The purpose of this blog is shedding light, i.e. truth, on the current economic dilemma and fixing it.
The goal of the Shepherd Blog is to help people secure quality of life--as prefaced by truth, justice, peace, health, shelter, and economic independence--by resolving the 2 major social concerns that overwhelm people and nations: (1) The economy and (2) human stress as the acute spiritual problem.
The book I.D. Crisis by Kurt Koppetsch deals with the spiritual, intellectual, and social conflict in modern times. Confusion about the past and uncertainties in the present prevent us from knowing our true nature. As a direct consequence of such confusion, visions of the future are clouded. Some of the diversions that prevent us from realizing our true identity as children of God are philosophies, politics, economics, and falsehood such as religious cults. The solution is remembering that human beings are dependent creatures of God.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE:
Each series of the book I.D. Crisis will conclude with the poem "Rays of Hope and Freedom" to assure readers that God cares about our lives and we are his children of hope. Hope is the From/to process at work in the modern Era of Faith repairing life and circumstance. Hope is making the impossible come true.
Topic for the entire month of January 2010: THE ECONOMY
The economy is an integral part of God's domain. And economics is God's way of managing it. The spiritual treatment of the economy and economics, therefore, is essential for a clearer understanding about our involvement and is also critically important for the survival of humanity as spiritual beings in the image of God. The leitmotiv in this writing about the economy and economics is the spiritual connection.
There are six sections: (a) Preface, (b) The spiritual perspective on the economy and economics, (c) Modern economics, (d) Global economics, (e) The human side of economics, and (f) The spiritual renewal of America for economic independence and freedom from stress.
The Spiritual perspective on the economy and economics details the spiritual connection. It sheds light on our responsibility as God's faithful stewards of his resources on Earth.
In Modern Economics we look at the important three Ws central to all critical reviews: What, where, and when. What does the past tell us? Where do we stand in the present? When will we act to improve the human condition in the future?
In Global economics we take a critical look at this relatively new phenomenon. We will review economic justice in the context of helping underdeveloped countries secure their independence through economic freedom.
In The human side of economics we examine how the spiritual connection bears on modern economics in terms of the needs of the Kingdom of God on Earth. We will also review some of the major shortcomings in modern economics. We will focus on America. We will examine how political lobbyists influence the action of government and the creation of laws. We will further expose economic abuse by opportunists, manipulators, and self-styled "paper barons" who exploit the public trust for personal gain.
In The spiritual renewal of America for economic independence and freedom from stress we see a concerned public rising up to regain control of jobs in manufacturing. This action "by the people for the people" asks for God's help to recover what has been squandered and lost.
The spiritual perspective on the economy and economics
The economy and economics is not a free-for-all the way greedy people in the secular world would like to have it. The economy and economics are of God, and God is in control. God has definite expectations of people. He expects top performance according to his will and purpose. Indeed, there are obligations in economics, similar to other obligations that we experience in our relationship with God.
Economics is stewardship of God's wealth to a predestined end. God provides the means, and he defines the outcome. The means is the economy, and the predestined end is quality of life. Our performance, therefore, will determine our destinies. Ultimately we will be asked to give full account of our use of time, talents, and resources.
As citizens of the world we have the obligation to use God's wealth in ways that agree with his purpose for our creation. If we want to realize our hope of eternal life in the presence of God in Heaven, we must comply with God's way on Earth. Our independence on Earth is contingent upon the quality of our spiritual connection with God in Heaven. We are his children in the world to do our father's bidding.
Our father in Heaven is a loving God. And God trusts us to be faithful in managing his wealth on Earth. Economics and the economy are servant functions. Therefore, the role of faithful stewards over God's vast economic domain is precisely doing what God wants to get done. God trusts us with his wealth on Earth, and we have no choice but to respond to this trust with a commitment that love of God alone affords.
In this understanding, trust and faithfulness are words of spiritual importance. As citizens of the world we compliment these spiritual components with civility, honor, and respect; our behavior then identifies us as decent human beings in the secular world. As practitioners of the Golden Rule, therefore, we look to our partners in economic matters to have integrity, respect, honor, and commitments that are similar to what they expect of us.
Economics is faithful stewardship. We prioritize available resources to fulfill human needs in a fair, just, and equal manner. Faithful stewardship implies responsible management of God's resources. Responsible management means the preservation of materials and responsible maintenance of the quality of the environment for future generations. This is our obligation to our children.
