Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 16 March 2017


By Jim Jordal

 To Adam he said, "Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field.  By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  

                                                                                                                   Gen. 3:17-19 WEB

Last week we looked at the good-not-so-good job situation in the U.S. We’re caught in a paradigm in which a few fortunate people at the top of the income stream reap most of the rewards due to the fact that they own and control capital, while the bottom half of the population seems to have been bypassed by the so-called economic recovery. Today we’ll look a bit more at the “income trap” we appear to be caught in, where what is good for some may be disastrous for others.

Under the old Adam/Edenic paradigm there were jobs for all because it required this much work to persuade a reluctant earth to bring forth the necessities of life. Life was relatively simple---work from dawn to dusk at backbreaking labor while hoping to raise enough to survive. That scenario has been the burden or even curse of humankind for six millennia. But now under the onslaught of computers and robots that curse is in the process of being lifted for much of the earth, beginning in the more advanced economies and creeping toward others.

This “deliverance” would be a great blessing if we had a Jubilee-type economy, but under the existing system of corporate dominance and predatory global capitalism it threatens to upset all previously-constructed models of the employment/income/trade/price balance. In other words, since we can’t or won’t let go of the existing system, we face potential disaster.  

Today we hear of the need for more assembly line, entry-level, menial, repetitive, stultifying, boring jobs requiring little skill and offering few rewards beyond mere survival. That the creating of millions of these jobs could be considered an advance by society is only evidence of how little we understand the ultimate plan of God for the welfare of his creation and its people.

One basic principle of justice and equity is that God cares more for people than for money and wealth. A corollary to this is that full-time workers need and deserve living wages. As machines replace ever more workers our economy will come face-to-face with this principle being applied in the real world---that the wheels of industry cannot go round-and-round without consumer demand and the income streams that support it.

If jobs cannot provide income and purchasing power enough for a healthy economy, then who or what can? Do we need massive welfare programs, or can we just allow increasing masses of the unemployed to build new ghettos of suffering and hopelessness as meaningful work and hence human decency disappear?

Biblical Jubilee offers a better way combining human need and dignity with God’s blessings of plenty. People would be valuable, not only because they can consume, but because they “are.” Because they are all (or could be with adequate income) contributing members of society, each would receive a “national dividend” as a part-owner of a viable economy. This is not welfare---it’s receiving dividends as part owners of a valuable entity. This dividend would replace all existing government sources of social welfare ---social security, retirement plans, medical aid, and all other government-provided income sources. According to most studies, this would actually cost no more than the existing income-boosting sources, and would allow far more dignity for the needy as owners rather than welfare recipients.

This dividend would constitute a “floor” below which no one would sink. It would be for everyone, rich or poor, and it will work because it is designed by God, not us. Time and events will force us in this direction, so keep aware of what God is doing. We cannot survive much longer under the present corporate-based model.