matthew 20:1-16)
In the interim, until this relationship between God and humanity is fully restored, given that we appear to have put human economic systems in charge of resources access distribution, and that those systems appear to have upset the appropriate balance of resource access distribution, there appears to be no reason why an employer, such as the one in Matthew 20:1-16, cognizant of these factors, should be denigrated for giving a day’s resources to a deserving person – more than just a human resource object – whom the revised economic system might reasonably be considered to have robbed of the appropriate opportunity to access those resources. It appears important to mention that Matthew 20:1-16 appears intended to convey a similar spiritual rather than economic moral.

The unemployed in Matthew 20:1-16 apparently described themselves as not working because they hadn’t been hired, not because they didn’t want to work. Although those who considered themselves worthy of superior opportunity (as others might have agreed) might also consider themselves robbed of justice because they didn’t receive superior opportunity in this story, those who began the story robbed of any appropriate opportunity might consider the story to represent a great day for the “little man”.

1 comment:

  1. Nice overall analysis.

    One of the things we can use to develop a Biblical Economic Perspective is to see the economic regulations placed over Israel in the Law.

    Economic regulations were fairly simple, as befitted an agrarian society. But they were complex enough to cover many situations.

    One of the first principles was that of "just weights and measures." This law, reiterated over and over, demanded that there be no confusion and no cheating over what was bought or sold. The seller did not sell less than was represented and did not charge more than was appropriate.

    The second principle was that of debt. The Pastor of a church I used to go to got some reprints of old woodcut pictures regarding the Ten Commandments. The one that troubled me the most was the one "Thou shalt not covet." The picture was of a person painfully toiling on his land gathering the skimpy growth which would not feed his family, much less himself. His neighbor's field, however, was lush and full of ripe grain.

    Debt was very real in Israel. So there was a series of commandments on how to deal with it. First, indebtedness was limited. Every seven years debts were cancelled. Second, lending was encouraged. Even when the year for cancelling debt was just ahead, the lender was commanded not to harden his heart against the need of others. Third, every fifty years, property reverted back to its original family. This way the riches of the rich were to be limited, and a family's poverty would not continue generationally. There was equalization and redistribution of wealth!

    There are other applicable regulations regarding slavery for debt, differences between lending to a fellow Israelite versus lending to foreigners, laws regarding theft and restitution, laws regarding the poor during harvest, laws regarding redemption of property, etc.

    The whole tenor of the Scripture, however, was encouraging a nearly classless society, in which the difference between rich and poor was not permanent and entrenched. Economic behavior was not on an "unregulated capitalism" basis depending on the "unseen hand of the market", but was regulated against the abuses of human greed. Greed was not good. Generosity was good. The answer to "am I my brother's keeper" was "Yes."

    After this, I suggest looking at the proposed economy hinted at in the golden age promised by the prophets. In short, each person owned their own property, had enough wealth to feed themselves and to rest. Water and other common necessities were not utilities, but freely accessible.

    The Biblical view of economics is worth studying. Thanks for the article.