Yes, we are faced with a global economic crisis. However, the root is a metaphysical crises. The Atheistic-Materialistic metaphysic that is at the foundation of the new global economy is insufficient to sustain either a personal-family economy or a healthy global economy.
The English word economics is derived from the Greek word oikonomia and literally means “household management.” It is derived from two Greek words: oikos – “house” or “household,” and nomos – “managing” or “caring,” and thus means to manage or steward the household. Oikonomia is related to another Greek word, oikologie – “the study of the house” from which we get the English word ecology.
Both words reflect concepts that are Biblically derived. When we ask the meaningful question “Whose house?” the answer is God’s house. The universe was made by God and for God. Human beings have been placed here as stewards of creation, managers of the household (Genesis 1:16-18; Psalm 8). As such, we are to both conserve (not rape) and progress (create abundance) Creation – God’s house. This metaphysic is radically different than the Atheistic-Materialistic paradigm that denies God, sees man as a consumer of scarce resources, and applies social Darwinism’s “survival of the fittest” as the chief operating principle. These two different paradigms will inevitably produce two very different worlds and economic results.
It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who helped us understand the distinction between two economic models oikonomia and chrematistics. Chrematistics comes from the Greek word khrematizein – “to make money,” and from khrema meaning “money.” In contrast to oikonomia which stewards God’s house, chrematistics is a technical term for seeking the most efficient way to accumulate as much personal wealth as possible as fast as possible.
Oikonomia and chrematistics are rooted in two very different metaphysics–one is Theistic and one is Atheistic–and they have two very different value systems. Oikonomia is the management of the household to increase its health and value for the whole community and for future generations. Chrematistics is the manipulation of property and wealth for maximum gain of the individual in the shortest time frame.
Oikonomia benefits the entire community and cares for the created order. Chrematitistcs benefits the individual at the expense of the community and the destruction of created order. Oikonomia functions with long-term time frames and is interested in investment to strengthen corporations, the community, and the nation. Chrematitistics functions in short-term time frames–in trading stocks, bonds, and commodities for maximum gains in the shortest time for the individual manipulation.
The root of the current economic crisis is not money, it is the abandonment of Theistic economic principles for Atheistic chrematistic principles. To solve the economic crisis we must return to the sound principles of household management.
-Darrow L. Miller