Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Economics and Social Problems

Corporations: moral, immoral, or amoral?

Is the free market moral? To hear its opponents describe it, the free market is an unethical system that exploits workers, consumers and the environment to make a quick buck. To critics such as Marx, capitalism leaves “no other bond between man and man than naked self-interest,” replacing human connections with cost-benefit analyses and supply-and-demand charts. Continue Reading...

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

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...

How not to think clearly on faith and economics

Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Seminary, recently addressed a meeting of Evangelical leaders held at Wheaton College and has released a reconstruction of his remarks. It is an interesting address which spends four paragraphs explicitly addressing questions of economics and economic policy. 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?

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?

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...