Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Economics and Social Problems

Demographic decline: Ben Franklin’s two cents

Not one of Benjamin Franklin’s better-known works, but one worth reading nonetheless, is a brief 1751 essay called Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &c. Franklin covers a lot of ground in just a few pages, and brings up quite a few ideas worth commenting on, but I wanted to highlight one paragraph and its relevance for the “birth dearth” we see in the West today. Continue Reading...

Does social media compromise free will?

In an article for Law and Liberty, Michael Matheson Miller, a research fellow at the Acton Institute, reflects on the book “10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.” Written by Jaron Lanier, a “technologist and musician”, “10 Arguments” shares thought-provoking ideas about the dangers and risks involved with social media. Continue Reading...

Brazil’s conservatives mount a counter-revolution

Writing to a friend about his pessimism regarding the future of Western Civilization, Jacob Burckhardt made an interesting observation. The Swiss historian believed that history was not a linear process and that he could see that sometimes that Providence contains some surprises for us. Continue Reading...

Hurricanes lead to broken windows—and broken window fallacies

Hurricanes always leave two things in their aftermath: broken windows and articles endorsing the broken window fallacy. As economist Don Boudreaux wrote six years ago, “Americans will soon be flooded by commentary that assures us that the silver lining around the destruction caused by hurricane Sandy is a stronger economy. Continue Reading...

Lord Acton vs. the ‘New Socialists’ on Freedom

Corey Robin, professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, wrote an interesting and troubling piece last week in the New York Times titled, “The New Socialists: Why the pitch from Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders resonates in 2018.” It is part chronicle of the recent rise of self-identified socialist politicians in the United States and part meditation on what people in 2018 mean when they talk about socialism. Continue Reading...

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