It should not be a surprise to anyone who recognizes the sovereignty of God that He’s an economist. Do we think economic laws sprang into being on their own?
I read today a funny article about one local government suing another local government over “stolen” sales tax revenues. Seems that tax revenues are getting scarce and the high-tax jurisdiction thinks it’s unfair that an adjacent jurisdiction has lower rates.
This made me consider the gift of scarcity, an important economic concept. Most will disagree that scarcity can be a good thing but without it what a miserable world this would be.
Without scarcity we would all have as much time as we want. In effect, we’d be immortal because, after all, who wants to die?
Without scarcity we would all be fed. As much as we want. Whatever we want.
Without scarcity we would all be housed as we want, travel as we want, be as strong as we want, live as we want.
Now, that doesn’t sound so bad. But think about this: we are a fallen race. In that condition, and without scarcity, there are big problems. Here are just a few:
- Why would you need to cooperate with anyone else?
- What if you wanted to have “more” than your neighbor?
- Would you ever seek God?
A complete lack of scarcity would allow us to feel autonomous (a law unto ourselves) and essentially shake our collective fist at God. We’d all be little gods but without the mind of God.
Without scarcity we would have no values, economic or moral, because value is a concept of relativity; it’s completely dependent upon scarcity. If everything is as available as everything else then nothing is more valuable than anything else.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see where a complete lack of scarcity would lead in this fallen world. We would degenerate into selfish, barbaric, unrestrained hedonists. Ugh.
God, however, has been gracious in “providing” scarcity. It causes us to cooperate with one another, leads to civil society, provides some semblance of purpose and striving.
It leads, too, to a recognition that there is a Creator, a Sovereign, a Provider, someone outside of ourselves. Namely,
God, the economist.
~ John Bingaman