Economic Justice

Bryan Bissell shares these thoughts and resources:

Most people know intuitively that large income gaps are very harmful to everyone. This is explicitly what the Bible’s Jubilee economic principles were designed to prevent.

Now we have conclusive evidence that proves it. If you haven’t watched any of my other links, watch this one.
http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html
http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/
http://www.slideshare.net/equalitytrust

Then take this 30 day course on Biblical Jubilee economics here.

Christians following biblical economics in JUST the last 20 years have directly helped 1.3 billion people around the world to escape horrific poverty. This is the kind of result that happens when people take God’s principles seriously.

Note that in the above video, Dr. Wilkinson shows that large income gaps are even harmful to the rich, not just the poor and middle class.

I’ve long been interested in many economic issues…ranging from how the seminal work “Economic Demo…cracy” and how capitalism, socialism and communism all ignore basic human economic rights, to theories on GNH (Gross National Happiness) to campaigns for basic economic rights for all. Even though I did a major in religion, and I know many pastors, I had no idea about most of the Bible principles on economics until about 2004. I was quite surprised to find that God’s principles of economics can and are helping solve many problems of poverty in our modern times.

Recently, I found that in just the last 20 years, ~1.3 billion people have escaped poverty due to Bible principles. How? In Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15, and other places the Bible lists at least 13 economic principles that God promises can reduce and even end poverty if followed:

1) Natural resources, the source of nearly all wealth in history, belong to society since God made them, not people are a natural right for all people. Those who profit from them owe society a large share of the profits since they didn’t make them.
2) Investment in win-win situations is admirable and wise. Charging interest in win-lose situations is evil.
3) Cancel debts every 7 years to get people out of that prison,
4) Trade must be fair.
5)Taxes should be limited to ~2%
and others can be found here:
http://eslmission.truth-is-life.org/resources.php?id=5 (open file #17 and click to the section on 13 Bible economics principles)

Professor Dent (a politics lecturer at the University of Keele in England) began talking about canceling debt for poor nations based on the Bible’s Jubilee principle of canceling debt for poor people after 7 years because he thought it would give relief to millions who were in unfair debt slavery for money they had never benefited from (http://cases.som.yale.edu/jubilee/). His students, pastors and churches quickly joined this Jubilee based campaign, forming its bedrock activist base and called it the Jubilee2000 campaign. NGOs and many others joined as well and eventually it inspired the ONE campaign with 400 NGOs and numerous politicians, businessmen, actors and singers promoting the cause and directly influenced the adoption of the Millenium Development Goals. (see “DEBT CANCELLATION AND CIVIL SOCIETY: A CASE STUDY OF JUBILEE 2000” by Nick Buxton. See file #26 here: http://eslmission.truth-is-life.org/resources.php?id=5)

This campaign has now achieved these results:
• 18 countries debt has been cancelled.
• ~$107 billion of debt has been cancelled in the last 10 years!
• Aid has been doubled to $50 billion!
• Millions of lives have been saved & 42 million more children are now in school!
• 1.3 billion (yes, with a B) have been lifted out of poverty (TEDxChange: Melinda French Gates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEPjEimKrJs…also at http://www.ted.com/talks/melinda_french_gates_what_nonprofits_can_learn_from_coca_cola.html)

Melinda Gates says, “We’ve made more progress in the last 10 years than in any other period in history combined.” She unfortunately didn’t say anything about the fact that it all started with Bible principles, a Christian professor and churches taking a couple biblical economic principles seriously (and there are others that could be far more beneficial than even these).
See more at http://www.jubileeusa.org/, www.makepovertyhistory.org, www.one.org, www.oxfam.org/

I have involved my students in this campaign and given presentations on how to integrate it into TEFL classes. Doing things like this is critical since it makes studying much more interesting and connected to real life and also because students are actively involved in making a BIG difference in real life. How big? In this case my students who joined this movement were part of the movement that helped 1.3 billion people escape poverty in the last 20 years.

They learned English skills, presentation skills AND helped changed the world AND learned that God’s principles can also work to change the world THESE days. What could possibly be better than that???

There is still much to do and a new campaign is happening here, with churches again leading the way:
http://www.live58.org/thefilm/

[H]ere’s a book that’s at a scholarly level and finished, one of the best I know of on why capitalism now is so abusive.
http://www.ied.info/books/economic-democracy-world-peace

Thanks for asking the question, because it made me recheck one website and found several new really nicely designed pages on this that are shorter and easier to understand than the scholarly book above:
http://www.answersanswers.com/landrent.html
http://www.answersanswers.com/land_rent_proof.html#history http://www.answersanswers.com/land_rent_proof.html#proof

Throughout history, great leaders have observed that taxing land is a much better idea than taxing other things. And great thinkers have said that the natural bounty of the land belongs to all. And throughout history, great land owners have opposed this simple human right and economic justice that would eliminate massive numbers of problems and has demonstrably done that in history. It has almost nothing to do with what happened in Zimbabwe. For details, see also these sites (they are somewhat similar to the above ones, but just have a few more cases/quotes)
http://www.progress.org/geonomy/Earth.html
http://www.progress.org/geonomy/Numbers.html

But, even the simple for EFL students versions ALL had solutions that have worked in RECENT times, ALL. They are precisely the solutions that were part of the effective solutions in bringing 1.3 billion people out of poverty in the last 23 years. To be specific:
1) Cancel debt of poor nations
2) Double aid to poor countries and
3) Make trade fair (this one is still being worked on, but some progress has been made.).

There are 13+ Bible principles, some that are even more effective than the ones above, esp. the sharing natural resources one and many intellectuals who agree with them.

Open file #17 here:
http://eslmission.truth-is-life.org/resources.php?id=5
and click or ctrl-click on the section “13 BIBLICAL ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES & INTELLECTUALS WHO AGREE WITH THEM”

Land Rent and Jubilee work on the same principles. At the present time, I don’t see how the Jubilee land separation can be implemented without quite a bit of violence. Land Rent however is very simple and based on the same philosophy. Maybe one way to do it would be go to land rent as a transition to Jubilee. I don’t know if you’re an SDA or not, but Ellen White said this:
” If men would give more heed to the teaching of God’s Word, they would find a solution of these problems that perplex them. Much might be learned from the Old Testament in regard to the labor question and the relief of the poor. In God’s plan for Israel every family had a home on the land, with sufficient ground for tilling. Thus were provided both the means and the incentive for a useful, industrious, and self-supporting life. And no devising of men has ever improved upon that plan. To the world’s departure from it is owing, to a large degree, the poverty and wretchedness that exist today. . . . {WM 195.3}

Also see these links:
Land Rent Explained: http://www.henrygeorge.org/rem1.htm

100s of quotes from great thinker on why sharing nature is essential. http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/georgism_01.html

Summary of some aspects of the biblical Jubilee System. http://www.landreform.org/reading0.htm

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