Honest Weights

A letter I received from an organization I am with discussed some structural changes the company was making. In the introduction it said, “slightly chaotic growth, like modest inflation in the economy, is a good thing as it keeps us from fossilizing.” I have heard the sentiment about inflation several times. It pushes people to act because if they just hold on to their money it slowly devalues into nothing. This is the essence of what our economic handlers believe with some justification.

While devaluing money through clandestine or open means has its proponents in the modern era, the Bible suggests otherwise.

In the Old Testament law God established a standard of measurement, “the shekel of the sanctuary.” “Every valuation shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall make a shekel” (Lev. 27:25). When conducting official business at any time throughout its history (to the extent that the law was followed), a shekel had to conform to a standard set in stone, as it were. Its weight remained the same. Of course its subjective value could rise and fall through the normal market forces of supply and demand, but the fundamental value of a shekel remained the same.

If you think about new goods like technology, the value of our currency increases. I can buy a much better version of an IPhone today at a price substantially lower than the ones introduced a decade ago. This is the power of industrialization. In a growing economy, the purchasing power of a dollar should generally increase across the board, but because of the philosophy of inflation, it does not.

Obviously the Old Testament mandates concerning weights and measures do not apply directly to us today; however, principles (economic or otherwise) that come from God would seem to provide sound guidance. Our economic handlers disagree.

You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt (Lev. 19:36).

“In weighing and measuring, we pretend a design to give all those their own whom we deal with; but, if the weights and measures be false, it is like a corruption in judgment, it cheats under colour of justice; and thus to deceive a man to his damage is worse than picking his pocket or robbing him on the highway. He that sells is bound to give the full of the commodity, and he that buys the full of the price agreed upon, which cannot be done without just balances, weights, and measures. Let no man go beyond or defraud his brother, for, though it be hidden from man, it will be found that God is the avenger of all such.” (Matthew Henry)

You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the Lord your God (Deut. 25:13-16).

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight (Prov. 11:1).

A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work (Prov. 16:11).

Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 20:10; cf. 20:23).

Strong, stable, growing economies are built on hard work and frugality. We work hard and we save for the future. Abominably, efforts to purposely devalue money rob the hard working frugal citizen, and forces him to play speculative games in the stock market in order to try to maintain the purchasing power of his savings. Because western economies have built up so much wealth over the past two centuries, there is an abundance of capital available to prodigiously spend, but a generation follows who won’t have the abundance that others have experienced available. The hunt for pig pods will then begin.

 

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