The world is experiencing troubled times of confusion and perplexity. Suddenly, long-running trends have stopped or reversed. Past policies are no longer effective. Therefore, policymakers and leaders are frustrated, desperately searching for new solutions. On the one hand, “collective mankind” is prideful. The trends of globalization, globalism, monetarism, and advances in science and technology, etc. have brought about a shrinking planet and many conveniences. Viewed over millennia of history, secular humanity sees itself at a far advanced state — sure that things are destined to keep getting better and better.
However, there is now another narrative to consider … actually, one that is reluctantly forcing itself to be considered in recent times. Most of the factors that had appeared to contribute to humanity’s late great greatness seem to have shifted into neutral or reverse. Policymakers and analysts are coming to realize that some achievements were nothing more than hubris; others incorrectly diagnosed.
Of course, as it was, it was never true that humanity was without its troubles. What of the many new epidemics of dysfunction that have emerged worldwide over recent decades (for example mental depression, grossly unequal wealth distribution, obesity … to name some major ones)? Alongside the celebration of humanism of the past century, wars and strife of many kinds did not subside, among these two world wars.
We do not want to appear churlish by just focusing on the negatives. Mankind indeed has achieved some noteworthy advances. After all, God has blessed humans with skills and creativity. The LORD said “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground […] in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
Moreover, God engaged mankind to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (verse 28). Mankind here is clearly implored to “subdue” the earth. To do so, therefore, is not necessarily an ungodly endeavor. In fact, mankind is even capable of achieving things far beyond what the LORD had intended to be ideal. Consider the “advanced-technology” story of the building of the tower of Babel.
The people of that era (living not long after the flood) “[…] said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth’” (Genesis 11:3-5).
We see here how the people of that day quickly translated their achievements into arrogance and the celebration of self-determination without God. So the same today. The values, attitudes and choices that mankind makes hold consequences. The point we make is that while mankind is indeed capable of great feats, technological and otherwise, arrogance and ungodly world views will lead to deterioration, disappointment and eventually destruction.
Why? There are many linkages to which we could point. However, suffice it to simply say this: God is a jealous God. This is — and must be — the character of the Creator. He will share His glory with no other. Ungodliness brings the seeds of self-destruction.
Designed — actually, hard-wired — into the cosmos is the requirement that God be glorified and that He be recognized as Creator and Saviour. This will stump the human analyst who seeks to explain why political economic policies may have failed … why an econometric coefficient no longer works … why human behavioural models cannot be relied upon.
This non-linearity which is tied to God’s justice is evident in His dealing with the Israelites. For example, consider this statement of Haggai: “You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (Haggai 1:6).
The modern analyst will argue that outputs depend upon inputs. The physicist will say that something that is full cannot be empty. Yet, none of these secular parameters can guarantee true prosperity. Perversions, ungodly values and lust will undermine the best calculations of economists.
After a century and more of advancements, we see trends reversing. The underlying drivers of earlier advances have been fading. We list some of these here:
- After the world’s biggest population boom in history, negative demographics (worldwide and not just in developed nations) has set in. For prosperity theorists, this is the biggest cause of consternation.
- The era of post-familialism gradually spreading out to the rest-of-world. Policymakers think this is emblematic of a new enlightenment, not realizing that it has devastating economic consequences.
- Widening wealth skew (uneven wealth distribution). Wealth accretion is celebrated as a right yet at the same time generates destructive hoarding.
- The state of indebtedness is the key harbinger of future trends. To this point, deleveraging on a global basis has not yet begun. Yet, prescribing even more debt is seen as a new wisdom.
- The end of globalization (de-globalization): From free trade to economic warfare; from global governance to competitive multilateralism; from one internet to many. The McDonalds indicator of globalization has gone into reverse. All taken together, this signifies the end of a major stimulus to wealth creation over the past four decades.
- Fracturing globalism.
- Falling productivity world-wide.
Taking the perspective of a secular policymaker or analyst, what should be the response?
What could be the solutions?
Indeed, the 7 marker-trends we have listed are interrelated. The first four are a direct consequence of the changing values of mankind. The next three are related derivatives. Therefore, secular political economics does not have the answers to humanity’s conundrums being faced today. As already mentioned, solutions have little to do with economic theory or physics or actual policies. It is the “values” and “attitudes” that humanity chooses that are the most determinative.
Seventeen years ago we wrote a series (much of which found its way into the book The Endtime Money Snare: How to Live Free) on the topic of “The Three False Gods of the Last Days.” It was based upon Daniel 11:36 to 39. There, Daniel explains the future actions of the Antichrist in terms of several false gods.
Here is an excerpt: “He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god […]” (Daniel 11:37-39).
In this text, three false gods are mentioned — the “unknown” god, the “foreign” god and the god of “fortresses.” In essence, these three gods being consorted with were really the mirror-reflections of mankind’s idolatries (false gods). We identified them as SCITE, GLOBO, and MOFI. The god of “fortresses” was SCITE (representing the idolatry of Science and Technology); the “foreign” god was GLOBO (Globalism, representing the common ark of united global man); and the “unknown” god was MOFI (the idolatrous system of monetary finance).
The short-form names may sound cute; however, the impact of these last day idolatries is not. The world therefore experiences great economic oppression, confusion and deception.
Says the Psalmist: “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalms 127:1).
Most people in the world today would be content with this simple promise alone: “You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours” (Psalm 128:2).
Couldn’t policymakers achieve this state? It sounds simple. Ungodliness, corruption, and mass idolatries stand in the way.