Wealth Imbalance

It has now been predicted by Oxfam International that the wealth accumulated by the richest 1% of people on the earth will exceed that of the other 99% in 2016. The Oxfam organization takes on campaigns to find innovative solutions to lift people out of poverty and become self-sufficient. It believes the scale of global inequality is staggering with the gap between the richest and the rest of the people in the world widening fast.

When we think about how the countries of the world operate their economies we also think about God giving Israel principles to govern its economy. The Bible tells us that after 49 years of Sabbaths there was to be a Year of Jubilee. This would occur once every fifty years. The Year of Jubilee was to be a time of rest for the soil and the people. The original distribution of land was to revert to the original owner with few exceptions. If the original owner had been obligated to sell his land, it would revert back to him in the fiftieth year. If any Israelite sold himself because of poverty, that individual would be freed in the fiftieth year. In this system loans would become less valuable as the fiftieth year approached since both the lender & borrower would know when the balance would have a mandatory cancellation.

Imagine what a system similar to this would do to interest rates and wealth distribution if it were observed worldwide. But what would motivate people to comply? The only reason this type of system would be observed by a large people group would be because of their respect and fear of the God of the Bible. It is something that seems to be diminishing in our world today.

One thought on “Wealth Imbalance

  1. And while I am into commenting, your reflection on the Jubilee Year was a real challenge. As I sit in relationship with contemplation, I am acutely aware that it needs to lead to a way of being in the world that reflects the way of being with God. Too often I see people who want this to be an end in itself and it gets stuck in a ladder of perfection’ mentality that the Church has always been critical of. So let’s see if we can create a jubilee year for ourselves and invite others to share!

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