Could different choices alter our economic structure?

by Mary Ann McGivern

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A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times ran an opinion piece, "No More Industrial Revolutions." Part of its point is that there is no innovative technology on the horizon to save the United States from big economic losses to developing nations with growth potential.

Thomas Carlyle called economics the dismal science because it is essentially a matter of choices. I look at the dim industrial prognosis as an opportunity to choose local green retrofitting and better pay for service industries.

The mantra has been that wealth is grown (agriculture), dug (mining) or made (manufacturing). But the model that spurred growth was Henry Ford paying his employees enough so they could afford to buy the automobiles they were making. It was an ironic fulfillment of the biblical vision that workers would eat their own harvest and live in the houses they built (Isaiah 65:21). The irony is that the industrial revolution is a mixed blessing.

Instead, we can choose an economy that relies on the high-tech knowledge industry, mid-tech steel mills and delivery systems and low-tech windmills that also relies on no-tech skilled human service. It is an odd thing that there is a broad Christian movement to hurry up Armageddon and ignore God's call to share the good things of the earth.

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