Is it against Portland Seminary academic standards to mainly use Scripture to discuss the economic ideas by Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time? Please forgive me if it is! My worldview is unabashedly Christian, so the framework I attempt to begin every thought with is the Bible. I will trust my Elite LGP8 for the more necessary intellectual components of our discussion this week. I believe the totality of the conversation will be covered by us as a team.
No discussion of economics is complete without the foundation laid out in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” GOD OWNS EVERYTHING. He owns the hills, the cattle on top of the hills, and the oil under the hills. He owns the air we breathe, even the spit in our mouths. Job 1:21 and I Timothy 6:7 both state, “Naked we came into the world, and naked we will depart” and James 1:17 adds, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.” Folks, there has never been a U-haul behind a hearse. We can’t take it with us because we don’t own it and never did.
I would add, it is selfish to believe that everything is only for us humans, as Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and for him are all things.” and again in Colossians 1:16, “…All things have been created through him and for him.”
Our responsibility is very challenging: FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP. I Corinthians 4:2 states, “It is required of those who have been given a trust to be found faithful.” We hold onto money, stuff and things only as temporary managers, and when Jesus returns we will give an account (Revelation 22:12) of what we did as stewards (stewardship I define to include our time, talents, and treasures).
It will take Godly wisdom to hear the words from Jesus, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Not only GENEROSITY through tithes and offerings (my dissertation topic utilizing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University), but also taking care of orphans and widows, while remembering justice, and being JOYFUL about returning to God that which is already His (I Corinthians 16:2, James 1:27, Matthew 23:23, II Corinthians 9:7).
Jenn’s words from our last Zoom ring true to me, “Christians should be the best stewards on earth.”
The Bible never promises that everyone will and should have the same amount. Jesus says in Matthew 26:11 “The poor you will always have with you…” and in His parable in Matthew 25: 15, “To one he gave five talents, to another three, and another one, Each according to his ability” (bold is mine). However, it cannot be stressed enough to us Americans (and Britons), “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48).
And let us not forget when waxing eloquently about economics, II Thessalonians 3:10, “If a man does not work, he shall not eat.” I am weary of taking human responsibility out of the economic equation and blaming all the world’s financial woes on the industrial age, global economy, or government interference, to name a few.
Arguments are plentiful stating capitalism is bad, as if money is also bad, but I Timothy 6:10 only says, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (bold again is mine). Isn’t this idolatry? I believe it is, and scripture warns us this in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
So, when talking about Polanyi’s concept of economic “embeddedness”  (stated as his most famous contribution, by Fred Block) , I believe his thoughts are both brilliant, but divided unnecessarily three ways in saying, “…the economy is not autonomous…but subordinated to politics, religion and social relations.” 
Since no government has been allowed to stand apart from God’s will (Romans 13:1), and since the whole Bible is about social relationships (love God and love others, from the great commandment in Mark 12:30-31), that leaves us with the only embeddedness I need to hear, that is, it’s all subordinated to GOD!
I believe we must learn that economics, apart from God working his plan of drawing us to Himself, is MEANINGLESS. In Ecclesiastes 2:11, Solomon (the richest in economy of any single man in all of history) states emphatically, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
Economics are simply a tool of God (as is pleasure, science, fame, alcohol, property, etc.) to remind us of what is really important. Ecclesiastes 12:13 sums it up best, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” It’s all about God, or else us humans turn economics into VANITY, VANITY.
Therefore, I go back to one of my life Scriptures highlighted in my PLDP from first semester, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it…For the Son of Man…will reward each person according to what they have done’” (Matthew 16:24-27).
All scripture references taken from: Barker, Kenneth L. Zondervan NIV Study Bible: New International Version. Zondervan, 2008.
 Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014. Kindle Edition, Loc. 384.
 Block, Fred. Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ Press, 2016. Introduction.
 Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014. Kindle Edition, Loc. 385.