Saturday, September 20, 2014

And remit to us our debts, as we also remit those of our debtors...

Title here a quote from Mat 6.  The excerpt is from what is often termed "The Lord's Prayer", this verse and the surrounding verses of this popular prayer which contains economic metaphor provided here:

"Thus, then, you be praying: 'Our Father Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name.
 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, on earth also.
 Our bread, our dole, be giving us today.
 And remit to us our debts, as we also remit those of our debtors.
And mayest Thou not be bringing us into trial, but rescue us from the wicked one.'" Mat 6:9-13

The Lord is advising (whoever He is talking to) to pray to God that He (God) would be paying them back, as if God owes them a debt.

Apostle Paul further explains how the concept of a debt is related to wages:  "Now to the worker, the wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as a debt." ( Romans 4:4)

So the overall scheme that the Lord advises whoever He is talking to, is to pray for a remittance of  a debt and perhaps wages.

The wage is reckoned as a debt, and the Lord is telling, again whoever he is talking to in Mat 6, to be praying that God would be paying them back for what either that they are owed, or, what they think they are owed, just like they would pay back those whom they may be owing a debt (or wages).

The Lord uses the metaphor of wages often; here is one of many uses of the concept of wages he uses:  "And whenever you may be praying, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they are fond of standing in the synagogues and at the corners of the squares to be praying, so that they may appear to men. Verily, I am saying to you, They are collecting their wages!"  Mat 6:5

We perhaps can equate whoever the Lord is talking to here to the people who we see today advocating for a Job Guarantee, as in the JG, the recipient earns wages.

I would also lump in the people who have the view of "money is debt" into this same cohort of mankind, perhaps we can call them the 'wages and debt' cohort.

With these people, its all about "wages and debt".

Contrast this with the advocates of a universal income or basic income guaranty, a scheme under which those receiving it would not be earning wages or being paid a debt, but rather would be receiving rations, which are opposite wages and not associated with debt schemes, but perhaps rather in the context of slavery and warfare.

Paul uses the metaphor of rations a few times:

"For the ration of Sin is death" Romans 6:23 [Ed: Sin is provisioned by death... which we have NO control over...]

"Who is warring at any time supplying his own rations?" 1 Cor 9:7

"Other ecclesias I despoil, getting rations for dispensing to you." 2 Cor

Paul discusses wages here:

"If anyone's work will be remaining which he builds on it, he will get wages.
If anyone's work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet thus, as through fire."
1 Cor 3: 14-15

There is a dichotomy here between a scheme of debt and wages versus a scheme of rations.

The people who are on the side of the JG are associating with the people the Lord advised to pray that God would be paying them back a debt or wages; while the people who are on the side of a universal income I would say are not.

We can see this same division within mankind identified within the context of the Greek Scriptures from 2,000 years ago continuing to be present within the debates we are having today about a JG vs. a UI.

It seems to break down along the lines of 'wages and debt' vs. 'rations'.


Calgacus said...

Matt as perhaps the leading representative of the "wages and debt" cohort here - I am fine with the name, I don't really understand what you are saying here. Are you on either "side"?

Paul's ( Romans 4:4) is excellent, correct economics.

However one construes it, any current universal income or basic income guarantee proposal - they propose distributing money - is proposing to distribute money = debt = ration coupons, if you want to use the word "ration". So UBI, BIG is a "debt scheme".

Soup kitchens and free pantries are more directly rationing-in-kind, but you can and sometimes should think even of them, of any rationing, in creditary "debt-scheme" terms.

Sure would be nice if the UBI fairy-tale could work, if we could all be capitalist parasites. (Or would it?)
But that just isn't how the world was made. Genesis 3:19.

Ignacio said...

Matt, ¿any mentioning of combining both things? It seems not to be very conclusive except to show that the dichotomy has been going on forever.

Not "universal" but income programs are already in place, and temporally made universal (ie. negative tax schemes) when there is inadequate demand and morons are not in power or the ethos of society and social structure at the time allows it. Temporal "basic incomes" seem universal through many societies now and in the past, whereas "JG" programs are not that universal through history (but some similar replacements can be found, usually in the form of jingoist and violent programs and variations of military keynesianism, military-government-slavery complexes etc.).

Maybe the solution is to combine both programs with a right incentive structure. But is all dreams here, as TPTB don't have the ethos required for an implementation, and the "we are running out of money!" cognitive distortion still is dominant as well as the subjective preference for 'hard money' policies of most of the population because equating micro == macro and personal struggle to "earn money" during life.

Matt Franko said...

Calg no I am not taking sides here... I think both the JG and UI are good ideas... trying to understand where the "disagreements" we can see over the two schemes are coming from...

I see soup kitchens along the lines of what the Lord says about 'wages' using the example of the 'praying in public' as collecting wages... its like 'justification thru works' to me... and we see Paul Ryan in the last election with the photo op at the soup kitchen where he showed up late and yet still washed already clean dishes ("the wisdom of this world is stupidity with God...")

I see the distribution of state currency as rather providing 'means of subsistence' rather than part of a debt scheme... I dont see "money is debt" at all maybe if we use metals.... state currency is a manifestation of human authority to me....

I read what the people who follow Marx write (I'm thinking Tom And PeterC) and they seem to legitimately dislike/shun the part of the current 'capitalism' where there is this working for wages/debt, they seem like they would rather be paid a robust 'ration' if you will and then just do what they enjoy and are good at in their working within mankind... then there are others who seem to enjoy working for wages...

"A house divided against itself cannot stand".... the house looks divided but currently against itself... so we are house divided, (all men NOT created equal, or Tom's tagline 'celebrate diversity'...) and probably need the division but have to get rid of whatever is responsible for the "against itself" part...

So I am trying to better understand the divisions here... I think the Lord was only talking to the one cohort which for FD I personally do not feel part of...


Matt Franko said...

Agree with much that you write Ignacio.... seems like we are for whatever reason thinking that we need a "one size fits all" policy.... so we see the wages and debt people slugging it out with the rations people for total policy control...

Not even the Lord was pursuing this type of policy from my perspective... He was saying one thing to whoever he was talking to here ie 'wages an debt' but then commissioned Paul to go about it differently with an appeal to the 'rations' people...

I think we have to realize that mankind is divided and like you and Calg say, come up with a combined policy that will appeal to these two cohorts who are just wired differently....

imo mankind has all the authority it needs to accomplish this... as we can make any economic policy we want subject only to the real-world material limitations...

but we have to get past 1. "all men are created equal" falsehood and 2. like you say "we're out of money!" falsehood...

I dont see why we have to have a problem with people who are preferring 'wages and debt' or people who want to 'slave' or 'war' and receive robust rations instead of robust wages/debt...


Tom Hickey said...

The only way out is through "All people are created equal as human beings" or something like it with a naturalistic foundation. This is the justification for human rights and civil liberties.

Once it is granted that everyone is different, then there is no basis for equal rights, equality before the law, due process, equal opportunity, and the other Enlightenment values that arose out the principle that all human share in the same nature even though they differ as individuals.