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 Let's try aligning with economics

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Jonathan S.
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PostSubject: Let's try aligning with economics   Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:58 pm

Since this is a new forum, and as far as I know, no one has done this kind of format for a forum (alliteration Very Happy ) before, I thought I'd give us a topic to start working on. So my plan for this topic is to talk about economics, and the government's role in it. In this forum, we can all state our primary opinions, ask any questions that need to be asked, and figure out in general where everyone stands. Once we know that, we can delegate research (for lack of a better word) and move to the Act room. When we've discussed economics to death, and everyone is tired of it, we can move to the Adjust room and talk about how the discussions went, and how to improve the format for future topics.

My questions then about Economics are:

What is an ideal economy?
Should it be socialist, free market, communist?

How should the government interact with and control that economy?
What kind of regulations, if any, should be present to keep the economy on track and running smoothly?

How has this worked in the past, and how does that translate to current situations?
History time! All of our discussion, and especially in the Act forum should probably include answers to this question. As someone famous said, we learn history so that we don't repeat it's mistakes.

Last, but not least, what does the Bible say about economics?
How can we apply God's Word to an economy?

If you have answers to these questions, feel free to post them now. As the Communication Catalyst says, this is a time for brainstorming, not debating or criticizing. Any questions are welcome, and we'll try to include them in the "research assignments" in the Act room.

Jay (aka Sir Emmeth Mimetes), if this isn't what you had in mind, fell free to pm me and/or delete the topic.

In Christ,

Jonathan
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:52 pm

Greetings,

Thank you, Jonathan, I was getting worried that this room was going to flop: this is right on line.

What is an ideal economy?

First of all, I want to point out that this is an important question because we are trying to strive towards the creation of a nation with as perfect an economy as possible (if somebody would rather make one with a bad one, please pm me with your resignation! Smile ).

I believe that the most efficient, practical, time-proved, and biblical system of economy is an entirely free-enterprise one. The government should regulate the economy and interchange of goods not at all. Let the market decide its course, but make it free. Move heaven and earth to make it free!!

How should the government interact with and control that economy?

It shouldn't, as I stated above. The only interaction it should have with it at all would be to punish crimes therein (such as theft).

How has this worked in the past, and how does that translate to current situations?

Communism has never survived but off of the surplus of capitalism. Bold statement and hard to prove, but true. America became a super-power from a subsistence/survival colony because of its free-market economy. The world's poverty is not because of a lack of grain, but because of a lack of freedom. It is no coincidence that all of the poorest nations are ruled by dictators, tyrants, and communist regimes.

By the way, it was George Santayana who said "Those
who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Last, but not least, what does the Bible say about economics?

The Bible has a lot to say about economics, but, it is mostly dealing with personal responsibility in it. This is to be expected if a non-government-controlled market is biblical. it does also delimit in a few places the boundaries of government, and these boundaries clearly exclude meddling in economics.

Genesis 9:6 gives the basis for government by giving to man the right to administer justice of crime against man. Government is merely an organization of many men to better fulfill that commission and institution.

Romans 13:1-4 defines what a valid power is: a ruler that is not a terror to good works (defends liberty), but to evil (punishes crime). Government-controlled markets fall into neither of these categories: they, in fact, violate both.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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TaylorSandbek
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:01 am

My answers here would be a close copy of Jay's...

What is an ideal economy?
The ideal economy is one that is totally free, allowed to run it's course whatever way it goes. In some instances I believe government intervention is okay, but these are limited to extreme instances, and the interventions should stop at tax cuts for hurting sections of economy. In addition, the power of these interventions should always be in the hands of the people. Public forums should be held.
Secondly, I think government grants should be okay as well. It helps to drive r+d and progress of technology. But they need to be held to a minimum, and to things that wouldn't possibly offend anyone (stem cell research, no-growth marxist agenda).

How should the government interact with and control that economy?
None, only the furthering of liberty inside the market. The government should keep everything fair (not in the liberal sense of the word, but fair as in no one can steal and stuff, etc.).

How has this worked in the past, and how does that translate to current situations?
In every society that free-market has been properly put in place, it works amazingly.

Last, but not least, what does the Bible say about economics?
We should honor God with all our decisions, money especially. I don't know nor have I thought about the specific ramifications of a free-market society and God's plan, but I do know that it puts people at freedom to spend money how they feel led by God to spend it, which is a huge plus.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:34 pm

What is an ideal economy?

I completely agree with Sir Emeth Mimetes on this one, the economy should be completely and totally free market!

