This may sound harsh: The shamans of this age are the economists who cast themselves in the garb of the “wise men of prosperity”. This is not an exaggeration; it is a clear-eyed perspective on what is reality. The proofs are clear and obvious.
While they hold themselves out as the high priests of Mammon, they rely upon false precepts. Here are the major reasons why much macro-economic theory today is vulnerable and wrong.
1. Firstly, it is a secular field of study which is not a science and is subject to psychology (which is also not a science).
2. Its popular theories make no reference to morality or the fallen nature of man.
3. It is fraudulent in that it treats the behavioural choices of mankind as a science and ignores the metaphysical properties of human affections and money.
4. Moreover, it endorses the humanist prescriptions for the “happiness” of man.
The proof of this opinion is in the pudding. How so? The record of the predictions made by mainstream economists is abysmal. There is no correlation to correctness whatsoever. As John Kenneth Galbraith once quipped, “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”
Their predictions are completely unreliable…and often fraudulent and immoral. A staggering example of this was the eruption of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. The macroeconomics community did not see it coming; instead, they continued to prophesy prosperity. Today, though no small number of economists are concerned about the complete failure and invalidation of their profession, there still is no consensus as to the causes of the GFC, although the causes are plainly seen by anyone with a measure of common sense.
That was only a few years ago. Today, we see a much, much worse situation. Astoundingly, the failed macro-economics advisers still continue to have the ear of governments and transnational organizations like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and others despite the fact they have been resoundingly defrocked. Their prescriptions today are therefore ever more ridiculous and corrupt.
It is remarkable to observe the immorality that is overlooked in the prescriptions of the modern-day political economy. Frankly, it is stupefying. The fact that financial and systemic problems around the globe remain serious, no doubt has created an environment of urgency and desperation for policymakers.
The Laughable Advice of the False Priests
There were many causes of the Global Financial Crisis, some of these building up over decades. Finally, several years ago, the breaking point arrived. When we say that the causes are commonsensical — discernible to anyone with common sense and moral fibre — we do not necessarily mean to imply a simplistic analysis.
Let’s face it. Policymakers had been spitting in the face of obvious consequences for decades. Did anyone ever really believe that aging populations would not have a serious effect on economic healthfulness?
Just who thought up the great lie that financial markets and pension systems would surely absolve societies from low birth rates? The source of all productive wealth, everything being equal, is human labor. Without humans and without labor there could be no such thing as wealth. The Bible says “Children are a gift from the LORD; a productive womb, the Lord’s reward. As arrows in the hand of a warrior, so also are children born during one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be ashamed as they confront their enemies at the city gate” (Psalms 127:3-5). Of course, people are free to make their own choices with respect to the choice of their “treasure.” In doing so, one also chooses consequences.
In all seriousness (as this may be thought a joke) many economists today continue to argue that more debt is the solution to current economic problems. Without a doubt, soaring indebtedness and its hand-maiden — the increasing concentration of wealth — have played a foundational role in setting the stage for ground-shaking crises such as the GFC. Therefore, would more debt and even richer elites be the solution? Yes, say many economist scribes.
Even more remarkably, such policymakers as Dr. Ben Bernanke (head of the U.S. central bank) and Mario Draghi (head of the European Central Bank) (these the two most powerful central banks in the world) are celebrated today for their actions of massive money printing and support of increasing government indebtedness. They are considered geniuses. However, the cheering section celebrates much too soon. The final and most terrible consequences have yet to come. Observers and commentators confuse the pleasures of sin with the wages of sin. Short-term deferral only leads to greater consequences over the long-term; the Bible outlines the folly of such thinking.
Next, as public unrest and protests are rising around the world, virtually to a person, people are rejecting the inconvenience of the solutions to past excesses. Now that the harsh consequences of spendthrift ways and reckless and deceitful policies have arrived, people blame “austerity” policies for their hardships. You reap what you sow and not the other way around. If one has borrowed too much, is it then unjust suffering to be required to pay it back? If an individual or government has been a poor steward, living beyond their means, is it unreasonable to reduce one’s spending? Apparently so, according to the popular mores of societies today.
The Immoral “High Science” of Modern Economics
On the strength of Biblical benchmarks of truth and righteousness, we have made the statement that much of modern-day economic policy is corrupt and immoral. Let us cite a few simple examples as proof.
There is now virtual consensus that countries need to have their own currencies if they are to weather the unwanted consequences of their unwise fiscal or monetary policies. Why? So it is easier for them to transfer the burden of their misalignments to the rest of the world through currency debasement. In a number of ways, this is the same as stealing. It forces losses on foreign creditors and also has the stealthy impact of illicitly transferring wealth. But never mind. To do so is considered wise and sophisticated policy, endorsed by the shamans of prosperity. The morality of this “science” is never questioned.
The frequent question is then how a country can rescue its economy without raising debt further? Why, you must print new money, literally creating money with the stroke of a pen or the click of a mouse. Effectively, this is happening today in many nations. In short, what this means again is that there are illicit wealth transfers between different members of society and theft must be officially endorsed. The victims may be the retired, the elderly, or the defenceless. Those in the know tend to become wealthier while the unwitting become ever poorer.
The Bible comments on the similar conditions that afflicted both Israel and Judah in Old Testament times: “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice” (Ezekiel 22:29). There are many similar indictments from the Bible that we could quote. These all apply to conditions that we see in financial markets and economies today.
Another most perverse example is that, again, the wages of past wrongs are confused with the cause of the problem. In other words, it is not the original “wrong” that is blamed, but rather the rectification and fixes required to right the past wrong. What is the answer to this dilemma today? Stop the fixing! Let’s not pay for the past wrongs because it is unpopular and will not re-elect politicians. Let’s instead repudiate our debts and default on our loans. Again, there are plenty of shaman economists today who counsel the wisdom of default to individual countries. What they also fail to recognize (besides its sheer immorality) is that were all the nations of the world to follow this advice, there would be an utter collapse of global financial systems.
There are many other delusions that are being prescribed by policy economists today that we could outline. Suffice it to say that the attitude of the nations is pretty much as it was in the time of Isaiah. “They say to the seers, ‘Don’t see visions,’ and to the prophets, ‘Don’t give us visions of what is right! Instead, tell us welcome things, prophesy illusions’” (Isaiah 30:10). The only difference is that this condition today applies globally and not to just one country as was the case in ancient Israel.
With this comes a dire warning: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). These “woes” are already afflicting the world today.
Mount Carmel Defrocking
Today’s desperate calls and ravings of the macroeconomic policymakers mirror the time of Elijah’s challenges to the many priests of Baal and Asherah on Mount Carmel (See 1 Kings 18). Their beliefs and chants were totally ineffectual. They could not summon Baal to light their altar. Moreover, none seemed to acknowledge that the three year drought in Samaria at that time had been the very consequences of their policies to begin with. The Bible does not state it as such, although the essence is the same. God allowed the drought because Israel had turned to worship pagan gods. These pagan gods had different and immoral prescriptions for “prosperity.” “The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols” (Jeremiah 2:8).
What about the monetary charlatans and magicians of today? Does the Bible have anything to say about them? Very definitely!
The Bible on Economists Today
The Bible frequently talks of scales (or “balances” in the KJV). Honest scales were a command to the Hebrews: “Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin” (Leviticus 19:36). The prophet Ezekiel warned Israel and Judah: “You are to use accurate scales, an accurate ephah and an accurate bath” (Ezekiel 45:10). This is a most serious indictment and the writer of Proverbs confirms the intensity of this command numerous times. God “detests dishonest scales” (Proverbs 11:1, 20:23).
Moreover this simple statement about scales strikes right to the heart of modern-day monetary and economic conditions. The scales have been tampered with in monstrous fashion. The weights from the “bag” are subjective, illusory and corrupt.
In this connection, the OT prophets indicate to us how economically corrupt Israel had become: “The merchant uses dishonest scales and loves to defraud” (Hosea 12:7). In fact, this attitude of fraud was embedded in society. “’When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?’ — skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales […]” (Amos 8:5). Skimping, boosting, and cheating were eagerly pursued.
In this writer’s opinion, conditions today are much, much worse. Our society accepts that fraud, promotion, untrue advertising, exaggerations, product fillers, “white lies”, greed of corporate executives, biased corporate lobbyists, rigged financial markets, and manipulations of powerful financial elites are the normal way to do business. This is the way of this late age. It will meet its prophesied destiny as God is not mocked.