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brakes but no accelerator

They said to him [Jesus Christ, AD 30, Galilee, Israel], “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” …….. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.        Matthew 14: 17-21


What an accelerator was this!  5 loaves feed 5,000+ people who were all satisfied that they had had enough and did not need to eat from the leftover basketfuls….


A feature of the States of Jersey over many decades has been its ability to apply brakes to all sorts of activity – in the public interest, of course.


First, there are brakes on obvious things like importing addictive, damaging drugs – or on importing diseased plants – or on allowing obnoxious weeds to proliferate.


Then for example, brakes have long been in existence over the development of land by building on it. And brakes have also long been in place to regulate “undertakings” (business activities) and development (broadly, building – but this time from the viewpoint of Jersey’s economy).


More recently, brakes have been introduced over mergers and acquisitions that might give rise to a reduction of competition. And so on.


What about accelerators? As Shakespeare had it (in a different context), “Aye, there’s the rub”.


The absence of an accelerator has been the most important missing tool for government in the global financial crisis now upon us. Government cannot, at present, get the banks to lend to one another…….. The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate is way above the Bank of England Rate reflecting the fact that banks have to offer terribly high rates to other banks so as to obtain deposits from those other banks – rates that the banks seeking deposits are not really prepared to pay.


And in the field of postal services in Jersey, neither the States nor the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority has an accelerator that will bring a competitor to Jersey Post into the market.


Furthermore, Britain has entered a recession. What is the principal characteristic of a recession? Individuals will not buy. Companies will not manufacture. Where is the accelerator to make them buy? Or manufacture? Gordon Brown does not have such a thing in his tool kit.


Some might argue that interest-rate or tax reductions will kick start the buying. But those are not really accelerators. They merely reduce or remove “frictions” – frictions that are really brakes.


But this Jesus Christ has the accelerator. He multiplied food, instantly, by about 10,000 times – and fed the hungry who were following him in Galilee. The accelerator was used to feed people who were hungry – people who had nothing to pay.


The accelerator was not a re-allocation of resources previously extracted from the crowd (by taxation or otherwise). It was not symbolic either – where one person ate and the others “believed” they had eaten.


Accelerators were used by Jesus many times: a second feeding, this time of 4,000 in a non-Jewish (Graeco-Roman) area north-east of Galilee; a changing of water into abundant wine at a wedding; giving sight to a man born blind; raising a man from death.


But Jesus Christ seemed especially keen to use the accelerator to provide bread. He added his own words: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger; and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”


No hunger; no thirst; no brakes. Accelerators but no brake in the kingdom of God.  Quite the opposite of 2008 government.

‘Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.’  (Edmund Burke, Anglo-Irish politician and philosopher, 1729-1797)
‘God is not in need of anything, but all things are in need of God.’ (Marcianus Aristides, Greek Christian author, Second Century AD)
Richard Syvret

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