Many questions are being asked about how sustainable the current global economic climate is. In fact it seems that even the so called economic experts have run out of ideas on how to tackle the issues that are at hand and escalating towards breaking point.
Richest 1% own more than the other 99% combined
Oxfam International an organisation whose vision is to fight for a just world without poverty released their annual report a few days ago and reported that the richest 1% of the world’s population will have as much wealth as the other 99% combined by next year. “The richest 1% has seen their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014,” Oxfam says in the report. At that rate, the wealthiest will own more than 50% by next year, according to the report.
“Do we really want to live in a world where the 1% own more than the rest of us combined?” asked Winnie Byanyima, executive director of the international aid agency. The 80 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people, the report says.
The Desynchronization of the Global Economy
On the 30th Dec 2014 George Friedman the Chairman of Stratfor, a leader in the field of global intelligence wrote an article titled the ‘The Top 5 Events of 2014’ and one of those points was ‘The Desynchronization of the Global Economy’.
Below is what he wrote about this point and I have highlighted some critical points that I believe we need to take notice of –
“Europe is predicted to see little to no growth in 2015, with some areas in recession or even depression already. China has not been able to recover its growth rate since 2008 and is moving sideways at best. The United States announced a revision indicating that it grew at a rate of 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014. Japan is in deep recession. That the major economic centres of the world are completely out of synch with each other, not only statistically but also structurally, indicates that a major shift in how the world works may be underway.
The dire predictions for the U.S. economy that were floated in the wake of the 2008 crisis have not materialized. There has been neither hyperinflation nor deflation. The economy did not collapse. Rather, it has slowly but systematically climbed out of its hole in terms of both growth and unemployment. The forecast that China would shortly overtake the United States as the world’s leading economy has been delayed at least. The forecast that Europe would demonstrate that the “Anglo-Saxon” economic model is inferior to Europe’s more statist and socially sensitive approach has been disproven. And the assumption that Japan’s dysfunction would lead to massive defaults also has not happened.
The desynchronization of the international system raises questions about what globalization means, and whether it has any meaning at all. But a major crisis is occurring in economic theory. The forecasts made by many leading economists in the wake of 2008 have not come to pass. Just as Milton Friedman replaced John Maynard Keynes as the defining theorist, we are awaiting a new comprehensive explanation for how the economic world is working today, since neither Keynes nor Friedman seem sufficient any longer. A crisis in economic theory is not merely an academic affair. Investment decisions, career choices and savings plans all pivot on how we understand the economic world. At the moment, the only thing that can be said is that the world is filled with things that need explaining.” (End of quote)
The world is filled with things that need explaining
I want to pick up on the last statement he made – ‘At the moment, the only thing that can be said is that the world is filled with things that need explaining’ because I believe this summarizes much of the sentiment in the global economy. In a nutshell what this says to me is that we have entered into the era or season where the world is beginning to question the man-derived theory of how things are supposed to work. As far as I am concerned it is pointing to the failure of the wisdom of man because there are principles which the Creator set in place about how His creation is supposed to work and a huge part of that divine framework is the economy.(1 Corinthians 1:19-20 says – As the Scriptures say, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.’ So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish). Are we perhaps at that stage now where most of what we see happening in the world can no longer be explained and solved by the wisdom of man and now requires the secrets of the wisdom of God to be brought to the fore?
God gave mankind the only economic system that will work
God’s very first words to mankind in Genesis 1:28 included an all-encompassing economic mandate. (Genesis 1:28 – And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.) God then went on all through the bible from Genesis to Revelation to unpack what that economic system looks like and how we should function within it. It’s foremost a system that recognizes that God created an earth with vast resources (so that all of mankind can experience His promise of abundance). It recognizes that God is the owner of all and we are his stewards given the task to use the gifts, skills and talents (the personal capital) He has given us to multiply economic potential and create wealth in a way that glorifies HIM and benefits mankind. This multiplication happens through creativity and innovation (since we are created in His image) and through work – being productive. God’s Kingdom economy rewards those who use ‘what is in their hand’ (all available capital at their disposal) productively (Luke 19:11-27) to generate increase. It’s a system that allows people to build wealth by generating financial profit while at the same time being spiritually profitable (complete obedience to God), relationally profitable (loving people), personally profitable (living a balanced life) and societally profitable (being a blessing to the world). God was at great lengths in the bible to give a step by step framework of His economic system, how it works and how we should participate in it; and I believe this is what the world is desperately seeking right now.
World Economic Forum
As I am writing this article (21st Jan 2015), world leaders are gathered at the 45th World Economic Forum in Davos trying to find solutions to the global economy. My biggest prayer is that there are some people at this Forum who have the wisdom of God to boldly layout the answers the world is so desperately looking for otherwise not much will change as a result of this gathering.
The economic reset button
The world can’t explain the economy anymore, 1% of the population think that they can own, control and boast in what is God’s, nations are printing money to manipulate the markets, the so called most powerful nations are sinking in a downward spiral of debt that they can no longer manage – the list goes on and on. I wonder if God is getting ready to press the economic reset button and bring the system of greed, materialism and the worship of mammon crashing down. Is He perhaps shouting for His people to come out of Babylon – Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.”(Revelation 18:4)