The End of Today’s Economic Systems
IF YOU designed a machine and it did not work well, what would you do? You would likely try one modification after another to see if it would work better. But what if you found that after each repair it got worse? Would it not be time to consider that the machine itself was unsatisfactory, and that a different kind was needed?
Today’s economic systems are not working for the good of all mankind. There are enormous injustices in them. Hardworking people see their money eaten away by inflation. Hundreds of millions live in poverty. Other hundreds of millions do not even have the necessities of life. The New York Times reported of some lands: “For many poor people the price of a single meal now exceeds a day’s income,” which is a striking fulfillment of the Bible prophecy, “A whole day’s wage for a loaf of bread.”—Rev. 6:6, Weymouth, Fifth edition.
Really, today’s economic and money systems cannot bring the peace, security and prosperity mankind so desires. Selfishness, greed, pride and a heartless lack of concern for others are built into them.
What does all of this mean? Why the worldwide inflation, as well as food shortages, wars and other unprecedented troubles since 1914?
All these things are a sign of the times. They are conditions that were foretold to be a part of the “last days” of the present system of things. And included in the foretold conditions is that people would be “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . without self-control, . . . lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” All these things are part of today’s political, economic, social and religious systems.—2 Tim. 3:1-5.
Hence, today’s money instability and hard economic times for so many are part of the evidence that this system of things is rushing toward its finish, as Jesus himself foretold. (Matt. 24:3-14) Any patchwork improvements to try to keep today’s economic systems going will be very short-lived. No repair can undo the selfishness, greed and injustice that are built into them.
So what all these things really mean is that this present unsatisfactory system is moving toward its greatest crash ever, but by divine action, not human failure. As Jesus put it: “For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.”—Matt. 24:21.
Comfortingly, though, God’s prophetic Word promises that this time of coming trouble will be followed by “a new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Pet. 3:13) That “new earth” means a new human society, which will include a new economic system, one that will work for the good of every person. The promise is: “The LORD Almighty will prepare a banquet for all the nations of the world—a banquet of the richest food and the finest wine. Here he will suddenly remove the cloud of sorrow that has been hanging over all the nations.”—Isa. 25:6-8, Good News Bible.
“In order to clear up the present economic problems everything must be set back to zero”
What will soon happen, then, is similar to what a Japanese businessman answered when asked about a solution to today’s economic turmoil. He remarked: “In order to clear up the present economic problems everything must be set back to zero.” He rightly saw the hopelessness of ever repairing the system. And God’s Word agrees: it is too far gone. Hence, it will not be repaired, but will be demolished.
The possibility of today’s economic systems crashing has been a more frequent topic of discussion among economists lately. For instance, American financial commentator Sylvia Porter spoke of the real possibility of an “inflationary blowoff in this nation and the world, destroying the confidence in any investment in ‘paper’ [money], and so undermining the functioning of our international monetary system that trade among nations would grind to a near standstill.” The columnist added:
“The blowout would then ripple out to cause a rash of bankruptcies among businesses, a collapse of the dangerously swollen credit bubble, an upsurge in unemployment, foreclosures of vastly overextended mortgage credit, and repossessions of goods bought on installment loans the debtors could not repay.
“The scenario becomes more scary even as I write it.”
“Nations cannot go on borrowing to improve living standards”
Political commentator Jack Anderson similarly commented on the shaky money situation, stating:
“Nations cannot go on borrowing to improve living standards. The money can never be paid back unless it is invested in production instead of consumption. For many countries, the debt is already greater than they can absorb without a financial breakdown. . . .
“Skyrocketing prices keep adding to the bad debts until the whole banking system is threatened with collapse.”
The American Institute for Economic Research makes the following observations:
“During the next several years, the following economic developments seem highly probable:
“A severe and prolonged worldwide depression. . . .
“During a prolonged depression, social disorder might well become extreme. . . .
“Any person or family who appears to be substantially better off than those who are most adversely affected may become the target for mob violence.”
When people rob, rape, mug and murder in such increasing numbers now, in a time of relative peace and prosperity, they would do much worse if a breakdown occurred. An evidence of this is what happened during the blackout in New York city in 1977. In certain areas anarchy prevailed. Looting, vandalism and robberies were epidemic. The police admitted that they were helpless.
Similarly, in an African country, a one third increase in the price of rice sparked rioting and looting in the capital city. The streets looked as if a war had just been fought. Martial law was declared and a strict curfew imposed.
“Into the streets they will throw their very silver, and an abhorrent thing their own gold will become”
Concerning what lies ahead for the entire world, the Bible speaks of a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” During that time, paper money will be worthless. Why, Bible prophecy even says: “Into the streets they will throw their very silver, and an abhorrent thing their own gold will become. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury.”—Ezek. 7:19.
No human leader, nor any form of human government, will be able to forestall the coming “great tribulation,” since it is God’s judgment against this present wicked system. That is why his Word warns: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” (Ps. 146:3) What, then, is the right course to take? The Bible answers: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.”—Prov. 3:5.
Those who trust in Jehovah now he promises to help even in an economic way. No, God will not provide his servants with luxuries, but he has promised them the necessities of life. (Matt. 6:24-34; Ps. 37:25) Nor does this mean that those who trust God will have an easy time in life, since they too are affected by bad conditions in the world. But they will certainly have more success than others do in coping with today’s troublesome times.
In addition, such ones will have the assurance of God’s protection during the coming crash, and of surviving into a righteous new system. (1 John 2:15-17; Ps. 37:27, 34, 37) That is why a family in Brazil who learned to trust Jehovah states: “Although beset by economic problems, we are a happy family because we know Jehovah, the happy God, and we know his purposes.”
“Raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near”
So, regardless of how severe the money squeeze becomes, there is the sure hope of the best of times directly ahead in God’s new order. Hence, persons who have the right hope based on accurate knowledge, and who trust in God and not in material wealth, can ‘raise themselves erect, and lift their heads up, because their deliverance is getting near.’—Luke 21:28.