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THE WAY FORWARD IS THE WAY BACK
The Sugar Industry's Road to Recovery By Roy Dickson
Short profile here on Roy Dickson, background, connection with the sugar industry etc. One could give many reasons for the present state of economic collapse of the once-great Australian sugar industry. It would be quite natural, and to be expected, if those of us involved in the industry found fault with the seasons (blame God), the government (forgetting who put them there), and industry leaders (again forgetting who put them there and forgetting to mention we did not offer ourselves for election); finally the globalisation, United Nations policy (but who let them in anyway?) and, last but not least, some see the whole problem as the result of greed, and there is a truth in that as long as we examine our own actions fairly as well. However, this article is not about apportioning blame. It's too late for that and, while it might give personal satisfaction (as long as none sticks to us!), it will do nothing to change what has to be changed.
When I get into trouble, I can usually look back and see where I commenced to go wrong. Hindsight is wonderful in that it allows us to clearly see our mistakes. Can this be done in the case of the sugar industry? I believe it can.
Sugar was first produced plantation-style. Its history included transporting coloured workers against their will. My stepmother, fresh from England in 1901, got her first job as domestic servant on a plantation near Innisfail, where most of the manual work was done by Kanakas. Social demands changed that system, and we need not dwell on that period. It proved that sugar could be successfully grown along the coast. However, the government had a problem - how to settle white-skinned people in a tropical environment. Sugar was the answer. It was used, not to create wealth, but to settle people on farms and employment to produce a crop that was needed locally but which could be, even then, bought cheaper overseas.
Industry leaders were fortunate, in that men like Forgan Smith were in state politics at that time. Most of the legislation enacted was introduced by him, and proved to be a solid foundation for the NEW industry. An embargo was placed on the importation of cheap sugar, to ensure Australian sugar could be produced (mainly in Queensland). Both the Australian and Queensland governments introduced legislation resulting in the soundest foundation an industry ever had (primary or secondary). It was designed so that land was assigned to a particular crop - sugar. Being a monoculture, only 75% of the area assigned could be harvested in any one year. The balance of the area was fallowed under green manure (beans), less any area used to grow planting material.
Section 12A of the Central Sugar Cane Prices Legislation spelt out clearly the principles that had to be met in granting, or increasing, the sugar mills' quota to be produced and paid for at a price designed to cover costs of growing, transporting and milling, using an area of land necessary - but not larger than - to support a family. The first four principles of the legislation used the word "reasonable". A "reasonable" distribution along the coast of Queensland, and so on. The fifth condition contained a dramatic change of emphasis. It stated that the allocation must create the utmost employment in the district. The practical outworking of this was seen in the harvesting of the crop, then done by manual cutting of cane. Each cutter was given a quota of tons per day. Of course, if he was experienced he could cut more, but while an able-bodied man remained unemployed in the town, the cutter had to restrict his output so that the other man could work. Was the system abused? Yes, of course, greed was alive then also, but generally it did work.
During and after the war, it was generally the case where, after a short way into the season - particularly in the north - there was a shortage of cutters. I will not digress into the years of British preference and other areas of interest. Here we are only looking at a well-organised, regulated structure that ensured one thing. The sugar industry could not only survive, but grow, when such basis of growth was on sure foundation. The people of Australia paid a price for sugar that was calculated to provide cost of production and a reasonable return on capital invested. Single-desk selling by Queensland sugar Board ensured all sugar was acquired by it. The price for home consumption was fixed, and for a time after the war this accounted for about 50% of sugar produced from the allocation allotted to the mills and farmers assigned to a particular mill.
The British Commonwealth countries had a similar arrangement, sugar-importing Commonwealth countries agreeing to pay sugar-exporting Commonwealth countries a reasonable price. This accounted for roughly another 25%, and the balance was sold on the world market. After estimating the world market returns and the known British Commonwealth factor, if the home consumption price was not enough to meet costs and reasonable return, the industry and Queensland government put a case to the Australian government for a price increase. If it could be substantiated, it was granted.
The sugar industry now has to compete on the world market, something it was never previously required to do. If it had, it would never have existed. This seems to be lost on present government and industry leaders alike. When the original legislation was revised, the original Section 12A became Section 42. I have tried to get copies of the respective Acts at Canegrowers' offices. They generally have been thrown out as they have been replaced by more recent legislation that has continued to move away from the original sound basis. The problem is that what those Acts (particularly the original one) stood for has been thrown out also. The baby had gone out with the bathwater. Even the dish has been lost!
