Category: News and Events

Blog author: ECrandell
Thursday, June 30, 2016
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The Family & the Market, an Acton University lecture by Jennifer Roback Morse, uses Christian theology and logic to illustrate unique connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of society, at least to the secular world. Morse is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, where she discovered that the economy depends on the intact family raising children. This Institute has a dream: that every child is welcomed into a loving home with a married mother and father. Their goal is to create a lasting and Christ-like social movement, and to clean up the consequences of the Sexual Revolution.

Students in this course learn the importance of both parents raising their own children together, as opposed to divorcing, sharing custody, or placing children in foster care. This is vital in order to “respect, honor, and preserve” the genetic identity and cultural heritage of every adult, without exception. Morse emphasizes that when this practice is violated, it gives way to structural injustice and the political correctness of “Alternative Family Forms.” These terms, such as multi-partner fertility, are indicators of our broken reality, and of life problems for children in these environments, mainly, stirring up feelings of resentment in an unloved child. (more…)

Women sort through clothes at the Texool factory January 6, 2016 in Kutch, Gujarat. Dozens of warehouses in the Special Economic zone in Gujarat handle the sorting and recycling of tons and tons of donated clothes from the west. Allison Joyce for the Wall Street Journal

Women sort through clothes at the Texool factory January 6, 2016 in Kutch, Gujarat. Allison Joyce for the Wall Street Journal

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal focuses on the market for the global clothing donation and recycling industry, centering on the trade from the United States to India. One of the most immediately striking elements of the piece are the photographs that accompany it, featuring piles and piles of used clothing on large trucks and people picking through the mountains of fabric taller than they are. The quantity of donated clothing is astounding.  These pictures show a fraction of the total exports of second-hand clothes each year, which measured an estimated 860,387 tons in 2015.

However, nobody in India will wear the donated clothing. Though India allows the processing and repackaging of such donations for resale, India has banned the resale of donated clothing within its own borders. India, like many other countries around the world, perceives the threat that the large influx of used clothing poses to local textile and clothing manufacturing industries.  In response, the country, like many other developing nations that receive clothing donations, has attempted to protect its textile and clothing manufacturers with such a ban.

This system has benefitted India – many people make a living processing and packaging the clothing, and the legal protections have protected the local textile and clothing manufacturing industries. The cost of buying second-hand clothing from American charities or distributers is relatively low, and there is demand for the goods in other countries. However, the system has severely harmed the clothing industries of many developing nations in sub-Saharan Africa, the eventual destination of most of the repackaged second-hand clothing.   (more…)

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Carl Menger (1840-1921) | Wikimedia Commons

The central theme of the Austrian tradition, which might better be called the liberal tradition, is that society runs itself. This is strongly linked to the idea of freedom in the liberal sense, meaning the opportunity for the individual to advance and to create wealth. Jeffrey Tucker, Director of Content at FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) argues that the Austrian school started by Carl Menger revived an old method of thinking in the liberal tradition of economic order. He recently gave a lecture on the topic, “The Austrian Tradition on Social and Economic Order” at Acton University.

In the nineteenth century, many intellectuals began to abandon this tradition. They became enamored with the ideas of science, and of “rational” planning, rather than the market and spontaneous order. Tucker began his analysis with Frédéric Bastiat, a nineteenth century French political economist, who saw the economic order as naturally harmonious and the source of wealth creation. (more…)

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John Maynard Keynes

“Critics of John Maynard Keynes were so determined his economics were wrong that they allowed Keynes to dictate the terms of the debate,” says Victor Claar, professor of economics at Henderson State University, in his Acton University lecture. He continues to describe Keynes flawed anthropology with respect to classical economists and the Great Depression. Key observations of human nature include the principles of work, property, exchange, and division of labor. We can survive and prosper, take ownership of our work, support and rely on each other through exchange, and specialize in exchange at an opportunity cost. Furthermore, these observations are linked to moral imperatives.

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An EU official hangs the Union Jack next to the European Union flag at the VIP entrance at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting EU leaders two days ahead of a crucial EU summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

An EU official hangs the Union Jack next to the European Union flag at the VIP entrance at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

In the wake of the British vote to leave the European Union, many are wondering what led the majority of voters to affirm the Brexit. In his commentary Brexit: Against the Political Class, Samuel Gregg points out a common element in all of the motivations behind the “Leave” decision: a frustration with established career politicians. Gregg writes:

The reasons why a majority of British voters decided that their nation was better off outside the European Union were many and not always in sync. They range from those angry at successive British governments’ failure to maintain sovereign-borders, free-marketers who like immigration but regard bloc-economies like the EU as passé in a global economy, to those unhappy with British laws being supplanted by top-down directives mandated from Brussels. But if there is one theme that united the “Leave” forces, it was animus against the political class.

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Bahnsen

David Bahnsen explains “value investing” at Acton University.

How should your views on morality affect your investment strategy? David Bahnsen, Chief Investment Officer at The Bahnsen Group, argues in an Acton University presentation titled “Value Investing” that the question is a surprisingly complex one. He begins by outlining the purpose of investment consistent with its definition: to make a profit. Without growth, there is no investing. Similarly, there is no such thing as a risk free investment. Biblical investment is therefore rooted in prudent risk taking.

When designing investment portfolios, who determines what “socially responsible” means? There is no universal, objective determine, and Bahnsen argues either fundamentalists or environmentalists determine what it means. Fundamentalist portfolios might avoid investing in tobacco or alcohol, and environmentalist portfolios might stray from fossil fuels. (more…)

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Father Benjamin Fiiriter before an Acton University lecture.

Father Benjamin Fiiriter traveled over 20 hours from Ghana to attend Acton University earlier this month. He works in the Diocese of Wa in various capacities at the Finance Office, Estates Office and Procuration, Pontifical Mission Societies and the General Correspondence of the Bishop and the Curia. In his extensive work with Church documents, he felt a formal “academic and spiritual refresher” was necessary. He was not disappointed. Among his favorite courses were Christian Anthropology, which has a “wide and deep pertinence to [Ghanaian] culture”, as well as Islam 101, which is also “extremely relevant in [Ghanaian] society.” (more…)