Category: News and Events

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Jeffrey Tucker lectures at Acton University.

The industrial revolution did not begin in the eighteenth century, but was a gradual process of development comprised of the individual actions of thousands of innovators across time. The dramatic changes in the world have come about partially due to the technological growth, some of which developed out of this revolution of industry. It is not the result of a few “great, singular men”, but of many interconnected individual innovations. Jeffrey Tucker, Director of Content at FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) painted a vivid picture of the role of technology and ideas in shaping the world we live in today in an Acton University lecture titled “Technology and Markets: Medieval Times to Modernity.” He emphasized the importance of the medieval era for technological growth and formation, particularly the gradual emergence of the social norm of respecting the property rights of others.

Despite the importance of property rights, Tucker argues that ideas should not be thought of as property. (more…)

Students attend the launch of the 'Brighter Future In' campaign bus at Exeter University in Exeter, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Dan Kitwood/Pool/File Photo

REUTERS/Dan Kitwood/Pool/File Photo

The EU’s bureaucracy underlies the British voter’s desire to leave the Union. In his June 26 piece for The Catholic World Report, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg maps out the EU’s origins and decline, and Britain’s consequential cry to leave its grasp. Gregg explains that although British voters chose to vote for Brexit for various reasons, “It’s hard, however, to deny that the EU’s top-down approach to public life, its stealth supplanting of national laws, and, perhaps above all, the sheer arrogance of its political-bureaucratic leadership played a major role in causing 52 percent of British voters to say that enough was enough.”

Gregg reveals that German economist Wilhelm Röpke  prophesied the EU’s descent and his predictions were “spot-on”. Due to the actualization of Röpke’s warnings and Britain’s subsequent vote for Brexit, Britain’s next prime minister “will require considerable dexterity” to clear away the debris left from the division. (more…)

With Great Britain’s stunning decision to leave the European Union, media outlets have been looking for commentary to explain the motivations for the move and the likely consequences, and Acton’s experts have risen to the challenge.

Acton’s Director of International Outreach Todd Huizinga – author of The New Totalitarian Temptation, which provides a great deal of insight and background on the European Union – joined BuisnessWeek contributor Eric Schiffer on Newsmax Prime on Friday evening to discuss the vote and its aftermath, and Director of Research Samuel Gregg – author of Becoming Europe, another fine resource for those interested in the problems faced by the EU (and the US) – joined host Al Kresta on Ave Maria Radio’s Kresta in the Afternoon to share his thoughts on the move and the likely economic consequences of Brexit for Britain and the rest of the European Union. Video and audio are posted below.


African-style braiders in Missouri, Arkansas and Washington in several states have challenged cosmetology licensing requirements as unfair. AP/ Danny

“The free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history — it has lifted billions of people out of poverty.” – President Barack Obama at a panel discussion on poverty in May 2015.

The United States ranks as the 11th most economically free country in the world according to the Heritage Freedom Index, and has a history of embracing free-markets yet the rate of poverty still stands at a poignant 14.8 percent.

Why is this the case? While the U.S. has historically embraced free-markets, it has not been able to escape a streak of deep seeded cronyism.  Cronyism is one of the biggest threats to the free-market that nearly every country faces – especially in countries where the regulatory state has grown beyond its intended reach and the federal government exercises nearly unlimited control.

Cronyism is a broad topic that can range from corporate welfare to agricultural subsidies but one form of cronyism that often gets overlooked despite having the biggest impact on the poor is occupational licensing.

Occupational licensing is essentially any form of barrier that prevents someone from entering a certain field of work. (more…)


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The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has decided to uphold the California Department of Managed Health Care’s 2014 mandate that health care providers must include elective abortion coverage in all their plans. Previously, several health insurance companies in California had provided plans exempting these services for customers with religious objections, including churches and religiously-affiliated schools.

The statement released by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) under the HHS rejected complaints that the California ruling violated the Weldon Amendment, which protects health care providers from being compelled to provide abortions. The amendment refuses to fund government programs that discriminate “on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” The definition of health care entity includes those directly providing the services, such as doctors, hospitals, and insurers. In response to the challenge, the OCR has determined that only the religious objections of those entities must be respected, not religious objections of their customers. The OCR statement points out that none of the health care providers had religious objections, so California can legally compel them to provide abortion services in their insurance plans. (more…)



The United Kingdom shocked everyone and made the decision to leave the European Union. With 72.2 percent voter turnout, 51.9 percent chose to leave. England and Wales voted to leave while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. You can see a breakdown of the referendum numbers at the Telegraph.

Acton’s director of international outreach and author of The New Totalitarian Temptation, Todd Huizinga, issued the following statement congratulating the Brits on their decision:

Hats off to the British people and the courage they showed in the Brexit referendum.  Despite the fear-mongering and scare tactics of the Remain campaigners and the European Union, the British reclaimed their right to self-government.  They have set an example for people all around the world, and especially in the West.  With the ongoing erosion of democratic sovereignty occurring in Europe and America, the politicization of the courts and the alarming growth of the administrative state throughout the West, we are called to emulate the strength of conviction of the British and reassert control over those we elect and the bureaucracies that are meant to be accountable to those who represent us.



Ivorian widows run a small restaurant in Yopougon. UN Photo/Ky Chung

 “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.” Deuteronomy 27:19a

Today is International Widows’ Day (IWD), a day to recognize the situation that widows (of all ages) face internationally and at home. From the United Nations:

Absent in statistics, unnoticed by researchers, neglected by national and local authorities and mostly overlooked by civil society organizations – the situation of widows is, in effect, invisible.

Yet abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today. Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

Despite some gains in gender equality worldwide, many women are still among the most vulnerable and marginalized. One woman tells of horrific abuse she suffered because she is a widow:

When Clarisse’s husband died of malaria last year in the Cameroonian city of Douala, she was kicked out of their home by his family and forced to marry his brother.