Acton Institute Powerblog

Sirico on Capitalism and the Common Good

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Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, will address “Capitalism and the Common Good: The Ten Pillars of the Moral Economy” on September 14, 2006, at The University Club of Chicago.

Join Rev. Sirico as he examines ten features of market economy that often are viewed as disruptive, but in actuality are positive forces in forming the cultural, moral and behavior traits most often associated with virtue, responsibility, and good society.

Reserve your spot here today.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Clare Krishsan

    Will candor, truth and transparency in financial markets be covered? The Measuredmarkets Inc. study reported by the NYTimes was disappointing, failing to call attention to the prevailing lack of moral certitude of key actors in the institions our economy relies on for security and prosperity. Whispers of Mergers Set Off Suspicious Trading 8-27-06

    For example, try and parse this statement by the S.E.C.’s Joseph J. Cella:

          “We are certainly cognizant of the uptick in merger-and-acquisition activity”

    While some argue insider trading is a victimless crime, its awfully hard for those of us who know otherwise (lying and stealing are always sins, whether or not the law forestalls prosecutions without plaintiffs) to secure our values on rock solid foundations when the vocabulary of public discourse has become so shrouded in vacuity.

    Compare the sense of “purpose” (to coin a fashionable Rick-Warren-esque term) expressed by Herbert A. Denton, president of Providence Capital, a money manager and an adviser to minority shareholders:

          “Martha Stewart got hurt very badly for something that happens every single day on Wall Street… it’s a falseness and a hollowness to the capitalist system when you are pretending that things are pristine and they are not. Either the S.E.C. should get very, very serious and prosecute a lot of people or forget about it.”

    The journalist herself, Gretchen Morgenstern, seems to suffer a case of profound timidity in the face of evil, for, after outlining the major abuse, crimes and misdemeanors uncovered in the survey, mischief is the strongest epithet she can apply to this ominous threat to commerce:

          “The fast and furious pace of deals this year is increasing the opportunities for mischief.”

    Perhaps its time for the S.E.C. to get into the gaming business and request the help of Edward Tufte – we need more insight into the complexities we’re confronted with than the SECs wisdom of “uptick-cognizance” – Tufte’s data technology of sparklines (intense, simple, word-sized graphics) could certainly contribute a service to clarity by cutting through the obfuscation verging on outright corruption that the US GAAP currently seems to condone. Compare it to a tsunami early warning system. We can’t claim there’s no one to warn us, when we prefer to act like ostriches with our heads in the sand, while Russia, China and India take a cue from our rule book and permit oligarchs to enrich themselves at the expense of those creating the actual wealth, the laborers.

    Acton has no dedicated thread/tags for FASB and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) – perhaps now would be a good time to collate commentary around this important topic? I for one would welcome reading more in this area.

  • Clare Krishan