Yesterday, we were discussing development: political, social, and economic. I was asking the students to provide examples of what the world measures as economic development.
Ultimately, this will lead into our research on statistics around the world and establishing where Burma is in the development process: underdeveloped, developing, or developed.
For economic development, we look at per capita income to show general wealth, inflation to show the stability of the economy, and a few technology statistics, as technology use generally increases as the economy grows. I was attempting to have them get to each of these areas, asking directed questions to promote thought and discussion. One of my questions was this: if you were given more money, what would you buy?
My aim was for them to answer in technology items: a computer, a phone; I’d even take a house with electricity or a motorbike and wrap that up in technology. But the answers I received?
Help their community with food; give money to the clinics to help the sick; give it to the church.
It didn’t prove my point, but instead a much greater one–not because they give the right answers for Christianity, but because the story of Scripture is within them.
As I was updating the curriculum last week, I added some types of economies. We discuss different types of government, but communism inevitably comes up; I needed to explain the difference between types of government and types of economies, and how we refer to them together.
This led to dividing economies into two types: command economies, where the government controls every aspect, and market economies, where private businesses and individuals control every aspect. I go on to explain that countries aren’t purely command or purely market; they are somewhere on the spectrum. I describe that communism is a type of command economy and capitalism is a type of market economy.
As I researched and attempted to clearly explain these economies, it is interesting to see their goals. The aim of communism is equality. Theoretically, it is believed that as humans we could not adequately divide wealth, but if the governing body takes on this role, we could achieve equality.
In capitalism, the aim is the same, but the theory opposite. It is believed that if we leave it up to the individual, we will naturally all act in our own benefit, and the invisible hand of the market will equalize us.
And in both scenarios, the aim was never achieved. In capitalism, the selfishness of the governing body was not considered. And in capitalism, the selfishness of man was underestimated.
Selfishness won, and inequalities exist everywhere to a very great extent.
As I read and study a variety of political analyses, economic theories, and evaluations of humankind for university, my current job, and pure interest, it continues to amaze me the ways that everything comes back to the truth of Scripture. The truth that we are all groaning for something more, that sin entered through one man and life entered through another. The truth in 1 Corinthians 13:10,12-13, that
“when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away…
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide these three;
but the greatest of these is love.”
The truth that our theories, best attempts, and genius efforts are just a dim reflection. Even the beautiful love in the students here; the genuine desire to see families, friends, and community with full stomachs, healed bodies, and living in hope: this is still a reflection.
The truth that one day, we’ll see faith, hope, and love fully, and it will be far more glorious.
“When we truly discover love,
capitalism will not be possible
and Marxism will not be necessary.”