Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Christian Social Thought

How did money-lending stop being a sin?

“Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history,” notes Alex Mayyasi. “So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?” Today, a banker listening to a theologian seems like a curiosity, a category error. Continue Reading...

Work too much? You might have the ‘Proletariat Touch’

Two weeks ago, a group of scholars from around the world gathered in Notre Dame, Indiana for Holy Cross College’s Labor and Leisure Conference. Among the many present was scholar Joseph Zahn, who presented his paper, “The Status of Leisure in the Human Person: Whether Leisure is a Virtue?” With levity in his voice, Zahn began: “Writing a paper on leisure without leisure is a difficult, if not utterly futile, task.” Set to begin his doctoral studies in philosophy at the University of Dallas in the fall, Zahn already has presented three papers at various academic conferences. Continue Reading...

The ‘end’ of work

In the Q&A part of a session I led at last month’s Acton University on Abraham Kuyper and Leo XIII (based on this recent volume), I was asked about specific areas where the two figures have something concrete to contribute today. Continue Reading...

How God makes a smartphone

“Everybody has a cell phone,” Steve Jobs told John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar, “but I don’t know one person who likes their cell phone.” The frustrated CEO of Apple decided to do something about the problem, which lead to one of the greatest products of the modern age. Continue Reading...

The solution to healthcare is solidarity, not socialism

“The answer to the healthcare conundrum is not be found in Congress or in the White House, or in any draconian centre of usurped power,” says Joseph Pearce, “it is to be found on our own doorstep, in our own homes and in the homes of our neighbors.” Put simply, the principle of subsidiarity rests on the assumption that the rights of small communities—e.g., families, neighbourhoods, private associations, small businesses —should not be violated by the intervention of larger communities—e.g., the state or centralized bureaucracies. Continue Reading...

Are pastors particularly partisan?

A new paper released this week by a pair of political scientists claims, as The New York Times reports, that, “pastors are even more politically divided than the congregants in their denomination.” As the abstract of the paper states: Pastors are important civic leaders within their churches and communities. Continue Reading...

A Christian defense of capitalism

Humanity knows just two theoretical forms of organizing public interactions, says Alex Tokarev. All real socio-economic systems that have evolved through the centuries are a mix of the two opposite ideological concepts: One of the systems uses political coercion. Continue Reading...

What Pope Francis doesn’t understand about speculation

In a recent visit to a steel factory in Italy, Pope Francis said, “One sickness of the economy is the gradual transformation of entrepreneurs into speculators.” “The speculator doesn’t love his business, doesn’t love the workers, but only sees the business and workers as the means to make profit,” the pontiff added. Continue Reading...

Economic freedom eases poverty

“The poor will always be with us, but such a sobering reality does not free us from an obligation to work to alleviate the ravages of poverty,” says Trey Dimsdale. “On the contrary, Jesus’ statement only serves to remind us that every generation will face the question of how best to fulfill our holy obligations to them.” It is clear that many in the present generation have taken notice of the plight of the poor and are moved by genuine compassion to advocate for the poor, provide for their needs and seek to lessen the suffering caused by their circumstances. Continue Reading...