Part 5:  The Jubilee Economy

The Jubilee economy that God mandated for the prosperity of Israel has in fact never in the history of either Israel or in the world been applied. And yet it is the only realistic plan for universal prosperity.  It is also now possible to implement for the first time in our virtual Covenant Community to show the world the way forward.

As you have noticed I am taking Israel of the Old Testament as my template for the Second Reformation blueprints. This is very much so with regard to the economic laws of the Bible as the basic outline to economic prosperity. My problem with church preachers and the laws of the Torah are that they only take one law seriously and that is tithing and even that they misinterpret. Everything else gets ignored and from that one law supposedly flows miracle money and universal prosperity.  Well I know of some preachers who have prospered mightily from tithing....as the recipients of the tithes!

I don't have to tell you in this limited blog the extent of the international financial debacle that is unfolding. But do your self a favour and do some Google research on things like "the pension crisis", "world debt to GDP", or 47% of Americans the richest country in the world cannot come up with $1000 for an emergency, or "who owns the world's wealth", or "disappearing middle class" and on and on....

In Thursday's (March 2) edition of our South African premier daily business newspaper Business Day was a very long essay article entitled "Capitalists must alter way they do business".  Yeah right...as the scripture asks "Can a leopard change its spots?"  What the article comes down to is no actual prescriptions except to demand more sharing on the basis of a new book and a new study by Harvard economists Porter and Kramer in an article titled "Creating Shared Value".  The idea being that divergent values of capitalists, workers and consumers are creating economic distortions that are destroying the long term prospects for economies. So we must all try to create a system of "shared values" to have equitable distribution of wealth.

Yeah ok, that sounds about as plausible as asking foxes and hens to try to get along through "shares values".  

Which brings me to the point of my call for a parallel Christian Kingdom virtual community which truly have shared values where you can implement these types of "new economic" models the Harvard experts dream about...because folks our there in the world system it's a rat race and dog eat dog and you can forget about changing the nature of the beast...it's not going to happen.

And what else is not going to happen is sudden miracle money prosperity for the majority of Christians in this worldly system.  My wife and I run several businesses all are debt free and we are greatly blessed financially but everywhere I look in the churches people are truly struggling...and they are all mostly faithful givers.

It's the system folks!  Unless we get back to Biblical economic laws then the system only allows a few to really do well while the most live struggling lives in debt and from paycheque to paycheque.

Sp let me give you another vision of Kingdom economic system for prosperity. Last week I introduced the idea of virtual currency and our own banking system. This week I want to introduce you to the concept of the Jubilee Economy.

The Biblical Jubilee

Every preacher and every commentator that I have ever read or heard on the topic of "Jubilee" have it wrong. Let me clarify for you.

You hear "Jubilee" and some one is talking about debt forgiveness.  Wrong! Here is what the Torah concept was.

Every seventh year was to be a Sabbath Year in Israel's law. That meant that at the end of the sixth year there was to be a debt forgiveness. The seventh year was to be a year of rest and restoration of the land and you were to rest and restore yourself.

The Israel was to count 7 times 7 Sabbath Years or 49 years and the 50th year was to be a Jubilee Year (Lev. 25:11). This was to start on the Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the 7th month. (Lev. 25:9).

Debt release was every sixth year of the 7 year Sabbatical cycle.

But the 50th year was an entirely different matter. In this year on the day of Atonement a loud trumpet was to blow through all the land and liberty was to proclaimed through all the land because all national property assets that all the families of Israel originally owned and which the Lord had divided to each tribe and then each tribe had divided to each clan and then to each family....all those capital assets which during the previous 49 years the family had lost through debts or bad harvest or calamity etc....all those assets were to be returned.

The debt forgiveness had already happened in the Sabbatical Year. Being debt free does not necessarily mean "freedom". God said freedom was to be declared when you once again owned productive assets that brought you income!

Now here is the fascinating historical fact. There were numerous debt forgiveness in both the history of Israel as well as in the history of ancient empires like Sumeria, Greece (Solon), Rome etc.

