Artificial Wealth: King Solomon on the Stimulus


King Solomon

Is King Solomon at odds with John Maynard Keynes?

I usually try to keep my political perspective out of my Scripture reading, but as I was reading Proverb 13:11 last night, I couldn’t help but think of the stimulus:

Wealth [not earned but] won in haste or unjustly or from the production of things for vain or detrimental use [such riches] will dwindle away, but he who gathers little by little will increase [his riches].

This would apply to plenty of other get-rich-quick-schemes, but our country seems to have bought into the faulty Keynesian notion that the government can cure bad decision-making by centralizing it.

In short, the government’s attempts to “create” wealth amount to what Solomon calls “wealth won in haste.” Governments are certainly capable of using some funds wisely, but this is rarely the case. Plenty of Keynesians would say this is primarily about stabilization, but even if that’s true, what are we trying to stabilize?

In the end, ours is a system that is overspent and spoiled.

Basically, there isn’t much point to “stopping the bleeding” when the body has too much blood in the first place. (Yes, it’s a problematic metaphor to begin with, but that’s my point.)

What I want to get across is that most long-term economic improvement takes time. There will be economic booms and times of rapid expansion, but that usually has to do with incremental (read: “little by little”) improvements made among free individuals.

Bolstering trade and innovation may not be as sexy as giving away free money, but Solomon tells us that sustainable prosperity requires it.

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  • Caveatbettor

    I always think about Jesus' teaching in Luke 14:

    Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

  • Jdwarden36

    Money is always the effect to you, the cause. Government cannot give wealth, it can only take it and reallocate it away. People are spewing that the economy has been growing for the last 3 quarters. Growing in what? We haven't even started to pay back any debt, in fact we are getting even closer to matching our GDP. Your student loans never look so bad while your attending school. Any attempt to a comprehensive rational economic fix will result in an immediate recession and contraction of the market. If it's done right, and people start looking at long term recoveries we can make it out alive and on top. Is there any hope of that happening? Is there any hope of a retraction of g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t s-p-e-n-d-i-n-g???

  • Jdwarden36

    Money is always the effect to you, the cause. Government cannot give wealth, it can only take it and reallocate it away. People are spewing that the economy has been growing for the last 3 quarters. Growing in what? We haven't even started to pay back any debt, in fact we are getting even closer to matching our GDP. Your student loans never look so bad while your attending school. Any attempt to a comprehensive rational economic fix will result in an immediate recession and contraction of the market. If it's done right, and people start looking at long term recoveries we can make it out alive and on top. Is there any hope of that happening? Is there any hope of a retraction of g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t s-p-e-n-d-i-n-g???