Some years ago I attempted to create a writing class for teen boys on the premise of an economics club. The group would have looked into prosperity and written about right and wrong, good and bad in terms freedom and economy. For economics is a study of morals.
This gathering would have clearly been one about ideas, about basic concepts of liberty, initiative and hard work that drive a free market. We would have written about things such as “How the 8th commandment [against stealing] undergirds the free market” and “What is capitalism?” or “Why work hard?” The students would have studied the scriptures but also read Frederic Bastiat’s The Law and Paul Hein’s All Work and No Pay, one of my all-time favorite economics books. ‡
To make the free market compelling and to show parents that the Bible has a lot to say about our nation’s lamentable state, I devised a single sheet with diagrams showing that economics is a study of liberty.
I sketched three gauges to measure the status quo and give a sense of direction for your personal rebuilding and that of the people in your house, your church and in your home state.
The liberty gauge
This measure asks, “Where does liberty reside?” Who has more of it, who less? In our day the civil authority has most of the liberty and freedom. The people much less.
Similar to the gauge above, the measure of government is important for local economy, liberty and the free market. Where does government reside? Does government reside with the Justice Department, the EPA, the Tennessee Department of Education or the county commission?
Or does government reside at the opposite end? Here, I put self-government and the 10 commandments. Theology is inescapable in making such measure. If God is feared and His commandments honored, there is less call for external government. The magistrate has little work to do, and is on the U.S. or county payroll part time. Fraud is rare, so the inspector spends most days running a family business with his sons. Banks run with 100 percent reserve, so little surveillance is required and the system is honest. Parents love their children and so make sure to educate them at their own expense according to their best ideas and do not give them over to a factory school system based in the capital. If a people govern themselves, they leave little to cede to the police state.
The scriptures are pregnant with this rule. If people sin, they shall be invaded by Philistines, Midianites and other aliens, overrun, put to tribute, disarmed, regulated, spied upon and humiliated — even removed from their homeland security by a depopulation program such as the one Babylon imposed on the Israelites. ‡‡ Sin begets judgment, which begets the evils and misuse of government.
The 10 commandments are the basis for self-government and prosperity. The farther leftward you go on the line in the diagram, the more painful your existence, the more chaotic the legal system under which you live, the more pointless your duties and cares, the more you are crying out over your pitiable state and the long lines.
This measure compares the ideasphere with the physical. Either the abstract or the concrete controls.
Guess where national economy sits? On the left. And local economy? On the concrete side of things.
If I had to boil down national economy to a primary abstraction, it would be credit. In other words, paper money (which is of private issue — the Fed). Credit is the world of modern banks and easy lending, the dark backside of which is debt, dependency and economic slavery. As I suggest, abstractness includes the stock market, junk bonds, complex investment vehicles and the U.S. government. If pressed, you could squeeze in free day care and the reign of plea bargaining in federal criminal courts.
Opposing national economy and its bureaucracy are blessings such as personal integrity, lawful contracts, local business, gold and silver, family and community.
‡ Search for some of Dr. Hein’s work here at Nooganomics.com.
‡‡ The Bible reading at church for this week includes I Kings 8, in which Solomon prays for the people at the dedication of the temple, and posits three judgments. One is invasion and slavery. The other two are drought and famine