There is something tremendously “artificial” about today’s markets and global economies. When “preservatives” such as quantitative easing (i.e. printing more money), bailouts, and stimulus packages are necessary to keep today’s financial “produce” from completely rotting, something is truly amiss.
The Appropriate Term
An initial point of clarification: Please do not be startled by the word “wealth” when I use it from time to time. In regards to economics, wealth is simply the measure of your entire store of goods and property. So in the most basic sense, everybody that has any possessions has some measure of “wealth.”
A “wealthy person,” by contrast, is someone with an “abundance of riches” or wealth that is well beyond their needs alone. When one considers the financial state of the citizenry of the Western nations of the world verses that of many countries, such as in Africa and Asia—where the average person lives on less than $2 per day—it becomes clear that most people reading this text are “wealthy” by global standards. In our Western nations, even our “poor” people have name-brand clothes, iPods, cars, and relatively decent living conditions when compared to the rest of the world (even air conditioning…which is really a luxury in many parts of the world).
Consider this also: Since the text you are now reading is on a website, odds are that you are reading this using a computer (or some mobile computing device). According to the latest “Internet Statistics Compendium 2010,” only about 24% of the earth’s estimated 6.7 billion population (about 1.6 billion) have access to a computer. Additional sources indicate that a mere 10% of that number globally (about 160 million) actually own a computer, the highest percentage of which are within the developed Western nations. That means that only about 2.4% of the global population own a computer. Thus, if you merely own the computer with which you are viewing this page, you are quite “wealthy” when measured by worldwide standards.
So please do not let the word “wealth” bother you any longer (if it ever has). I am not in ANY way promoting the so-called “prosperity gospel” within these pages. In fact, you will actually learn on TheWisdomOfGold.com which portions of that erroneous doctrine are not biblical and why that teaching does NOT work as it is typically promoted. (And I will provide an additional clarifying note about this topic within the Organic Economics™ Introduction.)
In the economic sense in which we will use the word, wealth is merely a term that serves to reference the total goods/possessions of a person, family, or nation. Nothing more. If you earn more than you consume in your daily living expenses, then your “wealth” is increasing. If not, then it is decreasing. It is that simple.
Profound Yet Plain
For those with advanced financial knowledge: Let me warmly encourage you that we will be covering some very complex concepts within these pages. We will also simultaneously be reminding you of the core elements of functioning economies and sound financial strategies that are too often neglected.
However, for those with very limited financial savvy: Please do not fear. These principles will be “packaged” within easy-to-understand allegories. In fact, this is God’s standard way of communicating His profound insights. Do you remember how Jesus often used parables to explain truth? He used common metaphors to convey complex spiritual concepts to His listeners. These references were things that the people could relate to and understand; and through them the people could grasp His spiritual insights.
In a similar manner, you will find these economic and financial truths “packaged” within the biblical accounts with which you are likely already familiar, making them fairly simple to “digest.” I have even provided many links to other resources within the text—including Dictionary.com definitions (though I obviously do not have control over their advertising content). These helpful auxiliaries should further expedite your “learning curve.”
As we just mentioned, God’s method of teaching from Scripture is to convey complex truths within simple metaphors. In fact, pure truths tend to be both simple and complex at the same time anyway. This paradox is a normal part of God’s creation, as I often state:
“God’s complexity is hidden within His simplicity.”
Consider a rose. One can enjoy the simplicity of its appearance: Its beautiful bloom displaying rich red petals, perched majestically upon a thorny stem with its dark green leaves. However, a person can also satisfy their intellectual curiosity by studying the functions of the flower’s reproductive system with its stigma, pollen, and ovary; or contemplate the structures of the stem and leaves; or even bore down into the microscopic marvels of its enzymes and DNA structure. Yet, when exploring the complexities of this flower, one should never forget the simple elegance of its overall appearance, and fail to enjoy the beauty provided to us through a rose by God’s own design.
Again, God’s complexity is hidden within His simplicity.
Ponder for a moment your own hand. You need not understand the labyrinth of tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, and bones, for you to use it effectively to grasp or write. Some of the most talented artisans and craftsmen of the world are uneducated men and women who do not have any formal understanding of such intricacies. They simply use their skilled hands to craft what they envision. Though they might find such details interesting to learn, it is irrelevant for their vocation. So to elaborate my original statement even further:
By design, God’s complexity is hidden within His functional and beautiful simplicity.
