What Impact Does Fear Have on the Economy?

Fear Scrabble PiecesHumanly speaking, capitalism has made America one of the greatest economic successes in history.

Of course, we know that God ultimately has blessed America so that our country could become what it is today. But I believe he has blessed us because of our overall desire to do things the way he intended us to do them.

What is the first command in recorded history? “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

God told humanity to fill the world with his image, subdue it, and have dominion over it.

Now, do your research, and you’ll discover that no one in history subdued anything and gained dominion over anything while sitting down and doing nothing.

It requires work! God created man and told him to work. Thus, fulfilling God’s will requires effort. Good things don’t “just happen.”

Okay, back to America.

The outworking of “supply and demand” has made us one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

American RevolutionDo your research again: America did not gain its independence by signing the Declaration of Independence and going off to the prairie to build log cabins. Nor did America become wealthy by giving everyone everything they wanted for free.

Is our country perfect? Of course not. Stealing land from Native Americans was not right. Forced slavery of other human beings was not right. Other wrong actions could be added to this list.

On the other hand, our country eventually realized that those things were wrong and chose to do what is right (most of the time). If you want property, you should pay for it. If you want someone to work for you, you should pay them in accordance with their effort.

If you want to improve someone’s life, you should work hard to find better solutions than those that already exist. If you want nice things, you should work so that you have the means to obtain those things.

Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

You don’t get rich by stealing. You don’t bless people by defrauding others. You don’t become an Olympic athlete by sitting on your couch watching Olympic events. You don’t build immaculate skyscrapers by playing video games. You don’t become a concert musician by owning 17 different instruments.

Get the point?

Good.

So imagine this. A wealthy country gets invaded by an invisible enemy in the form of a life-threatening virus. Actually, let’s make it worse and say that the virus is a pandemic.

This virus has no permanent solution. It infects millions, hospitalizes hundreds of thousands, and kills thousands.

Flu Virus

What should the aforementioned wealthy country do? Well, a reasonable response would be to require sick people to stay home until they recover, encourage everyone to constantly wash their hands and eat healthy, and perhaps advise people to wear masks, especially those who have the virus.

Remember, good things do not just happen. They require effort. Good health requires effort.

Well, this virus has come to America, hundreds of thousands have been infected, thousands have been hospitalized, and hundreds have died.

The virus? Influenza, of course.

You knew I would say that, right?

So, how have we responded to the flu(s)? Well, we encourage people to get their annual flu shots. But that’s about it.

We still let kids go to school with the flu. Yeah, they will probably pass it on to their friends who will pass it on to their families, eventually killing infants and older people and those with existing medical complications. But we still send them to school anyway.

Hand washing? Yeah, we do that after using the restroom (sometimes). But doing it throughout the day? Not necessary.

Wearing masks if we have the flu? C’mon, this is America, not Asia!

To summarize, America does not fear the flu! Thousands of people die every year in America while capitalism continues to drive our economy, pushing up the stock market, moving people into bigger houses, and minting new millionaires every month.

We go about our business thinking, “Nothing to fear. It’s just the flu.”

But now the plot thickens as a new character enters the scene: Covid-19.

The novel Coronavirus is like nothing we have seen in recent years. Not as deadly as SARS and Ebola, but it moves much faster. For now, it’s not as widespread as the flu, but it has a higher death rate.

Our response? Fear.

Fear of the unknown and fear of death.

The result? Thankfully, many wise moves have been made by many people, especially those in leadership roles in our country.

But fear has also made us unreasonable as we have unconsciously called for the death of capitalism.

Stock Market Crash 2020The stock market appears to have the virus, falling about 30% and currently gasping for air.

We have flooded the stores, greedily hoping to buy everything we think we need before someone else gets it.

Online shoppers have bought out face masks and hand sanitizer, driving up demand but complaining when prices go up.

Now congress tries to pass a bill that will encourage those without work to stay home as long as possible without working because they can get paid more for doing nothing.

Fear has crippled our economy, but for no good reason. America (and the world) has survived worse things, and those things usually made economies stronger.

This pandemic will be no different. People will find new and better ways to do things as a result of having to adapt, and our economy will continue to grow. The stock market will have new all-time highs again, and we will continue to build bigger houses.

We will amass newer and nicer and more things that we don’t need because our economy will continue to move right along after this virus is contained.

Well, that is, if we resuscitate capitalism and preserve it for future generations.

This is not the time to be cashing out your investments. Save the money because capitalism will grow it again.

Do not load up on toilet paper, flour, sugar, meat, pizza, and hand sanitizer. Keep your supplies at your normal levels and go back to the stores when you need more. Capitalism will keep those stores open and stocked.

Stop complaining about price gouging. That’s how the “law of supply and demand” works. The more something is in demand, and the less it is in supply, the more it will cost. That is fair and reasonable. That is capitalism, and it improves our lives in the long run.

If Congress passes this bill and you get checks in the mail, think twice before spending that money. If you still have your job, maybe consider giving the money to someone who lost there’s. Perhaps give more to your church to help them stay on track with their annual budget. Send some to missionaries or donate to Feed My Starving Children. Just some ideas.

Please help our country and do not let this virus overrun capitalism. Do not let fear make you lazy.

Maybe you are hurting financially right now. Rather than being afraid, let this time motivate you to work harder with what God has given you.

Do not fear. God designed us to work.

What Does Fear Do to Us?

Toilet Paper Usage211 days.

TWO HUNDRED ELEVEN DAYS.

Under normal circumstances, that’s how long the current supply of toilet paper will last at my house.

A new study I conducted last night on https://howmuchtoiletpaper.com/* indicates that my toilet paper should last until October.

Ironically enough, my wife bought toilet paper before Covid-19 started to manifest itself in America, and she bought in bulk from Sam’s Club because it was the cheapest option.

We have not gone to the store to buy “necessities” since the panic buying began because we already have more than enough supplies to last us for quite a while.

In fact, in general, everyday life has barely changed for us in recent days. More than anything I think we are merely curious about how the world will respond to the CrAzInEsS that has become the new normal.

A few days ago we went to a grocery store not to buy anything but to see how human fear had affected business. We had heard stories and seen pictures, but we wanted to see it and document it for ourselves.

Empty Grocery ShelvesPasta aisle? Decimated.

Bread aisle? Devoured.

Toilet paper? Wiped out.

Coffee aisle? Well-stocked. (I always knew it wasn’t a necessity!)

The store had a lot of sales going on, but we had a hunch that the sales did not drive the mass amounts of nothingness on display. This is not normal.

This is widespread fear, and the fear bug is spreading faster and farther than Covid-19 ever will.

In a cruel twist of events, the American economy has taken a dive while the grocery stores move more product than they ever have. Why? Fear.

If you stood in a grocery store parking lot today and observed the army of well-armed shopping carts pouring out of the building, you would never guess that millions of Americans are suffering from reduced or eliminated paychecks.

Thanksgiving dinner shopping doesn’t compare to this exodus of food off the grocery shelves.

Super Bowl party shopping? Not even close.

Black Friday? Maybe…but TVs, Air Pods, movies, and home goods have given way to TP, air purifiers, masks, and canned goods.

Coronavirus Lego Set

Fear has manifested itself in the form of irrational actions. Every day right now we see people doing unreasonable things because they are afraid.

“So are you saying that Covid-19 is not as bad as we think and that everyone has overreacted?”

Not quite. There is a difference between acting out of fear and acting out of wisdom. Fear is irrational and wisdom is rational.

For example, when our government leaders choose to shut down businesses temporarily and close borders indefinitely, they are making reasonable decisions in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

But if our leaders go all out and prohibit doctors from going to work so that they do not contract the virus or pass it on to others, they would probably be responding out of fear rather than wisdom. Refusing care to suffering victims is not a reasonable response.

When we go to the store every week to buy food and other necessities, we are being wise. We need those things to live healthy lives on a daily basis. But many of us have crossed the line from wise to unreasonable; hence the barren grocery stores.

I understand that not everyone in America has enough food for two weeks. Living here and visiting many homes, however, has convinced me that most people have enough food and soap and toilet paper to last at least two weeks and probably much longer.

Check your pantries. Look in your freezers. Revisit your secondary freezers. Go to your storage closets.

I am going to guess that most people who have been stocking up already had enough supplies to last them a month. That’s how we operate here in America. We usually buy more than we need and already have enough to sustain us for a long time.

Thus the panic buying of the last couple weeks is unreasonable (for most people). Thus we are acting irrationally rather than rationally.

The bottom line is that fear makes us act in ways that are not logical or good. In other words, not only have we chosen to be afraid, we have also chosen to respond to our emotional creation the wrong way.

Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, and many of us live in fear every day. For the most part, the novel Coronavirus has not struck fear into our hearts; rather, Covid-19 has revealed the fear that has lurked beneath the surface of our smiling faces for years.

This time we simply have a harder time keeping our fear hidden. I will explain more in my next post.

By the way, I’m curious. How long will your stash of toilet paper last you? Please leave a comment below and humour me!

*you can conduct your own study to see how long your toilet paper will last by visiting https://howmuchtoiletpaper.com/ (special thanks to my brother-in-law Paul David Larson for sharing the link with me)

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