A 24-Hour Economy

It was not so long ago, that there was a large petition against a 24-hour economy. Everywhere people collected signatures from door to door. Also at the Information Exhibition (Wegwijsbeurs) in Utrecht, signatures were requested. The results were surprising. Within a few months the drive collected more than 750,000 signatures. The Minister of Economic Affairs was presented with the petitions. Naturally, he thanked them politely, but he added, ”We in the Netherlands don’t even know about a 24-hour economy!”  What? Was the petition done for no reason? What actually is a 24-hour economy?  And why have so many people signed the petition? This article provides answers to these questions and encourages you to think about the problem.

What Is a 24-hour Economy
Whoever analyzes the word carefully instantly realizes what it is about. A day has 24 hours. Most people work during the day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. In most places the stores are open from 9 a.m. 'till 6 p.m. Even now those are still the ’normal’ working hours. There have always been people who worked different hours: evenings, nights, and even on Sunday. ” (but) What is really necessary and what is not?”  Is it really necessary that a retailer be open everyday until 10:00 p,m.? Do the machines in the sugar factories really have to continue to operate on Sunday?  These questions put the 24-hour economy into perspective. In a 24-hour economy, people can shop 24-hours a day. Necessary or not: factories, banks and offices are then open 24-hours a day, also on Sunday, so seven days a week! That is why it is also spoken of as a 7x24-hour economy. And the minister was correct: fortunately it is not yet gone this far in our country. But the minister also knew that we are moving in that direction more and more. And the people who collected the signatures wanted to strongly and seriously warn against that! Why is that warning so very necessary?

1. The Bible set aside.
There was a time that the government of our country listened to what the Lord commanded in His Law. This was especially true in the time after the Eighty Years War. But, then came other times. Particularly during the 18’” century (the time of the ’enlightenment’) and during and after the French time, many people left the simple Word of God and relied on their own understanding as a guideline. That has gradually become worse. And now’? The Bible does not count at all anymore for the government of our country. The largest part of our nation doesn't want to live anymore the way the Lord commands in His Word. Only a very small segment goes to church twice on Sunday. Most people want to have freedom. What do they say then? ”I find a 7x24-hour economy not all that bad. although I would rather speak of a ’free choice economy’ That’s what I want. If I wish to shop on Sunday that should be possible. And if I want to work on Sunday, then it should be up to me to decide. It is ridiculous that the government compels me to rest on Sunday. I can decide that for myself. For millions of Dutch people Sunday is not a sacred day.”  A Dutch government minister spoke these words. Dreadful language!  It is the language mentioned in Psalm 2: ”The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His anointed. saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

2. Husband wife both have to earn money.
But something else is going on. It is a good thing that most of you find your mother at home after school. You relax, have something to eat together, you talk about what has happened at school that day. But in more and more families it happens that father and mother both work out of the house. Our modern time quite often degrades mothers who work at home taking care of their children and household. It seems as if a woman only counts if she also has an office job or something like it. That has to do with what is called the emancipation of the woman. And the children? The youngest have to go to daycare. Many grandmothers and preschools are involved. Schools have to keep the students occupied, also after school time. Or... the children have a key to the house in their pocket and come to an empty home. The love of many seems to wax cold. It has been proven that juvenile criminality increases because of that. The government is sometimes at an utter loss. And still... Still, the government continues to change the laws so that increasingly stores and factories work through the evening, night, and on Sundays, on the way to a 24-hour economy!  But what does that mean?  Many men and women, fathers and mothers even leave the family during the evenings and on Sundays resulting in even less family time together causing still more problems. What a sad situation!. It is just so important to be together at home, and to eat together, and to do things as a family. The family is a haven and is a place where you are to be raised!  Let us safeguard it!

3. The world is getting smaller.
And do you know what also has much influence on the 24-hour economy? Technology. There are more and more very large firms. They have factory branches and plants all over the world. Many employees of these companies use airplanes to quickly travel from one to an other subsidiary. This happens more and more often in the evening, at night, or on Sunday. At the same time, computers are connected via the Internet. A computer problem in Canada can be solved by someone in the Netherlands. Indeed, the world seemingly is getting smaller all the time. To earn much money, to have a flourishing company, and to obtain honor and respect in the business world are things that often are deemed more important than the treasures of rest, coziness, and the worshipping together in God’s house. Ever more expensive and complicated appliances and machines are being used. Everything has to be faster and more efficient and as cheap as possible. Wouldn’t it be silly not to use those expensive machines during evenings, and on Saturdays and Sundays? It is much more economical to operate them seven days a week and 24-hours a day. Every now and then stop them for a little maintenance and repair, but then quickly resume! And the people with their families? They will have to adapt to this 7x24-hour economy,

Distress - Adapt?
This is a problem for people who still wish to live according to God’s commandments. ”Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” What? You do not want to work on Sunday? Then there is no place for you with us. People hear that kind of comment more and more when they submit a job application. And then to remain steadfast, even if all the stores in the street are open on Sunday, then still keep your store closed, because the Lord commands: ”In it thou shalt not do any work, thou nor they son, (...) nor they manservant.” To remain steadfast, even when you lose customers and your profits are decreased’? Yes, this is the time in which we live. The encroaching 24-hour economy causes problems for people who wish to live according to God’s Word. But remember: the Lord will never put them to shame; ”Lord, I cannot, I may not go along with profaning Thy day, and the destruction of my family. Wilt Thou help me in this distress?”