Category: Publications

dncplatformEarlier this week, I talked about the religious and economic implications of the RNC platform. As the DNC wraps up, it is time to examine the relevant points of the Democratic platform.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

We need an economy that prioritizes long-term investment over short-term profit-seeking, rewards the common interest over self-interest, and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.

Minimum Wage

Democrats believe that the current minimum wage is a starvation wage and must be increased to a living wage. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. We believe that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour and have the right to form or join a union. We applaud the approaches taken by states like New York and California. We should raise and index the minimum wage, give all Americans the ability to join a union regardless of where they work, and create new ways for workers to have power in the economy. We also support creating one fair wage for all workers by ending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers and people with disabilities.

Democrats support a model employer executive order or some other vehicle to leverage federal dollars to support employers who provide their workers with a living wage, good benefits, and the opportunity to form a union. The $1 trillion spent annually by the government on contracts, loans, and grants should be used to support good jobs that rebuild the middle class.

Poverty

We believe that today’s extreme level of income and wealth inequality—where the majority of the economic gains go to the top one percent and the richest 20 people in our country own more wealth than the bottom 150 million—makes our economy weaker, our communities poorer, and our politics poisonous.

We reaffirm our commitment to eliminate poverty. Democrats will develop a national strategy to combat poverty, coordinated across all levels of government. We will direct more federal resources to lifting up communities that have been left out and left behind, such as the 10-20-30 model, which directs 10 percent of program funds to communities where at least 20 percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years or more. We will also focus on communities that suffer from persistent poverty, including empowerment zones and areas that targeted government data indicate are in persistent poverty.

Democrats will protect proven programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—our nation’s most important anti-hunger program—that help struggling families put food on the table. We will also help people grow their skills through jobs and skills training opportunities.

Religious Liberty

Opposes attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the United States.

Supports a “progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.”

Supports protecting both Muslims and religious minorities and the “fundamental right of freedom of religion” in the Middle East. (Read more here)

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In the wake of last week’s Republican National Convention, and in the midst of the Democratic National Convention, it is more important than ever for voters to be thoroughly educated on each party’s platform going into the general election season. In two recent posts on the Republican Party platform, (part one, part two) Joe Carter provides a comprehensive summary of the Republican Party’s main stances (we’ll look at some of the Democratic Party’s platform issues in a later post). Some of the highlights of the platform include: (more…)

See more at: http://tinyurl.com/hrl94u7

On sale now at the Acton Book Store

The role of economic liberty in contributing to human flourishing and the common good remains deeply underappreciated, even by those who are dedicated to religious liberty.

Samuel Gregg

Gregg is a contributor of One and Indivisible: The Relationship Between Religious and Economic Freedom, on sale now in the Acton Book Shop. Compiled by Kevin Schmiesing, the book contains 13 essays from highly acclaimed authors, speakers, and religious leaders, including Michael Matheson Miller, Anielka Münkel Olson, and Michael Novak. The essays describe the major events and trends that inspired an ambitious three-year program of conferences organized by the Acton Institute designed to bring a wide variety of scholars together to discuss one important theme: What is the relationship between economic and religious freedom? (more…)

JMM_19 1Our most recent issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality, vol. 19, no. 1, has now been published online and print issues are in the mail.

In addition to our regular slate of articles examining the intersections between faith, freedom, markets, and morality, this issue contains a new entry in our Scholia special feature section: “Advice to a Desolate France” by Sebastian Castellio. Writing in 1562, Castellio was one of the first early modern defenders of freedom of religion on the basis of freedom of conscience, in the midst of a turbulent time of conflict between Roman Catholics and Protestants in sixteenth-century France. His insights should still be valuable today, both to scholars and others who value that same freedom.

As is our usual custom, this issue’s editorial, “Self-Interest and Moral Contexts,” is open access. In it, I examine the necessity of context for determining the morality of the choices of market actors:

The economic idea of self-interest as the driving motivator of economic (and other) behavior is as widely accepted by economists as it is criticized by others. The critics, generally, object to the assumption that “widespread and/or persistent human behavior can be explained by a generalized calculus of utility-maximizing behavior,” to quote George Stigler and Gary Becker. Is not that selfishness? And is not selfishness immoral? And do not people, at least sometimes, act morally? Furthermore, should not they be encouraged to act altruistically instead of only thinking of their own interests?

In reality, context complicates such moralisms.

The full editorial can be read and downloaded here.

Read the entire issue here.

Subscription instructions to access all of our content can be found here.

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“2016 Presidential elections in Pittsburgh” by Gene J. Puskar, April 13, 2016. AP

The snow has finally melted in West Michigan, which means it’s time for the year’s second issue of Religion & Liberty.

Recent news cycles have been plagued with images of angry Americans, students protesting and populist discontent. The 2016 presidential election has really brought to light that the American people are angry—specifically with American leadership. Here at the Acton Institute, we’re interested in looking more deeply at these issues, particularly if there is a cure for this great discontent. To understand the issues, we’ve rounded up experts on employment, trade, millennials and other issues surrounding the 2016 race to the White House. The roundup features Justin Beene, Ismael Hernandez, Ann Marie Jakubowski, Jared Meyer and Vernon L. Smith discussing these themes. (more…)

LessiusCover-01In his famous work, History of Economic Analysis, economist Joseph A. Schumpeter gives a favorable nod to the works of Leonardus Lessius (1554–1623), sparking a fair amount of interest in the 16th-century Jesuit moral theologian.

CLP Academic has now published On Sale, Securities, and Insurance, a selection from Lessius’ most influential contribution to early modern economics, ethics, and law. The book offers the first full English translation of key sections of the second book (On Justice) of Lessius’ treatise On Justice and Right (De iustitia et iure), specifically chapters 21 (On Sale-purchase) and 28 (On Suretyship, Insurance, Pledge, and Mortgage).

Based at the Jesuit College in Louvain, Lessius earned the reputation as “Oracle of the Netherlands” for the advice and analysis he offered to local merchants, jurists, and political rulers regarding matters of conscience, duty, and justice.

As translator Wim Decock writes in the introduction: “Though dwelling on the virtues of prudence, fortitude, and temperance too, the better part of the treatise includes a systematic treatment of the virtue of justice and, particularly, of property, torts, and contract law.” (more…)

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Andy Grove, Robert Noyce, and Gordon Moore

The first issue of Religion & Liberty in 2016 will explore several topics from a variety of faith traditions: entrepreneurship, the International Criminal Court, business philosophy, common grace and the 18th-century British abolition movement.

Late last year I had the privilege of interviewing Rev. Bruce Baker, a Silicon Valley veteran, entrepreneur, pastor and college professor. For this issue’s interview, he discusses the history of Silicon Valley, technocracy, how Christians can be “winsome” witnesses and more.

Charles Koch, while widely admired in many spheres, is completely disparaged in others. In a new review, Stephen Schmalhofer tackles Koch’s latest book, Good Profit. While Koch’s previous writings have been more nuts and bolts, this one focuses on the philosophy of business.

Whether you run a company that manufactures farming equipment or you’re a professor of philosophy, you’re dealing with common grace. Richard J. Mouw discusses the importance of common grace in all spheres of life. (more…)