Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Economics in One Lesson

I'm late. But I enjoyed this week's section, which focused on "parity prices," "saving" particular industries (two that are having trouble in my state are the sock industry and the oyster industry), how the price system works, "stabilizing" commodities, price-fixing by government, and rent control.

Mr. Hazlitt made these chapters very easy to understand, so I have nothing to add by way of explanation, but the final chapter on rent control and low-income housing made me think about what (if anything) I can do.

When we lived in Virginia we were part of a small church (maybe 70 or so families) located in a very expensive-to-live area. Rents and housing prices were enormous, often out of the reach of middle and low income families. In our church many families opened their homes to individuals and other families who could not afford places of their own. Rents charged were nominal, at best, and often the two families ate together and enjoyed recreation time together, too. These people did this not for a few weeks or months, but for years.

It amazed me (still does!). You see, I can open my home to family members for long, indefinite periods - we've done it in the past and are doing so now - to give them a place to stay without financial obligation, and without expecting anything of them. But I fear that I'm too selfish to do the same for a family or individual who is not related to me. That's Christianity lived out to a degree beyond where I am currently. But I want to get there. I pray that I'll get there. And perhaps, one day, God will show me how to do it, and walk me through it.

I can't change the world. I can't provide a cheap, safe, warm place to live for everyone in need of such a thing. But perhaps I can do it for one family. And if I do it, maybe another family will see and do the same, just as the families from my Virginia church did.

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Blogger Julie said...

Ohhh, I can relate to your yearning to be wholly living out that kind of love, like Jesus. For others and for Him. Maybe you will lead me in this...

3:13 PM  
Blogger Carmon Friedrich said...

Laura, I just finished reading a book called _Making Room_ which was about radical hospitality, tracing that practice through history and talking about communities which practice it today. The book had issues (like advocating a role for government social programs, ack!), but I thought the idea of how sacrificial true hospitality ought to be was a good. I am far from being able to practice it that way, too, and there are many questions for me about how it could work when we have such large responsibilities for our own families, but I do think it bears some consideration.

What a good point to bring up in light of this discussion!

9:46 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Can we come live with you? :)

Just kidding.

It is hard for me to imagine pulling something like that off with our young family, but I know my parents have found opening their home to be a very effective way to introduce foreign exchange students to Christ!

12:00 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I, too, have only been willing to open my home for family members, but it is clear that there are ways for the economy to function efficiently without the government stepping in to take care of every little hang-nail of its citizens.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

You've given me something to think about.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Dominion Family said...

Laura, My son in the Navy recieved this sort of hospitality in VA and I will never stop thanking the Lord for it. Just this week a woman who had offered hospitality from to Timothy found my blog and wrote to ask about him. I was able to thank her for the tremendous blessing she was to him. It would be a huge blessing to Christian families for young men in the military to live amongst Christians rather than the barbarians in the barracks. It really could have eternal consequences.

11:47 AM  

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