Acton Institute Powerblog

The ‘New’ Ownership Society

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I don’t think government ownership is what President Bush had in mind when he talked about his vision for an “ownership society,” which had ostensibly included a plank focused on “expanding homeownership.” But it looks like that’s where we’re headed in an era of government takeovers and bailouts.

For some background on how we go to this place, check out this 1999 piece from the New York Times (HT): “In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.”

All this seems like case of good intentions (increasing private ownership, extending capital access to the poor and oppressed) executed by means of bad policy (lowering credit standards for loans, bailing out failed corporations) resulting in negative (albeit unintended) consequences (foreclosures and bankruptcies).

Oh, and are you one of the people who didn’t borrow beyond your means? Guess what? You got pwned. As one blogger wonders, “Am I just a sucker or something to play by the rules? Are all of us who paid taxes suckers?” Think of that as the “pwnership” society.

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 Krishan

    You err (*)! The dollar in the doldrums ‘cos the poor got greedy? Not computing. The product of your terms lies in the debit column – a dud!
    Instead you need to equate the irrational accounting rules forced upon us by the Fed’s promiscuity with bankers in bed with foreign sovereign wealth funds with credit expansion that removed all incentive for healthy productive activity from the economy — what Austrians call mal-investment. When the only thing climbing is the M3 supply we should have known something was wrong – but then the Fed stopped publishing it, ‘cos they knew their number was up!
    Gresham’s law predicts commercial real estate, car loans and mall retailers credit cards will all be next in line to seek bail outs from the NannyState. Ron Paul predicted it, we’re ALL addicted to the Fed’s cheap credit, and our government relies on the seignorage scam to cover its foreign policy adventures.

    ENOUGH ALREADY! We need a Christian foundation to our the theories of value, not the deluded, dehellenised, voluntarist illusions of the logical “positivist thesis that economic reality lacks intrinsic intelligibility” Barry Smith, 1990, see

    What goes up can come down! FIAT funny money is about as reliable as the Hindenburg, and we just got “burned” not “owned.”
    * and calumniate those with meager resources in the same breath the neoClassical economics favored by some “experts” at Acton are doomed to these kind of crises because they have no logical basis in reality, that a free market is based on free will, and Fed’s manipulation of the inherent credit fractional reserve banking redit expansion will hit

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