Category: Economics

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 4, 2016
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jesus_was_a_socialist_poster-ra50dbe5fff854b98ad170860c4976c88_wvg_8byvr_324The resurgence of socialism in America, especially among the young, seems to be based on a widespread form of wishful thinking and historical ignorance. Most people who support Bernie Sanders, for instance, do not realize that most of his ideas have been tried already—and discarded as unworkable.

Similarly, many Christians who support Sanders don’t realize that for centuries socialism has been considered incompatible with Christianity. Since the mid-1800s every Catholic pontiff—from Pius IX to Benedict XVI—has forthrightly condemned socialism. Protestants don’t have a single leader to make that judgment call, of course, but we too have determined that based on Scripture socialism is incompatible with biblical principles.

Yet despite the obvious disconnect between Christianity and socialism some people go even further and claim that Jesus himself was an advocate of socialism.

A solid, thorough rebuttal to this baffling notion can be found in Lawrence W. Reed’s essay, “Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus A Socialist?

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What do we care about? How does the economic system affect our purpose in life? How can it enhance our purpose?

Those are the questions Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, tackles in his presentation before the Aspen Institute.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, January 22, 2016
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If the goal is to improve the economic fortunes of the least-advantaged workers and families, says economist Don Boudreaux in this short animated video, then the minimum wage is a terrible idea. On his blog, Boudreaux adds:

The minimum wage yields unfair advantages to families, such as mine, with teenagers who hail from middle- and high-income households, who are well-educated, whose parents and other relatives have social and business connections, and who have their own personal means of transportation. These advantages come at the expense – cruelly so – of minority and inner-city teens, of low-skilled immigrants, and of other workers who are poorly advantaged yet who, in most cases, need employment more than do those advantaged workers who manage to find jobs at the higher, minimum wage.

detroit-neighborhood“The Bible has a rich desert theology…He will cause rivers to flow, even in desert conditions.” –Christopher Brooks

Pastor Christopher Brooks and Evangel Ministries have demonstrated a unique model of urban ministry in Detroit, focusing not just on meeting immediate needs through traditional channels, but on fostering a vision of long-term, whole-life discipleship.

In a talk for the Oikonomia Network, Brooks offers invaluable perspective from his years of ministry, concluding that the gospel has the power to bring economic flourishing to impoverished communities. Poor communities are very similar to deserts, Brooks explains, where people feel trapped by the elements and desperate from the thirst. “These feelings of fear and vulnerability, and feeling overwhelmed, is exactly what the poor feel on a daily basis,” he says.

The good news is that Christ brings life and liberty to all people and in all places. “We preach a gospel that tells people they don’t have to relocate in order to experience the blessing and flourishing that comes from being in Christ,” Brooks says. “In other words, you shouldn’t have to change zip codes for the gospel to work for you.”

Thus, Brooks and his church have sought not only to meet temporal needs, but to help communities see the gifts and resources they already have, harnessing and connecting them accordingly. This isn’t to say that it’s as easy as strolling into these communities and peeling open a Bible. It begins and continues with close and attentive relationships. (more…)

bernie-sandersWhile many politicians tend to avoid the labels “liberal” or “progressive,” Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders proudly self-identifies as a “socialist.”

While at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s, Sanders joined the Young People’s Socialist League, the youth affiliate of the Socialist Party of America, and has remained a outspoken advocate for socialism ever since.

But exactly what kind of socialist is Sanders?

Faced with the prospect, albeit unlikely, that an avowed socialist may actually become the Democrat’s nominee for president, I thought it would be helpful for Americans to understand the particular brand of socialism advocated by Sanders.

My intention is to summarize his views in a way that is not only fair, but that Sanders himself would agree with. In order to do that I’ve attempted to use his own words as much as possible and to avoid directly stating what I find objectionable about his views (I’ll save that for another day).

Here’s what you should know about the socialism of Bernie Sanders:
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unbalanced“The 62 richest billionaires own as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population.”

You’ve probably seen this statistic—or one like it—before in articles about economic inequality and assumed they must be somewhat revealing.

But they aren’t. In reality, such statistics are completely meaningless.

The development organization Oxfam trots out this statistic almost every year, and every year gullible journalists fall for it. What many people—including journalists and your friends on social media—don’t realize is that by Oxfam’s metric they are in the top 10 percent of the wealthiest people on the globe. All it takes is cash and/or assets worth $68,800 to get into the top 10 percent and $760,000 to be in the 1 percent.

The problems with using this type of metric is that the comparisons are based on net worth (assets minus liabilities). Everyone who owns even a modest home and car and is not in debt would be in the top 10 percent. But it doesn’t really even take that much money to be in the top 50 percent.
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Why do some countries grow richer faster than others? How can we explain wealth disparities between countries? The answer: Growth rates.

Economist Alex Tabarrok explains how even small changes to growth rates can have a big effect on the economy of a country—and on the flourishing of its citizens.