Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Economics and Social Problems

Don’t save Barnes & Noble!

First it happened to Toys ‘R’ Us, but we did nothing (except complain). Now it may be happening to Barnes & Noble, and we will do nothing again. (Nothing except complain, that is. Continue Reading...

Bernie Sanders, jobs, and what work really is

‘Bernie Sanders at a rally in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 26, 2015’ by Nick Solari CC BY-SA 2.0 Last month the Washington Post reported, “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will announce a plan for the federal government to guarantee a job paying $15 an hour and health-care benefits to every American worker “who wants or needs one,”…” These jobs would be the product of hundreds of government projects initiated in, “…infrastructure, care giving, the environment, education and other goals.” The projects, their costs, and how they would be financed have yet to be disclosed. Continue Reading...

A polite rebuke of Pope Francis’ economic confusion

Review of Pope Francis and the Caring Society, edited by Robert M. Whaples; The Independent Institute, Oakland, CA; 2017, 234 pp. Having toiled in the free-market research universe for nearly two decades, perhaps the most common misperception I’ve encountered is “whataboutism.” Readers know of which I write: “What about BP and Deepwater Horizon?” or “What about Enron?” and, perhaps most stridently, “What about the mortgage-lending industry’s complicity in causing the Great Recession?” When this rhetorical strafing fails, there’s always the “What about the poor?” and the “What about the environment?” macro-strategies. Continue Reading...

Is economics an ideology?

‘Ludwig von Mises’ by Ludwig von Mises Institute CC BY-SA 3.0 Richard H. Spady, research professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins, has recently published a piece at First Things entitled ‘Economics as Ideology’ in which he explores some contemporary trends among economists and their use of economics as a Procrustean bed to reshape society in its own image, A body of thought is “ideological” when it will­fully projects its own first principles on its subject matter and actively seeks, perhaps unconsciously, material changes to bring social realities into conformity with these first principles. Continue Reading...

How managers can help save the world

Why are some countries rich while other countries are poor? A primary reason, as economists have been pointing out for hundreds of years, is productivity—the efficient use of such resources as labor and capital. Continue Reading...

Is Elizabeth Bruenig even a socialist?

‘Sailing into the Trollfjord’ by Grant from Oslo, Norway CC BY-SA 2.0 Elizabeth Bruenig, columnist for the Washington Post, yesterday published an opinion piece entitled, ‘Let’s have a good-faith argument about socialism’ responding to some critics of her earlier piece, ‘It’s time to give socialism a try’. Continue Reading...

Give socialism a try? Let’s not.

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man” – Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski played by Jeff Bridges. ‘Jeff Bridges speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California’ by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 3.0 Elizabeth Bruenig, columnist for the Washington Post, yesterday published an opinion piece entitled, ‘It’s time to give socialism a try’. Continue Reading...

Herman Bavinck on love, economics, and the reformation of society

When we think about markets, we often think only in terms of mathematics or money. But at a deeper level, markets are simply networks of human relationships. When we participate in economic activity, we aren’t just creating wealth; we are forming communities, cultures, and civilization, partnering with God and neighbor in a divine exchange of gifts, blessings, and love. Continue Reading...