How should the government interact with and control that economy?

As above, government should have no control over economy. But I have a question to ask, what do we do about big companies? This is one of the major concerns in many countries around the world, including the US. If we went to a completely free market economy, would the big companies take over control of the trading market? Would the poor in these countries elevate? Would putting the church as the center of the country solve this problem? Would the church be the one keeping the poor out of poverty? I think these are questions we need to consider if we go to a completely free-market economy.

How has this worked in the past, and how does that translate to current situations?

The USA, the Scandinavian countries, Germany and France are the four major world powers that started out with a free-market economy and have prospered (as seen today).

The USA especially was started on a free-market economy with the government only there to punish crime and the church handled most, if not all, the rest (Puritan communities). While these four countries are examples of how a free-market economy can enable a country to prosper, what about India, Brazil, Peru, and Nicaragua? These four countries also have a free-market economy. Is the only difference between the poorer four and the world powers that fact that the world powers all base their government on God and the other four bases theirs on idols? It's just an honest question to look into because I do believe that the only way a government or economy will ever fully work for the better is if God is completely and totally behind everything.

Something else that supports the idea of free-market societies today is that communism economies are slowly giving into and creating their governments based off of a free-market economy. The success rate is high for countries with a free-market economy in general but they are higher still in economies that are based off of Biblical Principles. Also, it is proven that a free-market society will produce long term economic growth. The only problem is that everyone seems to want the answers now and are unwilling to wait on it. This is why socialism and communism has proven to be more popular but it only produces immediate good results and many bad reprocussions in the future (a lot like evil itself does). So history itself has proven that a free-market economy is more effective and more successful than the other market economies.

Last, but not least, what does the Bible say about economics?

Ephesians 3:10
Deuteronomy 10:17-18
Leviticus 25:1-55
Deuteronomy 15:1-11
Mark 12:41-44
Luke 21:1-4

All these Biblical references speaks mainly about giving to the poor and distrubuting wealth evenly among the people.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:21 am

Taylor wrote:
Secondly, I think government grants should be okay as well. It helps to drive r+d and progress of technology. But they need to be held to a minimum, and to things that wouldn't possibly offend anyone (stem cell research, no-growth marxist agenda).

Taylor,

True, money helps progress technology, but progressing technology is not a role of government, right? That is what societies and venture capitalists are for. If government stays where it is supposed to be, other people will do what it doesn't do: legislators do not have a monopoly on common sense and the milk of human kindness.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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TaylorSandbek
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:33 am

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:
Taylor wrote:
Secondly, I think government grants should be okay as well. It helps to drive r+d and progress of technology. But they need to be held to a minimum, and to things that wouldn't possibly offend anyone (stem cell research, no-growth marxist agenda).

Taylor,

True, money helps progress technology, but progressing technology is not a role of government, right? That is what societies and venture capitalists are for. If government stays where it is supposed to be, other people will do what it doesn't do: legislators do not have a monopoly on common sense and the milk of human kindness.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Venture capitalists can only do so much... if it is for the furthering of society, for something which everyone could feel the benefit of, I'm not sure... Im on the fence with this one I guess. I think that in a way the government should not be in charge, but be used as a vehicle by the people to grow our nation technologically, medicinically (I just made up a word!), and whatnot. Correct me if this is out of line..
-Taylor

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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:46 am

TaylorSandbek wrote:
Venture capitalists can only do so much... if it is for the furthering of society, for something which everyone could feel the benefit of, I'm not sure... Im on the fence with this one I guess. I think that in a way the government should not be in charge, but be used as a vehicle by the people to grow our nation technologically, medicinically (I just made up a word!), and whatnot. Correct me if this is out of line..
-Taylor

Taylor,

The idea that the government ought to "help" the nation in the ways you describe is why welfare states are born. Government can only do so much too: they get their money from the populace. Requiring more money to provide benefits for someone takes away the liberty of the people to decide who they want to give to and how.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

I suppose I would agree. I apologize... for my little socialistic outburst :P

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:47 pm

now here is just a thought, but is communist all that bad? now not the actual government, but the thought behind it. and what exactly communism? (just so that we can define it) I was thinking, actually, almost all of the forms of economics have some truth to them. (like almost all things) so what would some of those things be in different forms of economies?
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:38 pm

Peter G. wrote:
now here is just a thought, but is communist all that bad? now not the actual government, but the thought behind it. and what exactly communism? (just so that we can define it) I was thinking, actually, almost all of the forms of economics have some truth to them. (like almost all things) so what would some of those things be in different forms of economies?