In the '80s, the writer implored the then-Minister for Agriculture in Queensland not to increase the No. 1 Pool on which mill peaks were based and home consumption price fixed, to include large quantities of world price sugar. It was the recipe for disaster. The people of Australia should not have to pay to support such increases, and without the security of the then system, every small family farm would eventually go to the wall.
Well, they are "at the wall" now. The people of Australia should have gained because refineries now do not pay a higher price than that asked by sugar-producing countries that pay their workers a pittance.
There are other factors as well. In the '70s (I think it was) the sugar industry threw out the compulsory percentage of fallow land that had to be maintained each year. It was done so Queensland canegrowers could plant all their area to take advantage of a world sugar shortage, which is a rare event. So they started (or most did) to mine the soil, and not farm it. Here in the '2000s, money is being spent to experiment and write reports to recommend to growers something that was compulsory by legislation in previous years - the fallowing of land (or rotation), to allow the soil to be farmed over long term under monoculture. What must change?
When a nation, a community, and industry or an individual has gone down the wrong road over a number of years, I have found that what must change first is "the way we think". We have ever so subtly had our thinking changed. In education, acceptance of lower standards in almost every phase of our society, an outlook that says "she'll be right, mate, just make sure you're alright"; do what feels good for the moment, and so on. My generation - I'm over seventy - has probably contributed much to the decline, so I'm not judging others.
Let's look at the three aspects
usually covered in any complete study - political; social; economic
- to which I'll add a fourth which I happen to believe now (it wasn't
always so) is the most important of all - spiritual.
Social: With regard to the
social side, here the industry was designed to maintain the maximum
number of people to see the land settled, not produce the most with
the smallest number to make the most profit. An apple that had a worm
in it! People came before profit, and the whole country is now suffering
because we have moved away from that principle which served us well.
New assignments were once given to establish families on the land. Not
possible with an industry based on world markets. In 1978, there was
a surplus of sugar. Rather than stand it over for the following year,
(a difficult process in Far North Queensland where the surplus happened
to be that year), a suggestion was made to government and industry to
harvest it and send it to hungry people who could not afford to buy
it. It was ignored.
For government leaders to now claim
sugar must stand on its own feet is to say that one of three things
Economic. We cannot divorce social from economic factors. What is good economically is often a disaster socially. Sound economics must always be planned with a minimum standard of social structure in mind. The old sugar industry was a prime example of this. Often criticised by free traders, liberal theorists and supporters of "competition policy", it was also held up as the best example of sound agricultural legislation and planning in the world. It provided for maximum employment. It ensured a maximum number of families were settled on the land. It provided a guaranteed income for average performance. It distributed its benefits along the coast of Queensland. It ensured that people were protected and land was properly managed.
Restricted any capital gains (in theory) from the sale of land assigned, by controlling the price paid for assigned land. This was to ensure fairness to the Australian public so that they could be assured farmers were not making excessive profits from the sale of land which was viable only with their support. The system encouraged farm workers and cane cutters to save and put a deposit on a small farm. The security ensured bank finance and ability to service two, and up to three mortgages. Now there is extreme difficulty in servicing any debt at all. Small growers were the backbone of the industry and, forgive the rudeness, now they are its backside, and getting kicked hard as well. All this was achieved because a fixed price to the consumer was paid by the Australian public.
In the climate of world competition, having in mind the general living standards of sugar workers in countries where sugar is produced, it was always impossible to have an Australian sugar industry. That has not changed. All that has changed is the policies of the Australian and Queensland governments (of both persuasions, for those who still believe there is a difference). Whereas previously the Australian industry was protected, now it is said to be good policy to remove that protection. The continuation of this type of thinking will see the demise (if other factors remain the same) of yet another industry - in this case sugar.
To sum up, am I saying we should go back to horses, canecutters, 750/1,000 ton farms, bagged sugar? Of course not! But there should be a No. 1 pool again for home consumption, and reliable contracts with an Australian price to support it. World sugar demands that trigger huge expansion should be at the growers' risk. Small farmers should not be asked to have their price cut to pieces because of expansion into risky markets. Yes, farmers may be larger than before, but the smaller grower should not be forced out. There is a place for the family farm and smaller harvesters instead of large expensive machinery, in many instances cutting so fast that next year's crop is reduced by damage to the stool, because of high quotas needed to meet heavy hire purchase payments by contractors. It is also interesting that the bulk sugar terminals now have to charge the industry a price that allows them to distribute over $50 million this year (after tax on the part that was profit).
