When I was a younger Christian, I remember reading certain sections of the Bible and being just incredulous. “What do you mean God commanded the Israelites to not farm the land one year of every seven? What would they do for food on the seventh year? And a jubilee where all debts are forgiven every 50 years? That would cause a major economic slowdown every 50 years. How would the economy function? And not being able to charge interest? Maybe all that would work for a simple agrarian economy, but none of those commands or principles have any relevance for those of us who live in a modern industrial society.” I have since repented of such an unappreciative view of the word of God.
Lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:13)
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:5)
But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.
As I have been studying our modern economic system over the last year, my appreciation for the economic plan of God outlined above has grown tremendously. It is not just that our modern economic system is prone to causing economic collapse, political destabilization and war, it is that our current economic system is guaranteed to cause economic collapse, political destabilization and war. Let’s consider the international modern financial system for a moment.
The fundamental reason that our modern economic system with its fiat currency system must result in economic collapse is that it gives politicians the power to print an unlimited amount of currency. Think about this. If the catastrophic consequences of this concept are as obvious to you as they are to me, you might wonder how such a situation came to be. How on earth did we end up with a system with such an obvious, glaring and catastrophic flaw? Who would agree to such a system?
Had the system as it exists now been proposed all at once, the American electorate would have emphatically rejected the idea as the inevitable consequences would have been obvious. The problem is that our modern system evolved stage by stage with no individual increment that much worse than the one that preceded it. The Federal Reserve and the income tax introduced in 1913 seemed like a small price to pay to avoid the economic crashes caused by a reliance on “Lazy Fairies” (Critics of Laissez Faire economics used to mock supporters by saying that they depended on “Lazy Fairies” when instead they were relying on the hard work and intelligence of millions of individuals.) The massive government works spending done in the 1930s seemed like a reasonable approach to combating the Great Depression. The Bretton Woods system seemed like a reasonable approach to international finance after World War II. Johnson’s Great Society programs combined with the Vietnam War to require the United States to drop the gold standard altogether. Though no step seemed particularly disastrous, the end result is a socialist system with an unsustainably large military industrial complex financed by the exponential growth of public debt.
That this system can only end in debt default by hyperinflation, political chaos and war is obvious unless you are a Keynesian economist or a lobotomized monkey. We have printed trillions of dollars at the federal level, every city and state is drowning in debt and the credit card debt of individual Americans is also enormous and Ben Bernanke could still say that the problem is a “savings glut“. To people who think this way, no amount of reality can change their mind. To those of us who see the exponential growth of debt at every level as the unsustainable disaster that it is, the end result is as obvious and predictable as the sun rising in the east tomorrow. If you look at the national debt over time, you can clearly see that we are on the vertical portion of the hockey stick and the end cannot be far off.
The historical fact is that every paper currency system tried in history has ended in this same way. When the external restraints on the people in control of the printing press collapses, the currency is printed to the point where it is valueless and the result is political chaos. How could this not happen? Two cars collide head on at high speed and the result is the destruction of two cars. A class of politicians realizes that they can print an unlimited amount of currency, they print an unlimited amount of currency and the currency becomes valueless. A–> B –> C
Contrast this system to God’s economic plan. God gives us a natural currency in gold and silver that cannot be printed to infinity, prohibits usury and tells us to forgive all debts every 50 years so that there can be no enormous accumulation of debt at every level. Considering the inevitable collapse of our current system and the horrific consequences that will result, God’s plan makes more sense than our current boom and bust debt-based system. A 50 year jubilee would lead to economic slowdowns, but the economic slowdowns would be regular, predictable and mild. In this way, God’s jubilee would serve to protect the global economy as a “controlled burn” protects forests from the ravages of out of control wildfires. When our current boom and bust cycle has resulted in such catastrophes as World War II with another catastrophe looming, it is time to ask a question. Maybe humanity would be better off if we did things God’s way?