Republicans and conservatives are trading free markets for cronyism

“Don’t forget, this is called the Republican Party,” said Donald Trump in an interview justifying his opposition to free trade, “it’s not called the Conservative Party.” When Trump made that statement six months ago it was still possible to believe a distinction could be made between traditional Republicanism—which tends to be pro-Big Business—and traditional conservatism—which has generally been pro-free markets. Continue Reading...

An economist’s Christmas: Is gift-giving wasteful?

During a season such as Christmas, where hyper-consumerism and hyper-generosity converge in strange and mysterious ways, it’s a question worth asking: How much of our gift-giving is inefficient and wasteful? For some, it’s a buzz-kill question worthy of Ebenezer Scrooge. Continue Reading...

How humans became consumers

Consumption is arguably the first (or maybe second) economic concept mentioned in the Bible. After creating Adam and Eve and giving them the cultural mandate (“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”), God says to them, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. Continue Reading...

Would you give up the internet for a million dollars?

Are you better off than someone who has a million dollars in the bank? Probably not—at least not compared to a millionaire today. But chances are you consider yourself better off than someone who was a millionaire in an previous era—and you may even be better off than someone who had a million dollars in the bank in the 1970s or 1980s. Continue Reading...

Profits and an ‘economy of mutuality’

“Money is often seen as intrinsically bad or perhaps a necessary evil in the world,” says Tom Nelson. “However, we must not forget the important role money plays in wealth creation and in facilitating the efficient exchange of goods and services.” Money and the trade it makes possible further the common good and greatly enhance our ability to love our neighbors — both local and global. Continue Reading...

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the low cost of food

While it may not seem like it when you’re at the supermarket checkout, Americans benefit tremendously from relatively low food prices. Consider the typical Thanksgiving feast. According to an informal price survey conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving meal for ten people is $49.87—less than $5 per person. Continue Reading...

Giving thanks for the miracle of the marketplace

Families across the country are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, expressing gratitude for God’s overwhelming grace and abundance. And yet even as we offer thanks to God for his provision — materially, socially, spiritually, or otherwise — how often do we pause and reflect on the freedoms and channels that God uses in the process? Continue Reading...

Thomas Sowell on poverty, politics, and the origins of prosperity

“The mundane progress driven by ordinary economic and social processes in a free society becomes dramatic only when its track record is viewed in retrospect over a span of years.” –Thomas Sowell In a recent edition of Uncommon Knowledge, economist Thomas Sowell discusses his latest book, Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, which provides a comprehensive argument for the origins of prosperity. Continue Reading...