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The United States presidential election in 2012 focused on two distinct different views about the national economy. The United States debt is 16.5 Trillion dollars and unemployment is 7.9. The economy is in its worst condition in decades. Obama believes that printing money, continuing over spending and creating jobs through Government grants will grow the economy out of debt. Mitt Romney believed reducing spending; living with in a budget and reducing taxes would create more jobs which in turn would reduce the debt. Both approaches are quite different. Which one is right?
Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation had different ideas about national economies. He analyzes the economic and political- social relationships of the collapse of the nineteenth-century civilization and the great transformation that Polanyi had lived through in the twentieth. He concluded that four institutions were crucial to the economic and political order of the nineteenth century: a balance of political power, the international gold standard, a self-regulating market system and the liberal state. The collapse of these pillars through the failure of the gold standard, a result of the imposition of the free market created inequality, war, oppression and social turmoil through Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.
He believes markets cannot be self-regulating and are doomed to failure unless the Government intervenes to stablize society. Regardless of who is right about the economy in the United States, the individual Christian leader should have personal beliefs about their own finances and economic goals.
The Bible has much to say about personal finances. After re-reading many passages, I have concluded the following values for my own managing money:
1. God owns all resources and has given me what I own to manage for him Gen. 1:29-30; 9:1-4
2. I am a steward of what he has given me and I am called to invest and grow it for His purposes Luke 19:13-19
3. I am called to manage my family and resources Prov. 27:23-27
4. Part of Gods will is to help others in need I Cor. 16:1-2; help the poor Prov. 19:17 and help the widow I Tim 5:3-8
5. I am called to be free of debt Prov. 22:26-27
6. I am called to pay my taxes Prov. 20:22
7. I am called to serve God and not money Luke 14:15-24
8. I am called to not be conformed to the world and its lure to consume but to be transformed by the renewing of my mind Rom 12:1-2
In summary, money and resources are a means to serve God and not the end of all means. What values have you embraced to manage your personal economics contrasted to what our Government has embraced in managing the economy of our society?
Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation: the political and economic origins of our time. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1944.