Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Business and Society

The Complexities of Airport Capitalism

Over at The Federalist today, I ruminate on a conversation I overheard at an airport recently. I was an innocent auditor, I assure you. In the words of Sam Gamgee to Gandalf, “I ain’t been droppin’ no eaves sir, honest.” The conversation had to do with the prices of goods and services on offer at airports. Continue Reading...

A Prayer for the Aid of God in Vocation

At the conclusion of the English translation of Niels Hemmingsen’s The Way of Life (1578) (Latin: Via Vitae) is a series of short prayers. The selection includes one “for the aid of God in the needful businesses of our vocation.” The (modernized) text reads: “Give me understanding, O Lord, and assist my endeavors, that I may faithfully and diligently perform the works of my vocation, to the glory of your name, the edification of your church, and the commodity of my neighbor.” Hemmingsen was a significant Danish theologian in the sixteenth century, and a selection of his work on natural law is scheduled to appear in the forthcoming Fall issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality. Continue Reading...

Triangulating Vocation

In a remarkable letter last week, noted by Joseph Sunde, Mike Rowe inveighed against the sloganeering that passes for vocational discernment in today’s popular culture. Mike singled out Hollywood as a particularly egregious offender: Every time I watch The Oscars, I cringe when some famous movie star – trophy in hand – starts to deconstruct the secret to happiness. Continue Reading...

The Challenges of the Financial Calling

In a talk he gave at Kuyper College for the launch of the new business leadership major some years back, Vincent Bacote made an insightful observation about the “people in the room” where things were decided leading up to and during the Global Financial Crisis. Continue Reading...

Net Neutrality? Yes. Title II? No.

I have spoken in the past in favor of net neutrality, writing, Whoever is responsible for and best at enforcing it, net neutrality had this going for it: it was a relatively stable, relatively open playing-field for competition…. Continue Reading...

Orthodoxy and Economic Liberty

In the most recent issue of The City, I have an essay on Orthodoxy and ordered liberty. I argue that Orthodox theological anthropology, which distinguishes between the image and likeness of God and two forms of freedom corresponding to them, fits well with the classical understanding of ordered liberty. Continue Reading...

Happy Money

In his August 24, 2014 syndicated column Scott Burns tells of a study by Dunn and Norton who give five principles for having “Happy Money.” Buy experiences not things: go to Chicago rather than buy a new stuff. Continue Reading...

Some Thoughts on Economic Patriotism

Sic semper tyrannis, eh? The Burger King acquisition of Tim Hortons and the resulting plans to move the corporate headquarters under the taxing authority of the Canadian government is being derided by some as unpatriotic. Continue Reading...

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

Over at the Federalist, Gracy Olmstead wonders “what happens when people bring the country to the city?” She goes on to argue that “urban farming could have conservative implications and outworkings—and we should encourage these endeavors as much as possible, in our efforts to bring traditional principles back to urban environments.” Is there a way to bring the city mouse and the country mouse together? Continue Reading...

Every Market Form in a Single Chart

Reading through the German economist Walter Eucken’s work The Foundation of Economics (1951), I came across one of the most helpful charts for economic analysis I have yet to find. In it, Eucken gives every possible form of market in a single table: The Foundation of Economics, p. Continue Reading...