Nehemiah: Government Tribute and Extraction; Crony Capitalism
In Nehemiah V, the king and his nobles extracted so much of the property and income from the people that many had to sell their children to stay alive. Nehemiah and the verses below show how the wealthy (and the government) get more and more wealthy at the expense of others.
And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, we, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore, we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, we have mortgaged [arab—pledged, exchanged] our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth [ra’ ab—hunger]. There were also that said, we have borrowed money [keceph—silver; and by implication money] for the king’s tribute [middah—height or breadth; a measure], and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards. Nehemiah 5:1-6.
The English translation above uses the word “tribute”. But the Hebrew word (middah) means height or breadth; a measure. The measure (amount) of silver content in the coins was reduced, which is debasement. This particular reference to a measure involving silver is made as a warning: “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measure of weight, or capacity. You shall have just balances and just weights.” Leviticus 19:35-37. “Differing weights and measures, both of them are abominable to the Lord.” “Differing weights are an abomination [tow’ebah—something disgusting; abomination] to the Lord, and a false scale is not good.” Proverbs 20:10, 23:1.
“Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.” Deuteronomy 25:13-14.
“Saying, when will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? And the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?” Amos 8:5.
“Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?” Micah 6:11.
Tribute (improper measuring; unequal weights and balances) to the king caused the destitution of the people as stated in the first five verses of Nehemiah V. In contrast, the king and his cronies are wealthy. The king exacts income and property and requires the people to sell their sons and daughters into bondage with no power or financial ability to get them back because others (noblemen—crony capitalists) own their lands and their vineyards.
PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. RICHARD DUKE
A general, but serious, reason to read this book— The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economics Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of The Last Century — is to avoid being one of the millions who will be duped when the next crash (bust) occurs. Millions were and continue to be duped as to the reason for the boom leading up to 2007 and 2008 and why the bust occurred in 2008 relating to real estate.
Thornton begins with an important discussion of money creation and Richard Cantillon, writing: “… Richard Cantillon (1680s-1734?) [was] the first economic theorist and proto-Austrian economist …[he] showed how the interest rate and the money supply can create changes and distortions in the economy, a phenomenon now referred to as “Cantillon effects.”
Monetary inflation is affected by who gets the money and credit first and who gets it last. As fiat money is created by central banks, private banks are in a position to expand the amount of loans they make. The wealthy have established relationships with the banks, and they have the real estate and assets to provide collateral for the loans. Large, established companies and wealthy individuals are in favorable positions relative to small businesses and people with low or average incomes. The loans allow big companies and wealthy individuals to invest in capital goods during the boom phase of the business cycle. Central banks thereby create artificial inequality and poverty. This is the primary Cantillon effect of redistributing wealth.”
Thornton shows that the biggest winners come from the Federal Reserve and the bank system’s creation of newly created currency and credit are the U.S. Government, its large contractors, such as weapons manufacturers, big banks, and Wall Street. The losers are also revealed: the labor class consisting of private-sector workers, those on pensions or fixed incomes.
Review by Richard Duke on the Mises Institute website of the book: The Skyscraper Curse: And How Austrian Economists Predicted Every Major Economic Crisis of the Last Century by Dr. Mark Thornton