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Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 11 July 2013


by Jim Jordal

 Those who trust in their wealth, And boast in the multitude of their riches---Their inward thought is that their houses will endure forever, And their dwelling places to all generations….They name their lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches, doesn't endure. He is like the animals that perish. This is the destiny of those who are foolish, And of those who approve their sayings.…Don't be afraid when a man is made rich, When the glory of his house is increased. For when he dies he shall carry nothing away. His glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul--And men praise you when you do well for yourself--He shall go to the generation of his fathers….A man who has riches without understanding, Is like the animals that perish.

Selected from Psalm 49 WEB

 Woe to those who join house to house, Who lay field to field, until there is no room, And you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land!

Isaiah 5:8 WEB

"I’m surprised at you, Art. Don’t you know there’s never enough?" That’s what former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos (1988-1992) heard from a representative of Big Oil at a meeting over the furor caused when a small local gas station was scheduled to be torn down in favor of a "pumper" designed to sell nothing but massive amounts of gas. Mayor Agnos had only asked a simple question of the assembled big wigs: "How much is enough?"

That’s also the reply of predatory capitalists when questioned concerning their exorbitant profits and massive market control. Their answer to recent perversions---especially in financial markets---is that the problems arose, not because of insufficient regulation, but because of too much. So the public is supposed to believe that if we leave them alone they will naturally operate in our best interests.

One problem is that people think there’s no alternative to predatory corporate capitalism other than socialism, communism or fascism. But that’s only the lie that purveyors of economic power want you to believe. They want you to believe that naked capitalism is the best economic system available because it generates the most wealth, is the most efficient, and the most beneficial to the public because of free markets that supposedly allocate scarce goods and services equitably to the highest number of people.

But there are viable alternatives to predatory corporate capitalism. One would be truly democratic capitalism under which corporations are encouraged to prosper, although limited by strict regulations in the public interest. This would take only one basic change in values: a widespread acceptance that people are more important than profits. Government officials elected in contests free of control by Big Money would then carry this principle into operation.

But the alternative toward which we are being driven by events is biblical jubilee, the principles of which are found in Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15, the prophetic books, and the teachings of Christ. The principles of jubilee if heeded would create needed balance between owners and operators, workers and management, profits and people, production and destruction, work and rest. They would end the perpetual struggle between money and people by distributing the earth’s resources and wealth equitably (not equally).

Jubilee is not socialism, as some people claim. It is common sense applied to the financial/productive world. It ought to be increasingly obvious that we cannot continue under present world policies and behavior aimed at treating the earth like our own special cookie jar, and the rivers and air of the earth as our private garbage dump. We cannot continue allowing about half the world’s population to struggle in privation and desperation. And we cannot perpetuate the warped value that ownership entails the right to do as we please with what God has given us.

The earth has enough resources for all—if greed and ignorance were eliminated. Be part of the answer---not part of the problem.