Each year they will have to add something on top of costs to make a profit out of which they will pay tax. Again a step backwards that will only get worse for growers with no shares or ones forced to sell their shares to keep going. It's this attitude, the present complete lack of consideration of the effect of policy, that has seen sound economic, social and political principles abandoned as "old fashioned" and replaced with thinking that places the producer, both farmer and miller, at the mercy of forces over which they have no control. The old system was brought in to solve a crisis and settle the coastline. Its abandonment has brought on a crisis that will only be solved by a return to moral policy that combats greed, and a social policy that ensures the small exist with the large and an economic policy that sees that fairness is the basis of marketing and distribution of funds that are enough to sustain the industry.
Can the industry be saved? Yes, but not without change in people first, that bring changes in thinking, attitudes and policies. Can it be done by the industry alone? No. The Commonwealth and State governments have to be part of the solution because they are part (only part) of the problem. But the move must commence at the grass roots level. With us!
Many will say today we are not on about settling people on land and making the most jobs, we are on about quality and efficiency. That is what we need to survive, to compete. We have to produce as much as possible as cheap as possible. Well, the writer would say, "Yes. We need to improve our efficiency because we've slipped so much." Just take the cost paid to harvest cabbage and trash and transport it to the mill and crush it. It would give an old timer a heart attack.
When we remember in some mills over 3% was dirty cane, over 6% was very dirty and much over that was unacceptable (left at the points for the gang to clean or sent back from the mill to the grower).
Growers seem to have forgotten the loss of CCs is all theirs. The mill gets four units and all over that is the growers.'
The mill certainly hasn't forgotten that the cost of milling the "rubbish" is all theirs and they have enough fibre or bagasse out of the clean stalk, they don't really need the rest and all they get for their trouble is the cane a bit cheaper, because they will pay a bit less for the lower quality juice and the higher fibre if the formula for CCS is working. Quality used to be far more important in many areas than it is now. The speed, which we call efficiency, has also come at a price. In many cases, tons per hectare less next season, because of stool damage.
Is there an answer for this? Yes, you have to turn trash into cash. In the sixties, the writer proposed to the co-operative mill board he served on, an idea that was the proposal of a man who had investigated the manufacture of a high quality particleboard from bagasse. Not new, you say. Remember CSR Canite. Yes. The writer remembers and the idea is the same, but not the quality of the finished product. You could not compare them; the new product was of high quality. Ethanol has been proposed as an answer. It should be followed. It also is not new. But it is the tip of the iceberg.
Again the industry needs to go back to what it has passed over. It needs the products and even more, the mechanics of the old legislation to ensure the benefits are shared by both grower and miller. Change has generally come slow in the industry. The writer remembers the introduction of mechanical harvesting. In about 1958, a trial of the experimental 515 Massey was held in a paddock near Victoria Mill. Ken Gaunt, the engineer from England who designed the machine, had his pride and joy in a paddock of good straight can burnt and ready to go. Ken had designed his machine with two choppers, both with shear bolts, and every few yards, one would shear alright, and the machine stop. The writer still remembers the comments from most farmers, which went, "We're going home to give the gang another two bob. That thing will never work." Well, it was made to work, and just as well because, today, they have not got another two bob to give the bank, let alone the cane cutter.
Today it's not, "Can sugar be produced
economically?" its "Can we use all the content of what we take out of
the paddock to earn enough to keep the mill and the grower in the industry?
Can growers keep going while necessary changes are made?" Again, go
back! Farmers were then sustained by a state organization, the Agricultural
Bank. It dealt in advances to farmers only - not banking services.
If any industry survives by killing off most of those in it, that is not progress. It's better to find another industry. Of course changes will come. The writer, as a child, went to town with his parents in a horse drawn sulky. Today he drives a car. What is really important is, does he stop along the road to pick up someone who is walking, or drive past? You see, it's not whether it's a sulky or a car. In fact, there is more room in the car. It's the thinking that is at the foundation of whether real progress is made. Does he stop to help someone who needs a hand?
Now what are all these words on all this paper really about? Is the saving of the sugar industry, along with those in it, the most important problem we have? Well, no, there are other matters far more important. There is the possibility that the control of the nation itself may continue to slip away, or even worse, the possibility that this island continent may not even be run by us at all. This matter will not be proceeded with except to say the solution for both matters is the same.
Now to the fifth factor - the spiritual change. Was Australia ever a religious nation? I do not believe so. However, it was a society that had its roots in a belief in God, and that God was the God of the Christian religion. The Ten Commandments given to Moses were the basis for relationship, particularly the last six, which have to do with personal relationships. God was honoured in our legislation, in our courts, in our schools and generally throughout society. There was a general fear of God even if not a love or reverence for His Son, Jesus Christ. This brought with it a respect and consideration for each other and an expectation that society should keep a certain social standard of fairness and consideration.
With the decline of influence of Christian values, we have seen a decline in moral and social values. Greed in its many forms, always present, has now flourished and no longer does the word 'ethics' mean what it did fifty years ago. What on earth has this to with the sugar industry? Well, unfortunately, everything!
When the Goondi Sugar Mill was to close, and hearings of the Central sugar Cane Prices Board was to be held in Innisfail, I spent some time in prayer with the original and second Central Cane Prices Acts open before me. I had been converted to Christianity in 1978, after years of ignoring God, in fact opposing any organization (church) that said it stood for Him. Now I sought His advice. What did He think of the situation? I had asked to be represented at the hearing because I did not agree with what was happening or the policies being advocated by the respective main players and organisations. The Lord made it clear to me that the original Section 12A was righteous legislation. I had appeared before the Central Board on a number of occasions between 1957 and 1961 on behalf of Victoria and Macknade growers at hearings in regard to Mill Peaks. We appeared under 12A, and I had never noticed before the four purposes for sugar allocation, which were to "be reasonable", and the fifth one, which was to create the utmost employment.
God is practical, not religious. Man is religious. He is a God of love who always would have us think of others before ourselves. Just some of the changes the sugar industry has made cut right across what He calls righteousness.
Section 42 shows clearly a change of reasons for increasing sugar allocation. The industry becomes more important than people. The change is obvious if you are looking for it.
Secondly, sugar is stored to get a price. The Bible says that there is a curse on one who stores his produce to obtain a price. It also says you are blessed when you give to the needy.
Thirdly, the Bible says to spell your land once every seven years. The sugar industry threw that out and proceeded to increase its profits by not spelling land. All it has spelt is disaster in the long term. The sugar industry is not alone here. It is just a part of the Australian society that has walked down this path, one that I was on before I was confronted with the truth. What is the answer to this part of the problem?
We as an industry and a nation must return to God. How do we do this? Go to church? I am not saying that. It is a personal matter for each of us. As a small number hand their lives back to the Lord, you will find them gathering together in churches, houses and sheds of an evening in prayer for their district. In the '80s, Bob Katter snr. Was asked what could be done for the sugar industry during a small downturn. I was amazed that his answer was they needed to pray. Asking him why he said it, he told me of an instance in the history of the wool industry when, after a Sunday allocated to prayer, the Prime Minister and cabinet changed course completely on a matter which was life and death for the industry at that time. I am sure if he were alive today, he would join with me in giving the same advice. The writer would be happy to explain to anyone who wanted to know more about this aspect.
Yes, the sugar industry needs to go back to God and to the principles it set in place with government legislation supporting it that agreed with godly principles. There is no other way to go but down. If we do it God's way, He says, "IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME (that's those of us who say we are Christians) WILL Step 1 HUMBLE THEMSELVES (I always find this hard) Step 2 PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE (talk to Him while you stand and face Him) Step 3 TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS (I am sorry to say we all have them. Every time God is not put first, He regards it as a wicked way. He is a God of love but He is also a jealous lover.) Then He will (Firstly) HEAR FROM HEAVEN (He will listen again to us. We don't realize He has stopped until things go wrong). (Second) AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SINS (that means we can communicate because unconfessed sin causes Him to hide Himself) (Lastly) AND HEAL THEIR LAND."