The story of good economics in the Bible is the stewardship of Joseph at the court of the king of Egypt around 1600 B.C. (Genesis 41:25-47)
Bad economics, on the other hand, are multitudes of human aberrations of God's principles. Bad economics is driven by greed. Satan is the promoter of all kinds of greed.
The Bible indicts greed as the worst of human aberrations. God condemns the insatiable appetite of greedy people for the possessions of others. All types of greed are destructive. Greed kills relationships. Greed kills people in wars and in economic oppressions. Satanic greed will eventually consume the souls of greedy people. Wherever human aberrations of God's way promote greed, the consequences are chaos and human despair.
Singly against greed stands the Word of God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is telling us in plain language to shape up, change our evil ways, and accept his Word as the sole authority on economics.
America's current economic difficulties are self-inflicted by a service economy that had its start in the early 1970s.
Low-paying service jobs make it difficult for American families to make ends meet. Two incomes are now essential to support a family. Often parents are forced to work two jobs. The constant loss of manufacturing jobs is wiping out any hope in the future for decent wages with associated benefits.
Whereas manufacturing jobs have a ripple effect on the economy of nations, a lopsided service economy consumes the wealth of nations. A service economy does not contribute to the building of highways, bridges, and schools. A service economy offers little support to pay for police and fire protection. And deficit spending in a service economy squanders the future of children.
Today's service economy favors the rich in a two-tier society of the have and the have-not. Two tier societies threaten community life.
Two-tier societies are impersonal and pose a threat to the survival of families and communities. Overworked parents have little time left to raise their children. Volunteer work in the community is almost nonexistent. And there is little time left to converse with a neighbor. Families in neighborhoods were once supportive of each other, and we could count on each other in times of need, but this has now become a dream world for many people. The good times when we could call on our next-door neighbor and borrow a cup of sugar are gone.
The modern impersonal lifestyle created by the service economy has replaced relationships with concerns about money. Money wields power. Money now speaks.
The need for money is ever increasing to support the family. The cost of housing is alarmingly high. Health care consumes a major portion of the family's income. Everywhere we look in the service economy, people are driven by money needs. The modern service economy is a quagmire of debts. We need money--lots of money--to pay for the basic needs in life.
Compounding the problems of the flimsy service economy is the lack of hope for a better future. Job security has become a foreign concept, but families need a dependable income to prepare their children for the future.
America's economic situation has taken a turn for the worse. Huge corporations continue to wipe out the local manufacturing base that once provided reliable income for many families. In its place we now find these same large corporations peddling foreign-made goods at high profits. They charge the consumer whatever the traffic will bear. In this modern dilemma, trade deficits and foreign investments threaten the future freedom of American children.
The well-being of individuals and families is at the mercy of corporate peddlers of foreign-made merchandise. The citizens of the once most prosperous nation in the world are now trapped in a silly numbers game played by financial manipulators. Financial gurus in control of huge corporations are mercenaries without mercy. Their sole compassion is money. "Paper barons" have replaced the visionary entrepreneur-managers.
"Paper barons" now run huge enterprises in insidiously hidden ways to make high profits for themselves at the expense of consumers. For example, while the contents of food packages are getting smaller, frequent increases in the price of these smaller-sized goods are quite common. While the weekly income of working families diminishes or remains flat, the salaries of "paper barons" are increasing at immoral rates.
The world revolves around economics. Therefore, we rightfully ask: "What is good economics?" This is the key economic question for the modern world, as good economics is the criterion for quality of life. Good economics is our statement of faithful stewardship.
A good economy respects the life, liberty, and happiness of each individual in his or her search for the way of God. Good economics recognizes that all resources on Earth belong to God, and we are but stewards of his creation. We honor God as supreme reality. And we love him for what he is, and for what he is doing for us in our short pilgrimage on Earth. Good economics is synonymous with a prosperous life on Earth.
Political meddling in economic matters is just a license for greedy people to do as they please. In these aberrations of God's way, the rich get richer, and the poor are being pushed into the bottomless pit. The children of America must pay in the future for the folly in leadership now.
