1 And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which, if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land.
2 Wherefore every man did cleave unto that which was his own, with his hands, and would not borrow neither would he lend; and every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and his own life and of his wives and children.
What a sad state of affairs! Embedded in this description are at least 2 important warnings for us:
1. Our economy is dependent on our ability to trust each other. If a small number of people are dishonest and take advantage of the system, we can collectively withstand it. But if a critical mass of people stops playing by the rules, the entire system collapses. We rely on one another’s trustworthiness for our collective prosperity.
2. Our social and economic structures can fall apart much more quickly than we realize. Wealth can disappear, peace can evaporate, and systems of order can crumble rapidly. We live our days assuming those things are permanent and stable, but they are fragile and unpredictable. In the end, it is what you have become, not what you have accumulated, that matters.