Thus, while it is true that I have endeavored to broaden this website’s outreach to a wider audience by avoiding overly technical discussions, this site contains something much more needed in these confusing economic times: simple truth. Oftentimes, the key issues in any situation are obscured by a cloud of misinformation (some of which is deliberate). There is voluminous “noise” emanating from the many complex—but less important to understand—aspects of our modern financial systems. What most people need right now is simple truth and not the “gory details” of finances and economics.
So my goal within Organic Economics™ is to distill the issues down to their core elements to reveal those principles which buttress prosperous economic systems and, in the process, highlight the most safe personal financial preservation strategies for people to apply to their own situations. This biblical approach should prove beneficial for people of all income brackets and financial backgrounds.
Thus, the financially advanced reader will likely discover within Organic Economics™ some profound key principles to augment their current understanding, while they are simultaneously reminded of the fundamentals that make all successful economies and financial strategies work. Those with little financial or economic training, however, will easily learn many of these same truths through our use of familiar Bible narratives.
Just as anyone can enjoy the beauty of a rose, so can most readers easily absorb the majority of the principles found within the pages of Organic Economics™.
Again, my primary tool for accomplishing this task will be the most reliable and widely read “textbook” on these subjects found on planet earth, the Bible. My tactical approach within this section will be to analyze the most basic elements of the Genesis economies to identify the essential economic ingredients, and then contrast these simple truths with the unbridled mayhem currently unfolding in the world’s financial systems. The path to financial safety will then seem very plain.
Many great economists since Adam Smith (1723–1790) have considered it helpful to look at primitive economies in order to understand key principles applicable to all economies. In more recent history, some have even used the fictional story of Robinson Crusoe as a convenient metaphor to illustrate fundamental concepts. Alone on a deserted island, Crusoe’s simple circumstances provide an economist a nice context through which to explain certain basic principles. That done, they then introduce into their explanation the native man “Friday.” As he enters the scene, the economist can then use the interaction between the two people to describe exchanges and other principles.
We will follow their example in many chapters of Organic Economics™—though our biblical approach will distinguish, simplify, and even enhance our own efforts, in contrast to their own approaches to these subjects.
Interestingly, the original root words from which the word “primitive” is derived, highlight the necessity of our examining ancient economies (such as those found within the time frame of the Book of Genesis). The direct root is the Latin word primitivus which is derived from the word primus, which simply means, first. That base root is the same Latin word from which we get the English term “prime,” which means of first importance. So when we discuss the “primitive” economic systems of ages past, we are actually pointing out that these other systems are more fundamental, and function upon the necessary elements considered of utmost and primary importance.
Thus, our discussion of such simplified economies is crucial in order to expose the strategies that are truly key to protecting our families—by preserving our wealth—in these troubled times.
Nevertheless, most people think of the English term “primitive” as meaning “backwards, undeveloped, inferior,” rather than “of first importance.” Consequently, we need to adopt the right term for our study in order to avoid misunderstanding; it would be fruitless to fight today’s popular and common use of this word.
So again, I like to call the most core and basic elements of any truth “organic.” This healthy sounding term, so common within today’s vocabulary, often indicates within the marketplace products of the highest natural purity. These are the things we consider to be the most “natural” (i.e. the closest to God’s original design); and though our topics are primarily economics and finance, we are looking for the “organic” elements that form the foundation of all truly prosperous economies and financial strategies.
One last point: I personally believe the Book of Genesis is a literal account of these events, given by God through Moses—and it is confirmed so often by archeology and all the other empirical sciences. Nonetheless, even those people with a tendency toward allegorical interpretations of Scripture will find this study very enlightening—if they read it with an open heart and mind.
So let’s now begin our studies with the Introduction, and then develop this discussion both biblically and economically from there through the subsequent chapters.
For more information about Rev. Rich Vermillion, please view the brief bio at the bottom of TheWisdomOfGold.com’s Website Introduction page, or visit his public LinkedIn profile page at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richvermillion
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