Prohibition, Blue Laws, and the Primum Usus Legis

A paper recently published at the National Bureau of Economic Research calls into question some conventional economic wisdom about the effects of certain kinds of legislation. In “The Church vs the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?”, Jonathan Gruber and Daniel M. Continue Reading...

Cracking Down on Church Contributions

A week or so ago I passed along a story about the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York’s interpretation of recent legislation to make it illegal for those filing for bankruptcy to tithe, except under very specific circumstances (here’s a good follow-up story). Continue Reading...

Pascal and Climate Change

In today’s Times of London, taking a cue from Blaise Pascal (at least he thinks), Gerard Baker argues, “Unless the sceptics are really, really certain that we’re all going to be OK, we must act now.” He sums it up this way: “If we believe in global warming and do something about it and it turns out we’re right, then we’re, climatologically speaking, redeemed — if not for ever, at least until some other threat to our existence comes along. Continue Reading...

The Political Economy of Fantasy Sports

Although it is played by about 15 million Americans and amounting to a $1.5 billion a year industry, and even though it is a growing business and worth talking about, this post is not about the real-world economics of fantasy sports. Continue Reading...

In Defense of Compassionate Conservatism

In his Townhall.com column, which also appears over at Human Events Online, Acton senior fellow Marvin Olasky mentions the work of the Acton Institute’s Samaritan Award in defense of “compassionate conservatism”: Those who think compassionate conservatism is dead should come to Samaritan Award programs in Richmond or Fairfield, California; Memphis, Nashville or Knoxville, Tennessee; Camden, N.J., or Chester, Penn.; Columbus, Ohio, or Hastings, Neb. Continue Reading...

Religious Leaders Bash the Global Market

Why do so many clergy and religious activists reflexively attack the free market? Kishore Jayabalan takes a look at recent anti-business campaigns. “The very concepts of business and profit motive are often reason enough for religious leaders to condemn an activity as immoral and unethical, and criticisms of multinational corporations are just the same condemnations on a larger scale,” he writes. Continue Reading...

Larger Hands, Smaller Feet

I believe the New Zealand community of Bishops has nailed this one (emphasis added): In response, both individual and collective acts of selflessness are needed — of self-sacrifice for the greater good, of self denial in the midst of convenient choices, of choosing simpler lifestyles in the midst of a consumer society. Continue Reading...

Moral Business

Profit is a valid motivation for business and, generally speaking, a company that pursues profits within the bounds of law and morality will be fulfilling its purpose admirably. But profit is an instrumental good rather than a final good, and so there are sometimes extraordinary circumstances that place additional moral obligations on business. Continue Reading...