Jerry Bowyer is the president of Bowyer Research and our resident economist. You can read his insightful columns for World News Group at WNG.org.
WHAT WERE THE SELF-INFLICTED HARDSHIPS THE PURITANS FACED DUE TO THEIR ECONOMIC POLICIES?
- The Puritans at Plymouth Plantation implemented a communal property system as dictated by their charter.
- This economic policy was essentially a form of communism where no one owned their land, men worked the land collectively, and women cooked for everyone.
- The system led to a lack of motivation as people didn't want to work for others, causing excuses and a decrease in productivity, which resulted in starvation and hardship.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE PURITANS’ ECONOMIC FAILURES WERE NOT JUST "REVISIONIST HISTORY"?
- The reality of the Puritans’ struggles was documented by primary sources, including writings from William Bradford, who acknowledged the mistake.
- The communal economic policy was influenced by the prevailing intellectual ideas from England, derived from Plato's philosophy.
- The Puritans realized their error, abandoned the communal system, and allotted private land which led to improved work ethic and productivity, aligning more with Biblical principles such as the commandment "Thou shalt not steal," emphasizing private property.
TELL US ABOUT THE ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES THAT THE PILGRIMS APPLIED AT PLYMOUTH PLANTATION AND HOW IT RELATES TO THE FIRST THANKSGIVING.
- The Pilgrims initially implemented a communal system where property and labor were shared, but it led to laziness and food shortages.
- Changing to a system that embraced private property, as encouraged by the wisdom of Moses and the Bible, resulted in productivity and abundance.
- This shift to private property and trade, including exchanges with the Native Americans, culminated in the first Thanksgiving, celebrating their newfound prosperity.
HOW DOES THIS HISTORICAL EVENT RELATE TO AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM AND THANKSGIVING?
- The Pilgrims' experience with and rejection of a communal system for a biblical model of private property is a foundational story of American exceptionalism.
- William Bradford, leader of the Pilgrims, was deeply versed in the Bible, and their biblical worldview provided a clear alternative to failed economic systems.
- The knowledge of this pivotal moment has faded in American culture, contributing to the repetition of economic mistakes such as nationalization efforts seen in recent history.
CAN YOU DISCUSS GOD'S PROVIDENCE IN THE FORMATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ECONOMY?
- The Puritans' gradual acceptance of a capitalist system for all economic sectors, not just agriculture, coincided with the upbringing of early American founders.
- This theological and economic evolution was providentially timed, setting the stage for the independence movement and the framing of the Constitution.
HOW DOES TODAY'S ECONOMY COMPARE TO THAT OF THE FOUNDING ERA?
- Current economic practices have drifted towards the control and taxation reminiscent of the tyranny the American colonies rebelled against.
- The challenge today is not armed conflict but an intellectual and cultural one, advocating for a return to biblical principles of private property over government control.
WHAT ACTIONS ARE NEEDED TO RETURN TO A BIBLICAL ECONOMY?
- Christians should lead by example in economic productivity and voluntary sharing, countering the compulsion inherent in communist systems.
- To prevent the state from stepping in to solve problems, individual and collective actions in repentance, prayer, engagement, and especially sharing within the community are crucial.
On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions:
- Will starting to withdraw from my annuities cause me to have a tax issue since I don't currently file taxes, and does the IRS monitor deposits over $600?
- I'm retired and have a $50,000 annuity; the company suggested converting it to a precious metal IRA - is this possible and advisable in my 70s?
Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000. Faith & Finance is also available on the Moody Radio Network as well as American Family Radio. Visit our website at FaithFi.comwhere you can join the FaithFi Community, and give as we expand our outreach.