Unscrupulous operators, in America and throughout the world, manipulate supply and demand to their advantage. We see this especially in Third-World nations that depend on goods and services from their more highly developed neighbors. For the residents of Third-World countries, like those in Africa, economic fairness is a matter of life or death. We see death from starvation in many African countries where opportunists have unfairly exploited a nation's natural resources without fair compensation. On top of this evil are power-hungry tyrannical rulers in underdeveloped nations who are in collusion with ruthless global conglomerates and their political cohorts to fill their own pockets.
Therefore, God condemns the evil antics of economic manipulators. God says: "The world is mine, and all that is therein is mine. Belief and trust in me is all my people need." And God continues: "I will take care of you. I will provide for your spiritual needs. And once your spiritual needs are met, your physical needs will also be met. Life is more than food. And your body is more than clothing. I care about your life. My Word alone can satisfy the needs of your soul. And my blessings shall be food for your soul and clothing for your body."
Despite God's support for less fortunate people, the exploitations by large international corporations keep growing, and the conflict of spirit over flesh seems like a losing battle, for God and people. It appears that the modern economic conflict is more severe than the plagues of the Dark Ages in which scores of innocent people died.
Huge corporations have created woes for innocent people as never before. To correct this great evil of huge corporations taking advantage of poor people in the modern world, God is encouraging each person to become self-sufficient. And, by the grace of God, "individual economies" will take root and grow.
In this new approach to economics, the presence of God will help each person in sundry ways to nurture individually owned enterprises, while economies of scale are doomed to failure as a direct result of uncontrollable size. Though the evil may always try to gain the upper hand in controlling the lives of people through large-scale economic oppression, God as the champion of ethics, justice, and faith will bless individual entrepreneurs who operate their business according to the Golden Rule.
God assures quality of life for workers and owners of local enterprises. God says: "The world is mine, and all that is therein is mine. Persevere in my way of life, and I will give you the Crown of Life in eternity! My faithful people will do extremely well in my presence, and I will let them bask in my glory. Therefore, choose life. Nurture your spiritual connection with me, and I will help you make good economics your quality of life."
Some of the tactics of ruthless governments and large corporations are not always obvious. The unsuspecting minds of trusting citizens are too innocent, and a gentle citizenry may not immediately come to grips with the antics of economic greed by politicians and their financial backers. Even though we feel the pain of the injustice and inequality in the distribution of the national wealth, often they are so overwhelming that we seem helpless and give up. Economic evildoers and their lobbyists seem more powerful than all the citizens of many nations combined.
When the American public needs replacement parts to fix the flimsy products, there are no replacement parts to be found in the large stores. The common reply to the search for replacement parts is that the new items are bigger and better than what is broken. The bigger and better, of course, refers to the peddler's profits; peddlers have little concern about the financial straits of their customers.
God expects us to clip the wings of powerful "paper barons" in the community, the nation, and the world. God sees our needs, and he wants us to bring about change and correct an evil situation. The masses of American consumers have greater power than all the powers of "paper barons" in the world combined.
God demands first-class stewardship of time, talents, and resources.
In the modern concept of global economics, a few select nations control the rest of the world as a matter of greed. Global economics is colonization in disguise. The "paper barons" of international conglomerates and ruthless politicians may temporarily fool the public with their business glamor, but God expects our trust and faith through the spiritual connection with God in our consumption of his wealth on Earth.
Hockey stick cowboys are the paper barons of global economics. They talk fast. They talk smooth to gain control.
More than in any other human discipline in the world, economics is full of wolves in sheep's clothing. Christ has warned us about greedy people whose modus operandi is the promotion of falsehoods through misleading statements or selfish business practices. Peers in commerce, industry, and financial institutions have coined the phrase "hockey stick cowboys" to identify co-workers whose ambition is rise to power through the promotion of falsehoods. Hockey stick cowboys are ruthless "paper barons." They talk fast. They talk smooth. They want full control of the global economy.
"Hockey stick cowboys" force themselves onto center stage by criticizing conservative management as not aggressive enough for growth. Their growth charts always start out flat to criticize past performance. But once they are in charge, their hockey stick theories of growth opportunities turn into projections, and the exponential growth opportunities that a hockey stick implies never materialize. Hockey stick cowboys take advantage of style without substance. Style without substance has ruined many established businesses, and the employees of defunct enterprises suffer the consequences of folly in leadership when the business fails.