There is the answer as to how to get the land healed God's way. When we talk about God, whom are we talking about? So that the writer is understood, let him describe who cannot really be described in words, this way. Take a good father. A child (son or daughter) grows up and leaves home because they rebel against dad and mum's standards. They live it up and then when things go wrong, need help. They know the door is always open. They are always loved and welcome; in fact there is great rejoicing when they come to their senses and come home, bruises, problems and all. In fact, dad has been looking and waiting for them to come. Understand this and you understand the real Almighty God. Not religious rules, just unconditional love. That's the all-knowing, practical God the writer knows, and is writing about. An ever-present help in times of trouble, to those who love Him.
When, in the mid 'seventies, the former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen abolished death duties, he was bitterly opposed by some, but applauded by many others. The abolition of death duties had been in the platforms of the Liberals and the old Country Party for most of this century. But few had seriously moved the policy applied. Sir Joh commented after his move that he had been approached by people in his own party to drop the move, even though they had campaigned on the idea. One reason was that the move would be so popular that other States would be forced to follow suit - which, of course, is what happened.
Those who think back to the "death duties" period will remember some of the great injustices - widows hit with impossible demands on homes or farms where they lived, just at the time they were grieving over the death of a husband; farms or businesses that had been in the family for generations plucked out of their hands by the State - there are many examples.
It is a Christian principle built into Magna Carta that debts could not be piled on widows and orphans after the death of a breadwinner. In fact, debts owed by someone ceased to apply after his death. However, there are some who sincerely believe that inheritance is wrong. The A.L.P. and the Greens both include the re-introduction of death duties in their Party policies. Why do some have such views?
During the last decade, three young men - (two Australians) - have been in the process of taking over huge financial dynasties from their fathers. They are James Packer, Lauchlan Murdoch and Cameron O'Reilly. James Packer is taking over the reins of the empire of Kerry Packer, Australia's richest man. The empire includes the Fairfax press, plus major television networks and other enterprises. Kerry Packer is said to be worth $3 or $4 billion. Lauchlan Murdoch is gradually taking over News Limited from his father, Rupert. News Limited spans the globe, and is the biggest media operation the world has ever seen. Cameron O'Reilly is taking over from his father a network which includes Australia's Rural Press Limited, plus the famous Heinz 57 Varieties empires. The dynasties these young men will inherit are not of their own making. There empires are, in each case, their inheritance.
The opponents of inheritance use such examples to illustrate their argument that the right of inheritance entrenches monopolies from generation to generation, building immense wealth in the hands of a minority at the expense of the vast majority, thus enshrining the division between rich and poor. Far better, they argue, to abolish inheritance, starting each individual in life on a "level-playing-field", so that advantage cannot be made into a monopoly. When you look at the empires and dynasties ruled by some families in the world, there is a rough logic in all this. But there are some deadly traps, too.
The Ten Commandments warn us against "covetousness". Envy and malice are crippling vices. If we are going to abolish inheritance, we must deny the right of men or women who have worked hard, foregone pleasures that others have enjoyed, and saved and scrimped to pass the "fruits of their labours" to their children. Their position must be no better than the spendthrift who has saved nothing for his children. The person who opposes inheritance must also oppose all advantage - the right to private property, the right to profit from personal effort, and in the end even the talents which make some people more capable in certain directions than others. Any advantage is regarded as unfair.
It is this viewpoint, more than anything else which has led to the socialist view. "Let's all start without advantage over each other" is the basis of the ownerless, property-less, inheritance-less perception. It is quite understandable that many, contrasting the huge divide between rich and poor, end up in this position. Thus, for the last two or three hundred years, the world has been divided into the violently opposed camps of communism and capitalism. In neither has battered humanity discovered the promise of peace, freedom and brotherhood!
The battle intensified in 1848 with the publication of The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx. In this booklet, Marx listed ten points necessary for a Communist society - which included abolition of private property, heavy, progressive taxation, and the abolition of the right of inheritance. It was Marx's belief that this would produce a just, happy and balanced society. He also railed against the idea of a creative God. Religion was, he declared, the "opiate of the people." He went further in advocating the abolition of the family. History has shown how wrong he was!
