Was Jesus being an emotional sap when he told the rich man to give all of his wealth to the poor person (Mathew 19:21)?
Was Jesus hinting at a fiscal policy?
To find out we have to take Jesus literally, and build a legislative rule around his suggestion: JR-7473: Rich guy must give wealth to Poor guy … now let’s see what happens:
scenario 01 – The rich man, we’ll call Aaa, follows the rule and gives all his wealth to the poor person, we’ll call Zzz.
scenario 02 – But now Zzz is rich, and Aaa is poor; so Zzz must follow the rule and give all his (new found) wealth back to Aaa.
scenario 03 – The cycle continues: Aaa and Zzz keep handing the money back and forth indefinitely.
For me, what I see here is an Economic Circulation Pattern.
Of course, the money is meaningless to both Aaa and Zzz if they do not spend it. So let’s try a different scenario set, allowing them each to spend money while they are in possession of it:
scenario 11 – Aaa follows the rule and gives all his wealth, $1,000,000, to Zzz.
scenario 12 – Zzz, who is starving, goes out and buys a loaf of bread and a Porsche.
scenario 13 – But now Zzz must follow the rule and give his wealth to now-poor Aaa … but what to give? The bread does not constitute ‘wealth’ (at least not in appropriately modest quantities), but the Porsche is clearly excess and so it is ‘wealth’ … therefore Zzz must hand over the Porsche and remaining cash (assets + cash = $999,997) to poor Aaa.
scenario 14 – Aaa receives the Porsche and cash. He is psyched about the Porsche, but quickly realizes that JR-7473 will not allow him to keep it, so he trades it in for a Ford Taurus. Also he buys some groceries.
scenario 15 – Aaa then gives his wealth to the poor person. The current value of the wealth is $979,977 (the Taurus was about $20k).
scenario 16 – Aaa and Zzz continue the cycle, each time getting the basic things that they need. The wealth slowly dilutes until at some point neither has excess wealth. The cycle stops.
In other words, Jesus’ rule, if followed literally, leads to a middle-class society of economic equality … interesting.
I personally believe that in a real functioning society that this is not realistic, but I do think that there can be systems in place to foster this type Economic Circulation Pattern, specifically I think Bubble-Up Economics via Productivity-Oriented Social Programs does it, although Productivity-Oriented Social Programs do go against JR-7473, which required nothing of the recipient, whereas Productivity-Oriented Social Programs do require something. Read more: P-OSP