Christ tells us how to identify "paper barons." Christ says: "Look at the fruit of their labor. Evil cannot grow good fruit."
The evil in economics is commonly the fruit of indifferent business leaders, whose prime qualification for dealing with God's wealth is not rooted in the wisdom of God but is based on a piece of paper that bestows on them the secular title of master in business administration. "Paper barons" arrogantly believe that a master's degree from a business school entitles them to rule over God's wealth.
God says: "Wisdom comes with experience. Wisdom is not book knowledge. Wise business leaders are entrepreneurs with vision. They build on their vision, and they know how to correct evil situations. They maintain what they built. On the other hand, book-smart business leaders tear things down. And they flee the scene to pursue other opportunities when chaos confronts them."
Inspired stewards of God work responsibly the stewardship role and provide justly for their co-workers in commerce, industry, and financial institutions according to the precepts of ethics, justice, and faith. Inspired stewards supply the needs of employees and customers as a matter of public trust, where justice and equality are prime movers for economic stability and growth.
Whereas "paper barons" fight for their power, God honors his inspired stewards with dignity and respect, and common people also honor and respect faithful stewards as they have demonstrated responsible leadership in commerce and industry for the well being of all.
While the majorities of business leaders are faithful stewards of God's wealth and deal honestly with his people in economic matters, "paper barons" take advantage of doubts and then step in to commandeer a marginal economic situation to their personal advantage and gain. Their modus operandi are promises of unlimited growth and high profits. God calls it style without substance. They are the politicians who will promise anything that the public wants to hear. God has been impatiently watching how "paper barons" have bartered away a strong manufacturing base and subsequently eroded the quality of life for peaceable families and diligent workers in modern America.
The global economy is the supply engine for food and medicine in underdeveloped countries. The pressure is now on inspired business leaders in successful economies to be compassionate and attend to the needs of starving and sick people. Any failure to meet the physical needs of suffering people spells disaster for the global economy--and the global supply engine will sputter or may even explode.
The mission of global economics is to fill physical needs.
The mission for the modern world is to fill needs--physical and spiritual. Economics is the business of filling physical needs. Life in the world revolves around basic needs. Global economics is a system driven by needs. Our way of filling these needs to God's satisfaction will determine destinies.
Selfish desires are as real as life itself. It is up to us to adjust our ambitions to God's satisfaction and his plan for creation. Any desires beyond the basics for quality of life are greed. Good economics is having enough resources for each day. Anything beyond that is evil. Therefore, we rely on God's wisdom to stop us when enough is enough.
As human beings in the modern world we desire spiritual satisfaction without having to give up physical pleasures. But this cannot be. We can't have both. It is now up to us to prioritize and find the high ground for quality of life. The choice is ours. But so are the consequences of our decision. While God carefully watches our actions in this conflict of spirit and flesh, he will not influence our decision.
The human side of economics
Cain's calculating view of his relationship with the living God had become formalized into a simple formula of economics.
We carry on as Adam did. He denied God's generosity of life in paradise. Adam rejected life in the presence of God. We too deny God in the modern world, though God made the world we live in. God beckons for an active role in our lives, but we refuse him entry.
Our failure to be grateful for the presence of God in daily life leads us astray. In the subsequent confusion, all uncommitted people, like Cain in Biblical times, are ideal candidates for God's concern.
Biblical literature has preserved divine truth to act as guidance and direction for life: "In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.' Cain said to Abel his brother, 'Let us go out to the field.' And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him." (Genesis 4:3-8)
In the Biblical legend, Cain had great ambition to prove his humanity. He wanted to make it on his own; his human aspirations overpowered his senses. Ambition and aspirations condemned Cain to commit murder.
In these modern times, we are even more blessed than Cain was. Yet many people reject God's offer of support. The Holy Spirit is our companion, counselor, and guide. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is our friend. God in Christ is generously sharing his life with us. We are humbled to invite him into our hearts. In our relationship with God all other things are superfluous. We are indeed the choice of God's creation. Why, then, do many of God's people reject the presence of God in their lives?
Despite God's assessment of the evil in envy and greed, there are legions in the world today who scorn knowledge and enlightenment through the truth of Christ's teaching. They continue a way of life similar to Cain's. Cain had chosen a life in total ignorance of his spiritual identity.
