Investment as an Alternative to Debt
Updated: Oct 12, 2019
I am not an economist. These are just my musings on the potential of turning to investment rather than debt.
For a Christian, the issue of debt can be confusing, since the Bible repeatedly refers to the evils of debt and pronounces curses upon moneylenders, which might make you think that the Biblical approach to debt and money-lending would be to forbid both, but Old Testament law inexplicably assumes that God’s people will themselves engage in these practices. I say 'inexplicably' because this is how it must seem to a binary thinker. The OT laws concerning debt are of course intended as a means of limiting and mitigating the destruction that it can cause.
As I wrote in a previous post, I believe that Jubilee laws (debt forgiveness after a pre-determined length of time) would go a long way to solving the debt problems we currently face, at least as individuals. Another possible solution for personal debt occurred to me, though I am uncertain how it could be implemented. Rather than looking to borrow money, people could be encouraged to look for investors. This is not an original idea of course. Attracting investors is hard, but if society and government discouraged money-lending and debt, I think people would organically find ways to make investing easier.
Perhaps people would find a way to sell shares of themselves.
When you borrow money, the only thing the moneylender wants is their money back with interest, within a reasonable amount of time. They don’t care how you pay back the money, just so long as you do. An investor is different. An investor has a personal interest in your success and has incentive to help you succeed in any way he can. He will go out of his way to help you out if you’re struggling.
At the present time, a serious obstacle to this model (replacing widespread debt with widespread investing) is that most investors of the sort I envision would probably have to come from within one’s local community and social circle, and since most of us are increasingly unconnected from our communities and becoming more and more socially isolated, we would have difficulty attracting investors. Friends, neighbours, and mentors might provide greater accountability than a bank, but they have to exist in the first place. You can find a bank anywhere, but you might not find community.
A whole host of societal changes would have to occur for something like this investment model to really come to fruition. Primarily, people would have to stop moving around all over the country in search of work. Communities would have to be more like they were in the pre-industrial age, with deep multi-generational roots. I think this is likely to happen after a major war on the North American continent.
This investment model, once it was implemented, would serve as a catalyst for bonding community together, creating interconnected webs of goodwill, accountability, and trust.