Peter,

Communism economics is usually considered a branch of socialism economics. Communism (in government terms) is a social structure and political ideology that promotes the formation of a stateless, classless, completely equal society. In other words, in a communism economy, everyone is put on a completely equal plane. The people are buying and paying the same amount, basically. In an ideal world, this idea would involve everyone when making a decision economical areas of government and everyone's needs would be met. The problem is that no one will ever be completely equal with each other. We will always have the poorer and the richer. By putting these people on a completely equal plane, we run the risk of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

But also, like you said, there may be some truth in it. The fact that most of society does want everyone to be equal is one example. The fact that we are all equal under God is another example. But in this world and with this world's values, the ideal plan of a communism economy will never really pan out. In the end, the government would have too much control over what the people do, too much control over the people's life, and too much control over what the people own, as far as goods and money is concerned. This is exactly what we are trying to prevent in creating a government where God is the head of it all. Even in the Bible, God always spoke about the poor and rich, He commanded that the people give to the poor so that they would be able to live a life not in complete poverty.

Economics is a hard thing to judge. Because of what the world is and because of the value's the world has, no form of economics will ever work as perfectly as it was meant to in the beginning. If we elimated greed from the equation, many of the economic plans would work out much better but its never going to happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:55 am

Hello,

About communism. Hannah made some very good points, and Peter asked a very good question. But communism is not the idea that there are no classes: it relies on that idea. Socialism and communism are both based on evolution in that respect. The basic idea of communism can be aptly illustrated by a teacher who doesn't base the grades of students on how well they did, but gives everybody the same grade. What happens is this: students stop working, why study if it won't affect their grades? Communism always turns into a socialist state, if it doesn't start as one.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:55 am

Hannah,
in your post you said that society strives for all to be equal... I would disagree. I think a functional society strives for fairness. Equality is unfair, and detrimental to a good working society.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:33 pm

TaylorSandbek wrote:
Hannah,
in your post you said that society strives for all to be equal... I would disagree. I think a functional society strives for fairness. Equality is unfair, and detrimental to a good working society.

I stand corrected. Thank you, Taylor, for pointing out my error in reasoning. I agree with you, equality is unfair because it demotes the better and elevates the lesser. In an ideal society, the system should be based on fairness and not equality.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:54 pm

Peter G. wrote:
now here is just a thought, but is communist all that bad? now not the actual government, but the thought behind it. and what exactly communism? (just so that we can define it) I was thinking, actually, almost all of the forms of economics have some truth to them. (like almost all things) so what would some of those things be in different forms of economies?

Peter,
Communism does have some truth in it, and it begins from very good intentions. But the truth it contains is very minimal... We should, absolutely help out our fellow man, but at what cost?

"Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day... Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for life"

Helping people out is great, and well meant, but free handouts and mandatory "charity" is not the way to go.

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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:10 pm

okay, but here's a new twist. I don't disagree with pretty much anything that you guys/girls said. But, if all of our thoughts were focused an God, and all people were Christians, would Communism work? That is pretty much what I am trying to say. This is to more just make you guys think of more then just the obvious. I know that Communism could never work, but if people stayed the path of Communism and all people focused on God, I think that Communism would be a very good idea. But since most of the world isn't Christian, and aren't good, then it will never work. What are your thoughts on that?
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:00 pm

No, it still would not... People are supposed to give as God leads them, out of the kindness of their hearts, not from being forced. A nation that forces her people to give to what it sees fit is not a Godly one - private property and individual ownership ARE biblical principles

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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:42 am

Peter G. wrote:
okay, but here's a new twist. I don't disagree with pretty much anything that you guys/girls said. But, if all of our thoughts were focused an God, and all people were Christians, would Communism work? That is pretty much what I am trying to say. This is to more just make you guys think of more then just the obvious. I know that Communism could never work, but if people stayed the path of Communism and all people focused on God, I think that Communism would be a very good idea. But since most of the world isn't Christian, and aren't good, then it will never work. What are your thoughts on that?

TaylorSandbek wrote:
No, it still would not... People are supposed to give as God leads them, out of the kindness of their hearts, not from being forced. A nation that forces her people to give to what it sees fit is not a Godly one - private property and individual ownership ARE biblical principles

Peter and Taylor,

You are actually both right! Peter is right because the idea of communism (or at least the idea of communism that is popularized, there is a lot of sophistry wrapped up in it) would work if everybody was perfectly righteous. See Acts 4:34-37.

