Before we can talk about globalization, debt cancellation, or any of another topics related to economics, we have to come to some understanding of what constitutes economic justice. The term means different things to different people. I believe there are three aspects to economic justice:
1. Distributive Justice – This addresses how capital and goods are distributed throughout the society.
2. Commutative Justice – This addresses the truthfulness of parties to an economic exchange.
3. Remedial Justice – This addresses just compensation and punitive action when there has been malicious or careless damage done to life, liberty or property.
I want to visit the biblical implications for these three over the next few posts, but first I think it would be good to make explicit three underlying assumptions:
1. God is owner of all there is and we are but stewards of God’s resources. This takes economics out of the realm of the purely human and puts in eternal perspective.
2. Humanity was made for co-creative work. Work is good! God created each person with a set of gifts and gives them a passion for certain kinds of work. God gets immense joy out of our work.
3. God wants economic bondage for no one. The curse pronounced on Adam was that he would earn his living by the sweat of his brow. This was not God’s plan. Humanity exacerbates the problem through a combination of individual sinfulness and corrupt social structures.
With all this in mind, what does the Bible have to say about economic justice?