The inheritance principle is a Christian idea. "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children," says the book of Proverbs (13:22) Christ went much further than this. He asked His listeners, if an earthly father gives good things to his children, how much more would our heavenly Father do so? "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" (Matt. Ch.7:9,10,11)
We need to think about this very carefully, because the nation of Australia, created by God and inhabited by the men, women and children He also created, have little inheritance and are in danger of losing their country. Because His gift is freedom, God does not interfere in the running of the Reserve Bank and the Taxation Office. But Christ made it clear that God's provision was available to ALL nations and peoples if they chose to apply. Just as human parents make a WILL AND TESTAMENT about what they leave to their children, so God has made His WILL AND TESTAMENT. Anybody interested can get a copy, for it is, and has been for many years, the biggest seller in the world. It has been translated into more languages than any other work, and many have died trying to pass it on to those who have not yet read it.
In his WILL AND TESTAMENT provided by God, there is huge emphasis on the idea that, if we live the way God intended, there is complete provision for EVERYONE wishing to avail themselves of the offer. Such applicants must meet two conditions of eligibility - they must love God their father, and love each other! Not so very hard, you would think? Any earthly parents would hope that their children love them, and also love each other.
Once they meet these criteria, God's children are in line for an inheritance; and, what's more, don't even have to work for it! If they did, it would no longer be an inheritance, but a wage!
Listen to these words: "Behold
the fowls of the air; they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather
into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better
than they? . . . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore,
if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow
is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little
faith? . . . Your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these
things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you . . . ." (Matthew 6:20-33)
It is something that happens to people and nations when they accept the "conditions of eligibility" necessary for the inheritance. Christ taught us to work and pray for the arrival of His Kingdom. It was, and is, perfectly possible, if we want it enough. "Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven . . ." However, Christ also taught that it would not arrive all at once, but gradually over a period of time, as people heard the message, and opened their minds and spirits to how big it was. Therefore, he spent most of His time teaching about it, in the form of stories, or, as they are called, parables.
He spoke more about this growing Kingdom, which started the moment He rose from the dead, than anything else. He warned that there would be those who would oppose it; who preferred power and privilege; and that there would be a lot of suffering before it brought universal peace to the Earth. He also said that we should not be daunted, because He would always be available, and that the "gates of hell" would not prevail against those who had joined forces with Him.
"The kingdom is like a grain of mustard seed, which eventually grew to overshadow all others." "The Kingdom is like unto leaven, which a women took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened . . ." The Kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field . . ." The Kingdom is like a net, cast into the sea, gathering every kind . . . "
Re-cap Let's just re-cap.
Firstly, this is a world of abundance, not scarcity.
A lot of economists teach there is no such thing. "There's no such thing as a free lunch," is the credo of modern economics. When human beings discover how God's creation works, and 'invent' things, this knowledge is passed to succeeding generations in the form of education. How many travel on four wheels? How many can truthfully claim to have invented the wheel? No one actually knows who invented the wheel. It was certainly long before the time of Christ. The ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans used chariots. Our generation got the wheel principle for nothing! Every day of every week of every month of every year of every century of history there have been new inventions, which are simply discoveries of how Creation works. We allow inventors to profit from their inventions through patents. But these have a "use-by" date. After that they belong to everyone. We call it our heritage, which is another way of saying our "inheritance".
Every invention is essentially a
"labour-saving" device. If we keep discovering and banking up labour-saving
discoveries, what's going to happen to labour? Is it possible we are
now in a period where the "Curse of Adam" is being removed? Christ made
this statement: "Come unto Me, all ye who labour, and I will give you
rest." Think about that one!
Let's look at one little example - the State of Alaska. In that barren frozen wasteland round the city of Anchorage, they have one enormous advantage - oil. The oil was created by God. Man's discoveries produced techniques for identifying where it was, and how to recover it. The techniques were the identification of scientific and engineering principles which apply to God's creation. Now the oil is "on-tap", the people of Alaska have decided that, after those who work in the industry get their fair share for their efforts, the remaining oil revenue is GIVEN to the men, women and children of Alaska as a yearly dividend.
"Give us this day our daily bread." "Give us this year our annual oil." Each person gets his or her share in the form of dollars - man-made tickets which mean nothing if there is no bread or oil. Could the principle operating in Alaska offer us something we could use elsewhere? And how would it work? For a proper understanding this means we have to look at Money. Scripture tells us that "the love of money is the root of all evil." Could Christian principles applied to money offer us the breakthrough? Perhaps we should have a look at the WILL AND TESTAMENT of the Creator to discover the answer.