Category: Economics

IMG_7231When we think of the intersection of work and calling, many of us think immediately of our long-term career aspirations. Despite most of us beginning our careers in some sort of menial labor, these are not the types of services or stations our culture deems significant or inspired.

Yet for the Christian, economic transformation begins where creator and producer meets neighbor, no matter the product or service. Our fundamental calling is to love our neighbor, and that begins the moment we get our hands dirty. God is glorified in all of our labor, and that includes the work of the fast-food cook or the late-night cleaning crew.

“Loving your neighbor is not just taking them soup when they’re sick,” says Pastor Tom Nelson, author of Gospel Shaped Work. “It’s making a good hamburger.” (more…)

In a recent interview with MercatorNet, Samuel Gregg explains why the integration of markets is not in itself a bad thing.  Gregg starts out by explaining why Brexit does not contradict economic globalization, but why it is actually beneficial to the global economy.  Hey says:

But Brexit is also quite compatible with economic globalization. Economic globalization is rendering trade blocs such as the EU increasingly irrelevant. Britain now can choose to trade freely with whoever it wants, instead of waiting for every single member of the EU to agree.

The interview continues to talk about Gregg’s 2013 book Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America Can Avoid a European Future and what exactly is America trying to avoid by not becoming Europe.  He explains: (more…)

In a recent article published for The Catholic World Report Samuel Gregg highlights some similarities between Pope Francis and the former president of Argentina, Juan Perón.  Gregg asks: “Does a long-deceased Latin American populist provide us with insight into Pope Francis?”

Juan Perón served as the president of Argentina from 1946-1955, while Pope Francis was just a teenager, and again from 1973-1974.  According to Gregg, the economic views of this potentially influential leader on Pope Francis are:

“best described as a mixture of economic nationalism, extensive wealth-redistribution, efforts by the state to coordinate different groups from the top-down (also known as “corporatism”), and a suspicion of markets. This resulted in heavy tariffs on foreign products, subsidies for domestic businesses (especially those close to government officials), and nationalization of key industries.”

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virtual-choir-whitacre-water-nightThe rise of globalization and the expansion of trade are continuously decried for their disruptive effects, particularly as they apply to “authentic community.”

Indeed, our strides in global connectedness have often come at a local cost, with the small and familiar being routinely replaced by the big and blurry, the intimate with the superficial, and so on. The shift is real and widespread, but it needn’t be the framework of the future.

Disruption is sure to continue as collaboration expands and innovation accelerates around the globe. But while we’re right to be cautious of the merits of such change, we mustn’t forget the opportunities it presents, not just for our economy or personal wellbeing, but for community itself.

Examples of these fruits abound and surround us, from trade to technology to niche hobbies to global missions and so forth, but I was reminded of it recently while watching a “virtual choir” performance by Eric Whitacre, the famous composer and conductor.

Known best for his choral works, Whitacre continues to leverage the technological tools of globalization to gather singers from around the world, each submitting an individual video to contribute to a massive global choir. (more…)

Blog author: jsunde
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
By

Pieter_bruegel_il_giovane,_estate_02In recent years, Christian leaders, teachers, and pastors have put renewed focus on the importance of integrating faith and work, recognizing the eternal significance of economic activity.

Yet despite the array of resources and solid teaching on the subject, many Christians continue to struggle with feelings of apathy or ambivalence when it comes to their work. In my own discussions, it’s the most common response I encounter:

“I understand that God is glorified through my work,” they’ll say. “I understand that he’s gifted me and called me and sent me to do something important. But it sure doesn’t feel like it.”

Indeed, it’s one thing when we feel like our gifts are aligned with our callings, when we enjoy our jobs and careers, and when we believe that we’re doing something transformational in the broader economic order. But it’s quite another when we feel underutilized and unrecognized, when the work is unglamorous and unsatisfying, and when we have a sense, even a spiritual sense, that “surely their must be more.”

In a post at The Green Room, a new blog on faith, work, and vocation, Greg Forster reflects on such situations, asking what the Gospel might say to those struggling to find purpose and meaning. (more…)

Photo courtesy of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Photo courtesy of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

As we approach what would be Milton Friedman’s 104th birthday this Sunday, July 31st, we should note the enduring significance of his evaluation of the connection between economic and political freedom. In his popular work, Capitalism and Freedom, in a chapter titled “The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom,” Friedman explains how a society cannot have the latter without the former.

Friedman criticizes the notion that politics and economics can be regarded separately and that any combination of political and economic system is possible. He calls the view “a delusion,” holding that there is “an intimate connection between economics and politics.” Though Friedman concedes the possibility of an economically free and politically repressed society, the opposite, he claims, is impossible. Political freedom, both historically and logically, is inseparable from economic freedom.

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Note: This second article in a two-part series on the Republican Party Platform. Part I can be found here.

In the previous article we looked at summary outline of the Republican platform as it relates to several non-economic issues covered by the Acton Institute. Today, we’ll look at the GOP’s economic agenda as laid out in the platform. Because the document is long (66 pages) and covers an extensive variety of economic-related areas (agriculture, energy) this list won’t be exhaustive. But it does cover the primary economic positions that are being supported or opposed by the Republican Party.

(Next week, after the Democratic National Convention, we’ll examine their platform’s stance on the same and related issues.)
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