Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Better Economic System (2) - Law

An economy is shaped by two things: human nature and law.

Law constrains human nature by putting boundaries on what sin and evil can do, but there are limits to what law can do. The only real solution to sin is the cross and the renewal of the spirit.

The best law is God’s law. Under God’s law people are free to buy and sell when they choose, which allows markets to emerge. The law prevents theft, which prevents greedy and selfish people from expropriating things that belong to other (Ex 20:15).

The law recognise land as productive an asset and prevents people from losing their land unjustly (Lev 25:14-17). It recognises the value of working livestock as productive capital that needed greater protection (Ex 22:1). Productive tools and equipment receive extra protection (Deut 14:6).

The laws on weights and measures prevent manipulation and inflation of the currency (Deut 14:13-16).

These laws are all that is needed for an economy function. We do not need an economic system. God’s law is all we need. It allows people to improve their situation by buying and sell. It allows them to accumulate capital, so they can be more productive. Freedom to trade and freedom to accumulate capital is all that is needed for an economy to function.

God’s law does not guarantee that a perfect, fair and abundant economy emerge. Greed, selfishness, dishonesty, pride and foolishness all conspire against that happening. The law explains this clearly (Deut 28:15-68).

When Christians say that they do not like this or that economic system, they are really saying that they do no like God’s decision to make humans free. They are also saying that they do not like God’s law. They assume that we can install some mysterious system that will be better than what God has given us.

What many Christians seem to want is for the state to come in and impose a perfect state of peace, harmony and prosperity. As long as people are free to choose between good and evil, this is impossible. Any solution that state imposes just becomes another vehicle for sin and evil.

God’s law is the best restraint on sin and evil. The gospel and the Spirit are the only cure for sin and evil. Once they have done their work, Christians can create prosperity and plenty by generosity and sharing.

No comments: