Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Jubilee

One of the most interesting concepts of the Bible is that of the Jubilee. It's an event that happens every fifty years, and is found in the book of Leviticus Chapter 25. The chapter expresses a concern, not about "Law", but about People, especially those who are apt to be taken advantage of. Two main points are Freedom for Slaves, and return of Land to its original owners. These two concepts are related. The person who has control over the land that another person works, or lives on, has partial control over that person; a partial slavery. The idea is that Land is very different from selling the work of our labor for several reasons: Land is a Gift from God, and Land is Forever. The Jubilee is, in effect, a kind of continual land reform. Land is not a commodity that can be bought and sold. It is an inherent right of all people. Interesting that this concept is several thousand years old, yet has been mostly ignored in the living out of religious values.

Land Value Taxation is a way of accomplishing this continual Land Reform, by making sure that all people have a share of the land, or its income. The Jubilee also warns us against thinking that we can abuse our environment: the land is to rest every seven years.