Today’s “Blast from the Past”

“It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. Continue Reading...

Beyond the Party: Catholics and Government’s Moral Purpose

In the Acton Commentary this week, Dr. Samuel Gregg examines the “Historic Catholic Statement of Principles” released by House Democrats last week. Following is a brief statement of purpose from the official press release: …Signed by 55 House Democrats, the statement documents how their faith influences them as lawmakers, making clear their commitment to the basic principles at the heart of Catholic social teaching and their bearing on policy – whether it is increasing access to education for all or pressing for real health care reform, taking seriously the decision to go to war, or reducing poverty. Continue Reading...

Aid and the Mystery of Capital

Bono and the One Campaign want us to sign a petition encouraging the government to spend 1 percent of the U.S. budget for aid to developing countries. The One Campaign states that this would “transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries.” Now I admire the intentions of Bono to fight against poverty and he puts his money where is mouth is. Continue Reading...

Dueling Mommies

In her Townhall.com column this week, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Acton senior fellow in economics, takes Linda Hirshman, a retired professor at Brandeis University, to task. Hirshman has been making the news circuit touting her claims about negative trends among working women. Continue Reading...

Offshoring Spurs Productivity

Here’s a brief note about a recent National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, “Service Offshoring and Productivity: Evidence from the United States.” According to the NBER digest, “service outsourcing is doing more than fueling an economic boom in the tech-savvy provinces of India. Continue Reading...

A Time of Flux for Electrolux

An interesting news story on local Grand Rapids television last night concerning the long awaited closing of an Electrolux plant. While the story was fair and optimistic, I got a bit of a kick out of soundbite from Chicago writer Richard Longworth who said: “A wonderfully decent way of life is now just being undermined by productivity, by the global economy.” Now, losing a job can be a terrible thing (its worth noting, though, that one of the workers in the story seemed glad to have the chance to “do something new” with his life–so sometimes change can be good as well). Continue Reading...

God and GM Foods

In the latest issue of Science & Spirit magazine, Acton director of research Samuel Gregg is interviewed about the ethical aspects of the genetic engineering of food. In “God and the New Foodstuffs,” author Trey Popp writes about the opposition to such endeavors: Some scientists and environmentalists fear GM crops may have unforeseen consequences. Continue Reading...

Economic Advice Pro Bono

An interesting piece in Tuesday’s Financial Times (registration req.) by Jagdish Bhagwati, economist at Columbia University. In the form of a letter to U2 front man Bono, Dr. Bhagwati offers a (I think) stinging criticism of attempts to save Africa through appeals for more governmental spending. Continue Reading...