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid [them] down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold [it,] and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles' feet.


A lot of people have used this passage to promote communist ideas in the church, and that is where Taylor is right. Government cannot force us to have all things common: this does not work. The Christian idea is to see all of our possessions as the Lord's, and so we give freely as others have need, and so we have "one purse." The Bible does teach against the idea of having one purse with wicked men, however, which would have to be the case if the government enforced the idea nationwide. Proverbs 1:10-14.

10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
18 And they lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for their [own] lives.
19 So [are] the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; [which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof.


Get the picture?

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:13 am

I never denied that it could work, if every man was righteous (which is totally theoretical...), but would it, even then, be Godly? I feel that we are all individually called to do things, individually called to give...

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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:50 pm

Here is my opinion on the situation. I had to write an essay about it for school, and since the essay's only two pages double spaced, I decided to post it here. The summary is that Communism seems good, but is based on the premise that people are basically good. We know that this is true, and so we also know that Capitalism will work better, since it relies on people trying to get what they want.

So I believe in a totally free-market economy. I'll post the essay below.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:52 pm

Capitalism vs. Communism


Is a free market economy or a Communist one better? A free market economy is unregulated by the government, while a Communist economy is fully controlled by the government or by the people collectively. The Cold War was seen as a struggle between Communism and Capitalism (free market). Each system of economics has several benefits in theory, but in practice, things pan out far differently.

Communism is an attempt to create a classless, stateless society. Karl Marx, who came up with this system, believed that Capitalism was evil, and that its inherent flaws would lead to a revolt by the working class and the establishment of a society where all capital (income-producing property) was communally owned. There would then be no poor and no rich, everyone would be financially equal. As Marx said in his book, Critique of the Gotha Program, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” According to its staunchest supporters, a truly communist society would not even have a government, because everyone would have what they needed, and would be content to leave others alone. This theory assumes that humans are basically good, and that when they have enough of everything, they won’t want any more. Capitalism assumes that people will always try to gain more for themselves. They decide what to buy and sell and at what price. The supporters of Capitalist, free-market economies say that if everyone is working for their own interests, then the government will have to prevent cheating and fraud, but that the people will be able to fend for themselves and compete with others for money, goods, and services.

In theory, Communism seems like the better option, because each person is guaranteed an equal share of everything, but in practice, it has never been successful. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) was the first nation to test Communism, and was a dismal failure. Instead of a classless society, the divide between the rich and the poor stretched enormously. Instead of efficiently producing enough for everyone, there was huge waste, with grain from some towns being sent hundreds of miles away, when those who had worked for it were starving. In order to squelch oppression, leaders like Lenin and Stalin killed and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of their citizens. Communists explain this apparent contradiction between theory and practice by saying that the U.S.S.R. was not truly Communist, but only Socialist; i.e. Communism with a government.

Capitalism is based on the laws of supply and demand, and assumes that people will look out for their own interests. While this seems less ideal than Communism, it has worked far better in the past. The United States had a free-market Capitalist economy for a long time, as did many countries in Europe. Gradually, they have all become more Socialist in government attempts to help the poor. One major criticism of Capitalism is that large companies sometimes form monopolies, eliminating competition. This supposedly gives them the freedom to charge whatever they want for their products. Free-market economists argue that these monopolies would not last long without government interference, and that competition would eventually spring back up.

Ultimately, Capitalism and Communism are based on opposing characterizations of humanity. Communists believe that people are basically good, and only do bad things when treated unfairly. Capitalists believe that humans will always work for their own gain, and will be most productive when they benefit directly from their work. The Bible says that “there is none righteous,” (Romans 3:10). Capitalism is based on this premise, and so has succeeded throughout history much better than has Communism.

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Sir Emeth Mimetes
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:19 am

Jonathan,

Not too bad of a summary. One thing that it might be good to point out, though, is that Capitalism actually works out where everybody is trying to out-help and out-serve everybody else. To survive, a business must be the one that best serves the needs of its customers. The free-market is naturally structured in a way that serving other's needs best serves your needs best. Greed is the motive, if buying the same product for cheaper is greed for you. Not a critique of your article, (great job! actually), just a helpful clarification.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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Jonathan S.
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PostSubject: Re: Let's try aligning with economics   Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:57 pm

That's a great point, thanks! I hadn't thought of it that way before. (Although I should have, because my dad mentioned that one time. Rolling Eyes .)

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