Acton Institute Powerblog

PowerLinks – 11.23.12

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The Miracle of the Supermarket
Wesley Grant, Values & Capitalism

Without capitalism, the world as we know it would be fantasy. One of the most inspiring demonstrations of this is the modern supermarket.

I Will Gladly Vouch for School Vocuhers
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, Indiana Barrister

Voucher opponents argue that any public money that goes to private, religious institutions is a benefit to the school and therefore violate the Indiana Constitution.
Not so fast.

Religious Institutions and Modern Society
Greg Forster, Hang Together

The immediate challenge is to the religious freedom of we who practice a social religion. The nones fail to understand that other people’s religions – ours, for instance – presuppose institutional embodiment.

Outside Reflections on Distributism
Andrew Haines, Ethika Politika

In a word, as an alternative to free market capitalism, socialism—or even utilitarianism, more generally speaking—Distributism is a tough sell. Not because it lacks substance, but because it requires too much.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • RogerMcKinney

    Haines: “There’s very little—if anything—about Distributism
    that fails a coherence test of truth;”

    So, I went to the “Distributist Review’ and read the article “The Just Wage” by Storck. At one point Stock wrote: “Today we are inundated with cheap goods produced abroad, sometimes in conditions little better than slavery. This is a distortion of the economic process as well as a violation of justice.”

    So Storck thinks Asian workers should be paid as much as US workers? If so, then there would be no reason to buy anything from Asians, who would then have no jobs and would be reduced to subsistence farming again.

    Distibutism is pompous in its assumed moral supremacy. It is unrealistic, which is a form or immorality. And distributists are arrogant to think they can determine what wages an employer should pay. Any employer who hires entry level unskilled workers and tries to pay them enough to support a family of four will go broke and poor people will forever depend upon charity for survival.

    Distributism’s fetish for self-employed workers contradicts the reality that very few people have the skills necessary to be successfully self-employed. Their attitude shows a contempt for the role of entrepreneurs and the difficulty of their task.

  • RogerMcKinney

    Here is Stork again: “Finally, we have the most interesting case of all, “an industry which, even under normal circumstances is not in a position to pay wages corresponding to what wages are supposed to accomplish….” This industry is therefore “lacking in economic justification,” which “means that the requisite consumer demand is lacking, and such an industry no longer has a place in the pattern of satisfying normal human wants.” This latter is probably the situation of many discount chains and big-box stores, and similar businesses.”

    Storck says these stores violate commutative justice. But let’s explore what would happen if these evil stores paid a living wage of say $20/hr. They would have to raise prices dramatically to pay those wages, in which case the poorest people will have to do without those products. Demand would plummet, forcing the stores to lay off many workers. I guess it’s OK with Storck that the poor remain poor and the rate of unemploymnet remain high.

    Storck’s theory of wages would send the Western world back to the middle ages when all manufacturing was done for the wealthy while the middle and lower classes made their own clothes, tools, furniture, etc.

    The big box stores that Storck hates provide jobs for people who would not have a job and supplies products to poor people who would otherwise do without.

    I guess what irritates me most about distributists is their total lack of regard for the poor. It’s like they can only say “Let them eat cake!”