Friday, August 12, 2011

Everything you learned about economics is wrong!

by Peter Briscoe

Imagine the end of a day’s sales conference at a large insurance company. The invited keynote speaker gets up and delivers this bombshell: “Everything you’ve heard so far is not true.”

Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, opened his speech with this statement after some power speakers had instructed the audience on how to “set up” clients, push the right emotional buttons, and close the deal. Tony’s task was to “psych up” the audience for a last big motivational push. You can imagine the shock when he said, “Everything you’ve heard so far is not true!”

“People are not things to be manipulated with the right techniques,” he said, “not economic objects; they are entitled to love.” Love is the “killer app” in business he said.

In our economics class we learned that one of the fundamental principles in economics is the management of scarcity. Herein lies a distinctive difference with God’s economy. God knows no scarcity! He is the creator of an abundant earth with more than enough for all. The song goes, “he owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the gold in every mine!”

On a personal level, I read recently from David VanDrunen’s Living in God’s Two Kingdoms”.The explanation lies not in a complex theory worthy of a Nobel Prize economist, but in the mysterious, wonderful, economics-defying work of God. He “is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). When the impoverished give generously, God makes them “enriched” in the experience (9:11). In part, this is about money, but only in part.

He then goes on to define Kingdom Economics. “In the church there are no winners and losers, but every act of love is mutually enriching in Christ’s economics — an economics built not on the principle of scarcity but on the principle of extravagant abundance. As the church defies the constraints of the common kingdom’s justice so it also defies the constraints of its economics.

God’s abundance must never be an excuse for materialism. God’s plan is for prosperity with a purpose – to make and manage money to fulfil God’s purposes. He will prosper us so that we can bless others with our overflow!

Technical progress and innovation is making the old scarcity theory extremely shaky. Generosity , an expression of love, makes it totally redundant!

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