But there has never been a real Jubilee where the productive assets of a nation were divided up to the ownership of the people of the nation.  The communists tried to imitate this by saying the government holds the assets of the nation on behalf of the people.  But we know this was a lie.

What has happened under financial capitalism is that certain favoured people/corporations  have been given access to financial capital through whatever means and used that to purchase productive assets and then used those productive assets to leverage the borrowing of more money to buy more assets. Typically a corporation will get financing at 7-8% and buy an asset that produces a return of atleast 15% and that is sufficient to pay off the debt and allow the asset to be leveraged for more loans.

In this financial capitalist economy we live in the corporate sector is able to mobilize enormous amounts of capital to push out mountains of widgets into the market place with new innovations every year and an endless variety of appealing products. Great if you have money to buy. But people don't have money to buy. Everyone lives on their salary income or what we call labour income. Owners of productive assets live of not just labour income but large amounts of passive income that keeps streaming in even when they are not at the office or the factory. As I set here typing my factory is working away making me money without me having to work.

But that's nice for me...but what about everyone else?  The dirty secret of capitalism is this: The wages of the workers of the world are not enough to pay or consume what the products and services of the companies that they work for produce.  So to find buyers for all the products and services produced this year...banks have created credit so that you can use next year's income now to buy this year what you can only afford in 5 year's time with your present salary.

The result is trillions of debt mounting up all over the world that is ready to implode the world's economy. While the vast majority have little or nothing, the owners of capital have vast financial holdings that accumulate more and more riches while the rest of the world grow poorer and poorer.

Here is God's plan for prosperity:

Every family is to have two sources of income: Income from labour and income from productive assets.

Every Sabbath Year cycle all debts are to be limited to 6 years. Nobody to be enslaved by perpetual and endless unpayable debt. That means creditors knowing this will only lend responsibly.

One year every seven years you need to take  what is called a "Sabbatical" to re-skill  yourself with skills development, or rest, or take off a year for community work or whatever. Your income from that year to come from your assets. This is my understanding of God's commandment to Israel in the 7th year you are to rest and you are to rest the land and you are to eat of what grows on the land.

My interpretation:  The major productive capital asset in those days was land. They did not have factories etc.  A factory was a cow producing milk.  By resting the land it meant increasing the productivity of the land in order to increase your income.  Today I would say the equivalent is that you need to invest one seventh on your income and your time to increase your assets and your skills for greater productivity.

How do we implement a Jubilee Economy?

A Jubilee Economy is where the families and the workers of the nation become shareholders in the productive assets of the nation.  Yes to a certain extent our pension funds invest in company shares and we can buy unit trusts.

But two things must change to level the playing field and to turn into the favour of people over corporations:

1) Families must get same treatment that companies get so that families can build up assets like companies are able to. This is based on the fact that families produce children while companies produce widgets etc Which is more valuable?  That means....
- If top company tax is 28% so must families top rate be.
- If companies get tax deduction for cost of factory, office and transport so must families get tax break for cost of home, car etc
- If cost of factory production is tax deductable so must cost of children raising expenses.

Families are being decapitalized with nothing to pass on to children and grandchildren while companies accumulate vast assets and pay minimal taxes.

2) The financial credit of the nation belongs to the people of the nation. Money only has value because of the productive work of the people give money its value. So...
- if banks create financial credit out of nothing through fractional reserve banking then if that credit is loaned to a corporation then the corporation must be compelled to issue shares to the value of their loan capital and give a major portion of those shares to the workers and another portion to a national pool of shares which pools a vast accumulation of national shares in order to pay a national dividend to each person in the nation so that every person has a basic source of income.

I have many more ideas along this line and implementation strategies but I can tell you the power of corporate capital is so great that I do not see any country in the world implementing these ideas.

That is why I believe we Christians need to have our own parallel economy so that we can implement God's economy into the world...be a witness to the world not only through preaching the Word but living the Word of God in a way that makes the world come to us and say....you have the answer to the economic problems of the world...teach us your ways! (again Micah 4!).

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