One of the reasons for America’s prosperity is bankruptcy—according to British-born financial historian Niall Ferguson, who teaches at Harvard.
In his book The Ascent of Money, he points out that "There were no debtors’ prisons in the United States in the early 1800s" when English debtors could languish in jail for years. And how "Since 1898, it has been every American’s right to file for Chapter VII (liquidation) or XIII (voluntary personal reorganization)." A right Americans have used: "there are between one and two million bankruptcy cases every year in the United States."
How has this led to America’s prosperity? It has given people a chance to start over. Ferguson writes: "The ability to walk away from unsustainable debts and start all over again is one of the distinctive quirks of American capitalism…The theory is that American law exists to encourage entrepreneurship—to facilitate the creation of new businesses. And that means giving people a break when their plans go wrong…"
At first glance it seems to have worked. He cites ketchup king John Henry Heinz, circus man Phineas Barnum, and automobile magnate Henry Ford as examples of the many businessmen who failed at early endeavors to become successful later on.
People need second chances. People need forgiveness.
God offers forgiveness to all who ask for it. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
God is a God of second chances. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Reference: Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money (The Penguin Press, 2008), pp. 59-61
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