THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
Capitalism and the Economy
March 2, 2009
At the outset, let me state that I realize that, of late, I have written a lot about money and the
Babylonian financial system. It is not because I am obsessed with money or love it; quite the contrary, I
am sick and tired of the entire system to which we have been enslaved. There is nothing inherently evil
in money, but what is evil is the system that drives people to love money. I have come to realize that the
sooner we are freed from this diabolical system, the better off and, I might add, the happier we will be.
The Lord has a better way, and we need to know His way. It is for this reason that I keep searching for
greater understanding of kingdom economics.
Now, to begin, I am not an economist; but for many years, I have had a few observations about the way
the US economy works, at least during my lifetime, that I never quite understood.
First, I have worked for very large companies that were quite successful in what they did; but I noticed
that they were never satisfied with just making money and keeping people employed. When they did
not make as much profit as they made in the previous year, even though they were still making a profit,
it was as if the sky had fallen in. The result was that they would demand we tighten belts, so to speak.
So, budgets were cut, salary increases were reduced, and people were let go. Mind you, this was done
not when there were no profits but when the profits were not as great as the previous year. I cannot tell
you how often we went through these boom-and-bust cycles, but it was quite often. I always found it
strange that they, that is, the ones that ran the company, were never satisfied, and that there was a near
obsession that each year show better returns than the previous year. They had to sell more goods and
make more money on those goods, even if it meant that some of the workers that had helped to achieve
their earlier results had to be let go. They never seemed satisfied with simply making a profit and
keeping people employed. Why?
Second, the retail industry has had the same type of obsession. I never could understand why the sky
was falling in, so to speak, if retail sales went up one year, say, by 2%, and the next year, they went up by
only 1%. What is wrong with showing a 1% increase? At least it is an increase, not a decrease. But what
about having no change from year to year, that is, profit is the same amount every year? Wouldn’t this
be alright if it kept people employed? Well, obviously the answer is no since a static profit picture is not
acceptable in the Babylonian system. Of course, some would say you must factor in inflation , which
poses another question. Why is there inflation in the first place?
Third, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the US is viewed in the same fashion. It must increase each
year over the previous year or else the economists and politicians go bonkers. As with business, they see
any decrease in the GDP, even ever so slight, as a bad sign and something must be done to get back on
track in order to have continued growth from year to year, even exponential growth . Why?
Fourth, for the last decade or so, I have observed that there has been an explosion of new buildings
popping up all over the landscape, whether it has been new homes, business centers, or retail centers.
Land that once was beautiful forests and meadows was stripped of all its beauty and new buildings
constructed. Many times, as my wife and I would drive around town, I would ask: How can we sustain
all this building? Who is going to buy all this real estate or all the products being sold in these new
businesses? There is no way we can sustain this type of growth. Besides, why do we need this growth?
Fifth, as I have walked through most retail stores, I have often said to myself: “Look at all this stuff ,
even junk, that is crammed into these stores. Why do we need all these things? Who is going to buy all
this stuff, much of which is made in China? Doesn’t the US make anything any more?” Well, if you want
the answer to who buys all this stuff, just ride around town on a weekend and follow the signs to the
“garage sales.” You will see all the stuff (junk) being recycled to others for quarters and dollars. As a
nation, we have had an exponential increase in stuff that is now packed in closets, attics, garages,
and basements in such quantities that it boggles the mind. We have not only defined consumerism
and its sister materialism , but we have mastered both as well. Actually, these isms have mastered us.
Visit other countries and you will discover that the US is the leader in this regard.
Sixth, when we bought our first house, we were told that having a mortgage was a good thing, for we
could take a deduction on our taxes for the interest payments. We were told that we would come out
ahead by paying high interest payments . After all, it would reduce our Federal taxes . So, in the
1970’s, we had a mortgage that I believe was somewhere around 10% interest. Can you imagine the
uproar today if rates were that high? We might yet return to that level. Of course, the kingdom of God
calls it usury, and it is forbidden in a kingdom nation. Well, one day I decided to calculate this so-called
tax benefit, and I soon realized that, although it reduced taxes, in the long run, so much interest was
paid to the bank that it exceeded the basic principal of the loan. This did not seem like a good deal to me
and, in fact, it was not, for, in spite of the tax benefit, the ones that benefited the most were the banks. If
you could get a 100% or more return on your money, wouldn’t you say that that is a good deal?
Seventh, for years, we have been told that we must invest our money so that it will grow and keep up
with inflation. One way to do this is to invest in the financial markets, which fluctuate based on some
unseen “beastly” force that the average person doesn’t quite understand. To me, it always seemed
like gambling . You throw the dice and are not sure what number it will land on. Or, you put your
money in a slot machine not knowing if you will get any back. Some days you hit the right number or
combination, but other days, it is a bust. So, as the thinking goes, the money you worked hard to earn
must be placed on the gambling table or in the slot machine in order for it to grow and keep up with
inflation. In other words, you must take a risk to grow your money .
Now, if you visit a broker, he will tell you, at least he would have up until 2008, that financial
markets have always bounced back. To prove it, he would pull out colorful charts that show the history
of the markets and how they have steadily continued their upward trends even after downturns. Even
today, there are those that are saying it will come back; it might take a while longer than usual, but look
at the trend line, it always comes back. But, can we so sure that it is going to bounce back and the gravy
train will continue to barrel down the track? What about inflation; what will this do to our money? Will
we be able to keep up with inflation by investing in the market casino?
Of course, the other alternative is to give your money to a bank, which will pay you interest on it. So,
you become dependent on bankers who, because of rates set by the Federal Reserve , a private
banking cartel, might give you 4-5% on your money one year only to drop it down to 0.05-2% the next
year. After accounting for inflation and paying taxes on your interest, you realize that the banks gave
you the privilege of simply holding your money for you, while in the final analysis you actually lost
purchasing power .
Well, I have one conclusion to my observations and questions: This is the way the economic system is
designed to operate. My observations are symptoms or outcomes of the system that runs our lives each
and every day, and these include exponential growth, inflation, recessions, depressions, excessive
consumption, risk taking, and boom-and-bust cycles, to name a few. This economic system is called
capitalism , which, in its current form, is based on credit, debt, and usury . Most of us are
accustomed to this system because we have grown up with it. On one level, it has done wonders for us
as our standard of living has continually improved. But on another level, it seems that our standard of
living is becoming more and more expensive and seemingly more difficult to maintain, or even achieve.
Today, those who have benefited most from capitalism are stating there is nothing wrong with it. They
often cite other factors such as over-regulation or greed as reasons for the current crisis. Surely, greed
is a factor, along with the love of money . But what if the system itself is flawed? If it is, then the
question arises as to whether it should be or can be fixed. Of course, the Babylonian capitalists answer
“yes” on both counts. This is no surprise, for they know of no other way; unless one is a socialist.
However, this leads to the million-dollar question (or, is it the trillion-dollar question?): Is there a
better way? The answer is yes. The better way is the way of the kingdom of our Lord. We have
been ignorant of the ways of the kingdom for too long. It is time for us to know this way, so let us seek
the Lord’s way.
The Upward Call: #03-0933
by: Stuart H. Pouliot