Cain's calculating view of his relationship with the living God had become formalized into a simple formula of economics.
Whereas Abel dedicated himself to God when he brought the first lamb born to one of his sheep, killed it, and gave the best parts of it as an offering, Cain considered some of his fruit harvest just fine for meeting the minimum requirement for assurance of God's blessing and favor. But God found only Abel's offering acceptable. Abel had truly presented himself and committed his entire future into God's hands.
The evidence indicates that Abel knew God as a matter of trust. Abel relied on God to provide for all his future needs. But we also learn from the demise of Abel that faithful and obedient people face danger whenever they make known their commitment. History has proven over and over again that the world has never suffered from a shortage of Cains.
We find modern Cains exploiting family, friends, co-workers, the community, and the nation by working the rule of getting the most for the least.
Greedy and envious people are in the world wherever we go. They are part of a Christian's challenge to make known the living God to all people in the world. This also includes bringing the witness of divine grace in equal measure even to the Cains of this world.
Thus, Christ is telling all followers to carry their own crosses when doing God's work in service to God and people. The instructions are clear: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
Yet despite knowledge of Christ's commands to change the self-destructive ways of the past and believe in the Gospel, people continue to choose living in the curse of Cain. Selfishness is driving these possessed souls to the idol worship of accumulated wealth. In their self-assertion, people work themselves to death.
As a direct consequence of self-assertive obsession, greed makes people useless in doing the work of God, for there is not to be found among them even the slightest concern with the Kingdom of God and what he requires. In its stead we see ruthless wielding of power, whose foundation is not God but accumulated wealth.
We find these modern Cains exploiting family, friends, co-workers, and the community by working the rule of getting the most for the least. They will remind those associated with them that it is a privilege to be working together. They are generous with sweet talk. It does not cost them anything. Some even do it in full knowledge of any oppressive burdens they themselves have placed on others.
The poor and the destitute are relegated to subhuman levels of existence. There is little or no hope for the better way of life for the less fortunate simply because all opportunities for advancement are viciously guarded, even the ones that people of influence and power administer as a matter of public trust.
Yet, like Cain, these arrogant "benefactors" of society scowl whenever they see the grace of God uplifting downtrodden spirits. They are jealous of happiness in others whenever the power of God's love is seen active and real. The glow of genuine brotherhood among poor but inspired people is seen in their sharing and caring for each other.
As the love of God is real among the faithful and the obedient disciples of Christ, so is the anger of arrogant people, as they sense that their phony piety does not measure up to God's expectation that demands true love in return for Grace.
Christ's teaching is clear that only those who live in a state of sincere humility of the spirit will be able to share the Kingdom of Heaven as rightful heirs together with Christ.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ promises true happiness. Christ's promise is universal truth. It requires that we fully know our identity. We must recognize that the status of restored fellowship with God is based on the righteousness of God alone and handed to believers in Christ as a gift of grace. This eternal truth must be clearly established in our mind even before we attempt to refresh our memories about whose we truly are.
Only when Christians see each other as children of the true and living God can Christianity be acclaimed as containing the principles of the one eternal truth and the one universal salvation. Its followers are like "light for the whole world."
People who live according to worldly standards will want to push spiritual involvement aside. So we hear the scornful, though seemingly logical question: "What does the spirit have to do with the price of bananas?"
But as quickly as green bananas ripen and spoil, so will the short human pilgrimage on Earth come to a sudden end.
This sad result will come about because people have failed to realize their spiritual identity. They have failed to recognize God's purpose for their lives. What must we do? This question implies desperation. Seekers of truth will have their answer in the spiritual connection with God.
To realize God's blessing we must humble ourselves and, in the humility of our spirit, desire to put our lives in harmony with the will and purpose of God.
Because despair is an ultimate consequence of faithlessness, all hope for a better future has vanished. In their hopelessness people will see eternity fleeting by right before their eyes.
There is no such thing as a second chance for recapturing time. Nor can the entries in the Book of Life be rewritten or amended by human effort.
Past experiences--good and bad alike--are history. Time is God's way of giving people a new beginning in preparation for meeting Christ on the Day of Judgment. Christians are told to let bygones be bygones: "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)
Some people are more interested in raising their self-esteem within the realm of worldly affairs than being concerned with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires. They will protest that words with spiritual connotations are meaningless to them.
