Posted by: nmontague | August 1, 2010

Economics and individual righteousness

I had an interesting discussion on one of the message boards where I post. The discussion started as the original poster made a blanketed statement on how the Bible demands Christians support slavery. Absurd, I know. (Amazing what you can argue if you rip scriptures out of context). Anyway, he went on to mention how Christians are a slave to the corporations. And the rest of the discussion focused more on the corporation aspect then the religious aspect.

The questions I asked are: How am I a slave to a corporation? How do people agreeing to start a business together enslave me? Especially if I don’t know who they are? Why are corporations the enslavers? Why not LLCs or Partnerships? They are businesses too. So because someone enters into a certain form of business, I’m enslaved to it?

Can I choose not to use that corporation? Yes. I can grow my own food. I could choose to live without electricy and power. I could transport myself by animal, my own two legs, or a bicyle. If I choose not to give them my business, they can’t force me to do business with them. They have to entice me with some sort of product or service. How am I a slave to the corporation? It seems like it’s the exact opposite. They have to provide me with the services I want or I can go elsewhere and they won’t get my money.

We live in a society where many of us seem to think we need alot of things we really don’t need. But does that mean the corporations are our masters? Hardly. We can choose to not do business with them. It’s as a simple as that.

Now, I am not saying this to argue somehow that all corporations are good and run by good people. However, I am astounded at how little power people think they have.

My life does not depend on whether a corporation exists or not. If someone can honestly make a profit through their hard work and industry. More power to them. And if they are dishonest, we do have laws that criminalize fraud, theft, ect.

Anyway, the conversation continued and one of the other people arguing that we are enslaved to the corporations stated it was because somehow the corporations created the Boom/Bust economic cycle and we need more government regulation because it stopped them. She pointed to a certain act, and dates of recessions, and somehow I was supposed to ignore the fact that the cycles still continued. I must confess. She may have had a point. But the thoughts weren’t very well written or thought out. So I have no clue what her point may or may not have been. She seemed to think more government and laws would fix the problem and end the cycle.

I humbly disagree.

The laws didn’t fix the problem. There were still cycles. People were still corrupt and dishonest. These cycles happened before the creation of Corporations, they will continue forever, unless we short circuit them with our individual behavior and conduct. We either live honest and more lives and prosper. Or we become so ungovernable that we end up destroying ourselves (I seriously don’t want to see that happen. I like living. I like my friends and family living).

If there was a magical law that would solve all our economic problems, it would have been passed thousands of years ago by people far wiser then us. There isn’t. It reminds me of a passage from the Book of Mormon:

 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence (2 Nephi 4:4)

The Bible likewise states:

And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: (1 Kings 2:3)

It’s interesting to see this pattern in scripture. If you keep the commandments of God, you will prosper. And what do the commandments tell us? Be humble. Be honest. Honor the Sabbath. Honor our Father and Mother, Don’t murder, Don’t Steal, Don’t commit adultery, Don’t bear false witness, don’t covet your neighbors belongings, Remember God, Love your Neighbor, etc.

Economic boom and bust cycles occur again and again because there are some times when people are honest and show love to their neighbor. They don’t get proud and stay well grounded in the laws of God, whether they realize it or not. They are thrifty. They show Industry. They are creative. They don’t try to take advantage of each other. They keep their agreements. They live within their means.

What caused the economic problems we are going through? People were dishonest. They lived outside their means. Big brokers were dishonest and tried to cheat one another. Government corruption complicated things. And low and behold our Financial system was put at risk. Is it any surprise? Can we expect a strong economy if we aren’t honest in our behavior? If we aren’t compassionate? If we don’t work hard? If we provide nothing of value with our work? If we end up cheating our spouses and go through costly and time consuming divorces? If we lounge at the tv and computer all day producing nothing of value?

The sad thing is that some individuals have alot of influence. One person makes a bad mistake, one person is dishonest. And Alot of people can suffer. That’s why we need to take responsibility for our lives and our actions. In reality, if we are slave to anything, it’s our sins, not some corporation. And if we, by the grace of God, overcome these sins. We will prosper in the land. We won’t need massive laws to govern us, we will be able to govern ourselves using the principles of Heaven.

I think this is something we need to ponder. We need to wake up to the responsibilities we have in this world. If not, we won’t be leaving much for our children.

Challenges

1) Look over your life. Are there any responsibilities you aren’t fulfilling. Make a resolution, then a plan, to fulfill those obligations.

2) Do you keep your word? Are you honest with all men? Resolve to do so. (I know, it’s tough for a lot of people).

3) Do you see people or profits? Try to see people. You’d be surprised how worrying about the people more than the profits will help the profits as well. People can see through insincere people. Care for them, and they will be loyal to you.

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Responses

  1. Another thoughtful post.

    I have a question for you.

    You mention these lines from 1 Kings:

    And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: (1 Kings 2:3)

    How, then, would you interpret the Book of Job? Job did keep all the commandments of God, but God killed all his children, destroyed his business, and his health.

    • I think the Lord was trying Job at the time as He tries all of us to help reveal our character. He blessed Job with success before the trial. He blessed him after it as well. Just because we might not see ourselves as being blessed at a certain time or during a certain trial doesn’t mean that the Lord isn’t blessing us.:)

  2. I’m glad you responded as I was worried that I offended you!

    • Nah. Just been busy this week.

  3. Hope you’re feeling well again — you mentioned feeling a bit off.


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