“Globalization must do more than connect elites and big businesses that have the legal means to expand their markets, create capital, and increase their wealth.” –Hernando de Soto

6898950_7a0fd3b3d9_bWhen assessing the causes of the recent boom in global prosperity, economists and analysts will point much of their praise to the power of free trade and globalization, and rightly so.

But while these are important drivers, we mustn’t forget that many people remain disconnected from networks of productivity and “circles of exchange.” Despite wonderful expansions in international free trade, much of this has occurred between “outsiders,” with many partners still languishing due to a lack of internal free trade within their countries.

Much of this is due to an absence of basic property rights, as economist Hernando de Soto argues throughout his popular book, The Mystery of Capital. If the global poor don’t have the legal means or incentives to trade beyond families and small communities, so-called “globalization” will still leave plenty behind. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Crisis In International Religious Freedom
David D. Corey, First Things

The vital question is why the number of countries committing and supporting religious persecution is growing so rapidly. The number of CPSs has nearly doubled in a year. What lies behind this startling trend?

Supreme Court Justices Get More Liberal As They Get Older
Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight

A typical justice nominated by a Republican president starts out at age 50 as an Antonin Scalia and retires at age 80 as an Anthony Kennedy. A justice nominated by a Democrat, however, is a lifelong Stephen Breyer.

African governments show improvements but progress ‘stalls’

Thirty-three out of Africa’s 54 countries have shown improvements in the way they are governed over the last four years, research has found.

Uber, Millennials And The Struggle For The Free Market
Tom Rogan, Opportunity Lives

Unfortunately, from Frankfurt to Paris, Madrid to Rome, Sao Paulo to San Francisco, London to New York and beyond, ride-sharing firms are under attack from increasingly aggressive enemies.

“How are we to be in the world but not of it?”

It’s the question at the center of Acton’s film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, and our response has a profound impact on the shape of our cultural witness.

In a lecture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Bruce Ashford frames the same question around our perspectives on nature and grace, asking: “What should be the relationship between God’s saving works and word and all of the rest of life?”

To answer this, Ashford explores five competing visions, and though he approaches each with a specific focus on education (given his audience), the basic theology applies to all other spheres of culture: (more…)

foodbank“I am a socialist. That’s why I run a food bank. I don’t believe in markets. I’m not saying I won’t listen, but I am against this.”

That was the reaction to one food bank director to the news that four market-friendly economists were going to help Feeding America, the largest network of food banks in the United States, allocate their resources. So what happened when America’s Soviet-style food banks began to embrace free-market economics?

51If4pLhXLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_It’s always a pleasure when Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, comes to town; he’s an engaging speaker, a thoughtful leader, and really an all around fantastic guy. That’s why it was such a privilege to sit down with him last week in the Acton Studios after he delivered his latest Acton Lecture Series Address last Thursday to record this week’s edition of Radio Free Acton. We talked about the message of conservatism, how it often gets bogged down in facts and statistics, and how conservatives can better communicate their core principles to a public that is often quite skeptical of our motivations.

You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below, and stay tuned to the PowerBlog for video of Brooks’ ALS address, which will be posted a bit later this week.

Excellent Credit ScoreA few days ago a young friend asked me if I could recommend reading material on what a person should look for when dating. Being a serious-minded Christian gentleman he’d consider any serious dating partner to be a serious candidate for his future spouse. So what should someone read to get an idea of who to date/marry?

Having given it some thought, there are two things I’d recommend reading: Proverbs 31:10-31 and the dating partner’s credit score.

Let’s start with the last chapter of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs ends with a heroic poem, a type of Hebrew poetry that recounts a hero’s mighty deeds. Rather than recounting great battles or courageous military exploits, though, the poem describes the domestic and economic work of a woman in heroic terms. “A heroic poem for someone engaged in domestic labor is remarkable in the ancient world,” says Peter Leithart, “and shows something of how God regards the work of women.”

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Funding growth, expanding opportunity: Novel funding mechanisms for schools of choice
Michael Q. McShane, AEI Ideas

Private school choice programs and the organizations that support them could do a much better job deferring the capital, infrastructure, and other fixed costs of participating private schools.

This is the simplest solution to help Africans live longer
Samuel Oti, Quartz

For many African countries and especially among poorer communities, when people die there is no trace in any official legal record or statistic.

How Do You Improve Worker Pay? Licensing Reforms, Not Unions.
James Sherk and Astrid Gonzalez, The Daily Signal

What do today’s workers need? The White House appears to believe the answer is “a union.” At a summit Wednesday the administration plans to showcase workers unions have helped. That is fair enough, but most workers don’t find unions relevant to their working lives. A much greater problem is the barriers the government itself erects.

The Military Isn’t A Low-Wage Option For Stupid People
Emily Domenech, The Federalist

Active-duty military troops far out-earn their civilian counterparts when compared to civilians with similar education.

Whether derided as a devil of modern industry or hailed as a saint of modern philanthropy, oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller remains a controversial figure.

Although the reality of the man is surely complex, those who attack his legacy tend to indulge in more than a few historical errors and economic myths, painting him as a supreme symbol of all that is wrong with industrialization and capitalism. And yet, despite some troubling tactics and cronyist maneuvering, the man himself is a symbol of much that is good.

As historian Burt Folsom explains, the real picture has a bit more color and brightness. Contrary to his critics, Rockefeller’s empire prioritized ingenuity above indulgence, gift-giving above greed, and economic transformation above static consumerism.

Rockefeller’s special gift to the world? “Cheap kerosene,” says Folsom, and “cheap enough that anyone could buy it.” (more…)

51If4pLhXLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Leaving behind the dreams of socialism was a painful yet exciting journey for me. More than anything, I rediscovered myself in the process. Instead of a faithful drop within the wave of revolution, I was a unique and unrepeatable individual made in the very image of my Creator. Reading this book reminds me of the many things I discovered about what makes this country great: freedom, chief among them.

Arthur Brook’s book successfully remind us of certain first principles placing the human person at the center of action, as protagonist of a great story of human progress instead of keeping individuals as mere scenery in the drama of our good intentions. In a way, a good portion of the book seems more a defense of certain aspects of the philosophy of Christian natural law—as the author sees it—expressed in conservative principles. That is why we read about the primacy of the person over things or over the acquisition of wealth, the various ways to catalyze human flourishing through economic initiative, the intrinsic goodness of human action, and an insistence on a right order of things toward integral human fulfillment. Tied to that summary of ideas is a call to refine conservative language by finding new ways of communicating these ideas to build a new civilization. (more…)

cellphone-africaFor the first time in world history, less than 10 percent of the global population will be living in extreme poverty.

According to World Bank projections, at the end of 2015 only about 702 million people, or 9.6 per cent of the global population, will still be living in extreme poverty. Over the past three years, an additional 200 million people have climbed above the international poverty line.

What makes this feat even more remarkable is that it’s based on a new definition of extreme poverty. The World Bank, which sets the benchmark for the global extreme poverty line, is shifting the line from $1.25 a day to $1.90 a day. Valerie Kozel, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains the reason for the shift: