End Game Economics

May I recommend a new book to you? Three or four weeks ago I was visiting with one of our guests after the worship service. He and his family from Toronto were on campus with their prospective student. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and financial advisor for the past twenty years. He told me about a book he has written and offered to send me a copy. When it arrived a week ago, I sat down and began reading. I was so intrigued I finished Tim Aka’s 2014 book, End Game Economics: Understanding the Financial Crisis through Scripture, a few days later (a Kindle version is available at amazon.com). His rather dramatic premise is that you can trace the fault lines of a predicted global economic collapse in the ancient prophecies of Scripture. That in itself may not be such a novel suggestion. What I found stunning was his collection of accumulating evidences in the economies of the world’s leading economic powers (U.S., China, Japan, the European Union) to support his conclusion that the “proverbial ‘perfect storm’ is nearing and we can track its progress by watching the developments in energy, food and water, debt, stock markets, and cost inflation. These forces are relentlessly driving towards an event horizon of economic chaos” (117). Consider, he writes, the divine warning in Habakkuk 2:6—“Will not all these take up a proverb against him [Babylon], and a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases what is not his [debt]—how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges [of indebtedness]?’” Everyone knows that the amassing of national and personal debt is now the most debilitating practice of both government and populace. Which is Aka’s point. We are addicted to debt and it is killing us. “The only solutions that governments around the world can offer are more debt and more money printing to pretend that all is well. . . . There is an illusion of wealth and well being, as the stock markets are ramped up every day, but there is less real economic value being created” (31). Prayerfully consider the mounting economic evidence for yourself. In 2000 the dot.com bubble of technology collapsed, and the economy plunged. In 2007 the real estate bubble collapsed, and the economy nearly melted down. And now the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (money printing) debt bubble is on the edge of collapse. Where will this one leave us? Aka compares our predicament to a low-flying airliner, running out of fuel, but with no place to land. Inexplicably the pilot shoves the throttle forward into a  steep climb, consuming precious fuel, but giving the impression that all is well, when in fact on that climb the fuel will run out. Only those with golden parachutes (the 1% of earth) will profit from that desperate climb, bailing out, leaving the hapless passengers (you and me) strapped in that crashing airliner. How then should we live, you and I? If ever Habakkuk 2:6’s indebtedness ought to be shunned, it is certainly now. In the mini-series, “How to Quantify Your Happiness,” over the next few weeks let’s share ancient wisdom that can spare us (as much as is possible here on the brink) unnecessary personal financial and spiritual collapse. God is the greatest Provider of all: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). “The perfect storm” is ahead. But the good news is that in spite of the bad news, God promises to carry us through to the greatest news of all—the long-hoped-for return of Christ. But before the promised return comes “the perfect storm.” The point? It’s time to prepare.