People whose only intentions are worldly considerations want to see the power of the Word of God reduced to the level where it will serve them. This reasoning is the biggest excuse for not wanting to make a commitment of dedication to God through Christ.
Like all other self-serving approaches to life, so is this unwarranted demand to make religion understandable nothing more than a trick. It has been in existence ever since the church was formed; it wants to cheapen the grace of God by making religion worldlier. Yet there is no justification for lowering God's expectations of faithful witness to the Gospel. We must recognize that the Kingdom of God and the world are not meant to be reconciled and that the Spirit has authority and power of the physical and emotional being of man.
In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus warns that accumulated wealth cannot be transferred to Heaven (Luke 12:16-20). True wealth is the hope of eternal life. All faithful and obedient people will share with Christ in the glory of God.
If as Christians we fail to speak up and defend what is right, we are guilty of contributing to the tensions of others. For instance, this is the case when economic hardship is caused by deficit spending. We are involved and responsible when we approve the action of government to pay for any programs that may benefit us now but whose debentures have dire consequences on the livelihood of future generations.
We rob our children of their potential in the future by tapping this potential to pay our commitments. We are guilty of dragging future generations, not at all connected with our difficulties, into our predicaments.
Deficit spending and inflation are the two major economic burdens in modern times. Even when inflation is at a low level, it diminishes the value of fixed assets and set income.
People and institutions alike feel the effects of inflation. From 1953 to the 1970s people in America have seen the biggest inflation in its history. During this period creeping inflation of 1-6 percent per year--some years even higher--has raised havoc with the best of intentions in budgeting and planning. Grocery prices are constantly on the rise while the contents of packages are getting smaller. Families are hurting to keep up with the cost of living. The increasing cost of the market basket neutralizes raises in income, while those on fixed incomes see their purchasing power diminished.
How does the high cost of living create family problems? the issue goes beyond basic survival of the family.
We must look at the well being of children in households where both parents are forced to work in order to cover expenses. The immediate effect is a generation of youth that has to raise itself. Is it then any wonder that such children are full of frustration, because there is no family outlet for their adventures in life?
Even if children manage to keep their stories bottled up till evening, they seldom will be heard as exhausted parents return from a hard day's work--and even two jobs--and don't want to be bothered with matters so seemingly insignificant as a child's discovery.
We see the retired, whose savings have evaporated as inflation has reduced the value of money. We find homes being confiscated for taxes. People cannot afford to live in the residences they have legally paid for.
One of the greatest economic injustices occurs in industrialized society. It is not right to force a dedicated breadwinner in the prime of life into unemployment because reorganization has eliminated senior positions.
Why focus on hard-working individuals and families during times of economic hardship?
If we don't, no one else will. Hardworking individuals always are forced to carry the burden of bad decisions. In searching for causes of economic disasters we must always keep before us the tired faces of people who are hurting by the actions of "paper barons" or impulsive politicians and governments. Economics is not just a numbers game. The human side of economics is a story of the oppression of ordinary, hard-working people.
The spiritual renewal of America for economic independence and freedom from stress
God looks with compassion at modern America, and he suffers with the victims of economic abuse. With scorn he addresses the arrogant and seemingly invincible "paper barons" and impulsive politicians: "You have become too big for your breeches. All the world's resources are mine. Your greedy appetite and lust for power are wasting what belongs to me and all my people!"
And God continues: "I have made America the bastion of free enterprise. You have eliminated your competitors by swallowing them up one by one, not with your own money but at the expense of my people. You have borrowed money and then passed on the cost of your insatiable growth to the consumers. They carry the burden of your grandiose schemes through higher costs of the market basket or smaller food packages. In your grandiose plots you start new ventures with borrowed money and then fold them up when things do not work out. Who do you think is absorbing the loss? Surely it is not your financial backers. They are even greedier than you are. They are in business to make money no matter what. And look at your accounting schemes. Suddenly you play the fool, claiming that you do not know what is happening. You know how to give yourselves huge salaries, bonuses, and generous pensions. My people must pay for them by your denying jobs, health coverage, and pensions for my hard-working people."
God's voice now thunders: "By what rules do you gamble the hard-earned savings of my working people in 401(k) plans? Who decides that you have the right to declare a stock under value or encourage companies to dilute the number of shares? Who do you think is picking up the tab when your schemes fail? Unscrupulous institutional managers of the public trust are great evils in modern times. A lot of money is changing hands without control and without consideration of the needs of the owner."
God says: "You pay obnoxiously high salaries in professional sports. Whose money is it that you are wasting? You recover every penny through advertisements of the products my people must buy in order to live. But it is my people who must swallow with each spoon of food the bitterness of your schemes. I, the Lord, have spoken."
In the past, families envisioned great times as industries grew and so did employment, and the future was promising. Enlightened entrepreneurs looked protectively after workers; those leaders less inclined to share the wealth were obliged to sign labor contracts through unions. In either situation industry and the American workforce was a viable partnership, each partner benefiting through benevolent relationships. Even when work was slow during recessions or depressions, local employers cared for struggling families.
Unfortunately, it took wars to perk up sagging economies. Two world wars lifted industry out of the doldrums. During each national crisis the American workers were ready to pitch in and do their part. They did not debate. They simply helped. A job needed to be done, and they were there to do it.
Enlightened entrepreneurs remembered that each worker had to support a family, so they compensated their workers fairly. Quality of life in the early period of America's industrialization consisted of family, the church, and an unyielding faith in God. As the family enjoyed income security, they had time to share. And they shared laughter, often in the company of friends and neighbors. Because the employers were benevolent, there was great respect for business leaders. Business ethics were crowned with an unwritten commitment to look out for each other at all times. Accounting was simple and free of tricks. Honesty and fairness fostered respect in the workplace. God was happy because his people were satisfied.
Industrialization was conceived to make life simpler, more abundant, and more secure. America was producing things in large volumes to make them affordable. America had a sound manufacturing base, and America was making money. Sunrise and sunset defined the day for work and shopping. Evenings were for the family, and Sundays were days of rest for fun and laughter. God was the center of family life.
Subtle changes gradually appeared on the horizon. "Efficiency experts" entered the scene. There were shifts away from the personal relationships workers enjoyed with entrepreneurs. Professional managers appeared to run the business on a new and impersonal platform. The new focus was on the bottom line. Ethics was put into the back seat, and the once-vital work ethic slowly faded into oblivion. The 1960s saw the beginning of the end of manufacturing in America.
This shift broke the backbone of the American economy. Cheap labor overseas overpowered the American workforce with the approval of management. The American workforce in textiles, shoes, and eventually high technology was hung out to dry by its business leadership. Besides the loss of jobs, America is losing all rights to genuine American technology. Business leaders claim to need the technology transfer to manufacture their products overseas. God is troubled.
God says: "My wealth in America belongs to the American people. It is my gift to them." God admonishes America's leadership--business leaders and politicians alike--concerning job losses: "When you scorn the American workforce as an expense that is prohibitive, you are attacking the foundation of the American dream that I put in place for a bright future of job stability and family income. You are attacking the foundation of the American dream that I put in place for a bright future of job stability and family income. You are attacking me when you take work away from my people. Your cheap labor tactics are now the cause of many social ills in America. Your greedy appetite is placing the American family in jeopardy. Your greed is a monster that gnaws at the hope and dreams of my people. And that is not all. You now sell in America for dollars what you have manufactured offshore for cents. Your exploitation of cheap labor markets is slavery. Your greed is responsible for hatred and wars because exploited people feel the injustice done to them. You are fools if you think that I will let you get away with it. Beware of your greed. Greed is a killer. I will not stop your greed, for eventually your own greed will destroy you in due time. Repent therefore. I, the Lord, have spoken."
RAYS OF HOPE AND FREEDOM
My life was in chaos.
Darkness clouded my senses,
My heart trembled in fear.
I prayed to God:
"Father, help me!"
And God transformed my life.
The world is still the same.
But I am now secure:
Christ is my Savior!
His love fills my heart,
His faith is my faith.
Rays of hope now light up my soul.
Rays of hope and freedom
Show me the way to God,
And where Christ lives I too will live.
Copyright (C) 2009 by Kurt Koppetsch/Shepherd News Trust. All rights reserved.
(Excerpt from the books I.D. Crisis and Era of Faith by Kurt Koppetsch, published by Shepherd News Trust, Inc.--www.shepherdnewstrust.com)
This blog will run the entire month of January 2010.
Starting in February 2010 Series 8 of 20: