Archived Posts August 2012 - Page 9 of 10 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, August 6, 2012

Greed wasn’t good in the Middle Ages – historian looks at medieval business ethics
Camille Brown, Medievalists.net

In describing the contradiction between present-day business attitudes and a medieval mindset, Stokes said, “A medieval businessman would surely be impressed by the successes of his modern descendants, but he would also despise them as men without honor or virtue.”

More Than Money – Economics As Stewardship
Anne Bradley, nstitute for Faith, Work & Economics

Why is it important to focus on faith, work, AND economics? Because understanding economics – beyond the financial sense of the word – helps you apply your creativity, purpose, and freedom to the best of your abilities. It will help you better steward the gifts and resources God has given you.

Does Free Enterprise Encourage Excess and Exploitation?
Wesley Gant, Values & Capitalism

Aside from the purely economic benefits of capitalism and the broad acknowledgement that freedom itself is a good thing, is it possible that the negative effects of capitalism outweigh the positives?

Let’s shatter the myth on Glass-Steagall
Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

Repeal of Glass-Steagall has become for the Democratic left what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are for the Republican right — a simple and facially plausible conspiracy theory about the crisis that reinforces what they already believed about financial markets and economic policy.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Friday, August 3, 2012

In 2010 Alexandra Abraham slipped on a wet floor and into a business idea. According to Forbes magazine, U.S. restaurants face an estimated $2 billion in “slip and fall” lawsuits each year. So Abraham, a 23-year-old college student, designed and started manufacturing DripCatch, a plastic tray that snaps tightly on the racks that go inside industrial dishwashers to catch the water from getting on the floor.

Abraham tells Resurgence how the experience has grown her faith and shown her how clearly and strongly God is working in her life and through the business:

RESURGENCE: What type of businesswoman would you be if you weren’t a Christian?

Alexandra Abraham: I’d be an empty one. I can’t imagine a life where I’m just working to fill my own bank account—that there isn’t any meaning, beyond my own gratification and needs. That would be awful. Waking up every morning being able to go “All right God, what do we have on the agenda for today?!” is the coolest thing in the world. I get to be a part of his mission and that’s incredibly humbling and exciting. Crazy, downright insane miracles happen to launch this company every day, and I just wish more people were able to see first hand what I get to see. And if they were, there wouldn’t be a doubt in their mind that God exists because it’s been that crazy.

Also, I think I’d be more prideful, because even if it seemed impossible that I was the result of what was happening, I think I would be more inclined to think it was born from our own labors.

Our faith is not one compartmentalized part of our life, filed under “Religion,” Jesus is Lord over all of a Christian’s life—even and especially our work.

Read more . . .

Blog author: dpahman
posted by on Friday, August 3, 2012

Articles: “Invited Articles: Business as Mission”
Journal of Biblical Integration in Business 15, no. 1 (Spring 2012)

The most recent issue of JBIB focuses on the subject of hybrid business and features a controversy on the subject of Business as Mission. Margret Edgell, the issue’s guest editor, describes it as follows: “Three invited authors respond to each other from their different disciplinary and theological perspectives. They raise and debate the question: Is Business as Mission a new field with great potential for Christian scholarship?” (10)

Article: “A Model for Business Outreach Across the Business Curriculum”
Evan D. Wood and Heather Y. Z. St. Peters, Christian Business Academy Review 7, no. 1 (Spring 2012)

This paper overviews classical traditional theories of consumer behavior and demonstrates their application in an introspective exercise to help students formulate a philosophy of life, with encouragement to adopt a God-centered worldview centering not on shallow personal values (e.g., material goods, pleasure, sta­tus, etc.) but rather on Christ’s values: loving and serving others, thereby loving and serving God. Students visu­alize what living life according to each of these theories and values entails. This demonstrates the theories’ personal relevance despite their flawed worldviews, and it assists students in becoming more enlightened human beings who live a purpose-driven life, pursuing God rather than shallow values that become idols.

Call for Papers: “Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture, Annual Conference”

While welcoming proposals across the social science of religion, we expect that most will be in the areas of: Religious markets, competition, monopoly, and regulation; Economic growth, development, poverty, and inequality; Social networks, and social/spiritual/religious capital; Extremism, conflict, sectarianism, and religious persecution; Application of experimental, simulation, and computational methods; Beliefs, attitudes, doctrines, norms, and values, especially in the context of evolutionary theory; Labour markets, management of volunteering and governance in not-for-profit organizations; Institutions, organizations, congregations, and denominations; Trends in participation, attendance and commitment to religious organizations; Conversion, switching, proselytizing, and the marketing of religion; Religious giving, philanthropy, and church finances; Demography, fertility, family, marriage, and gender; Education, human capital, health, and happiness; Race, ethnicity, and discrimination; Politics, public choice/finance, church-state issues, and the law.

Call for Papers: “The Rise of The Asian Century: Trends in Asian and Christian Philosophy for Building a Just and Sustainable World”

Development theorists, economists, and geo-political scientists have indicated that this century will mark the rise of Asia as the center of economic, political, and cultural activity. Once again, Asian cultures will have a great influence in the shaping of human civilization. This is an opportune time, as we come to the dawn of the Asian century, to reflect upon the trends of philosophical thought that Asian and Christian practitioners of philosophy, or practitioners of Asian or Christian philosophy, are accomplishing. If we are taking a central role in the furthering of human civilization, we must understand what concerns us, how we use our traditions to understand the world that is unfolding, and how we can participate in the articulation of a just and sustainable future.

Call for Papers: “Second Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference”
Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), June 25-29, 2013

Of particular interest to our readers: Colloquium 6: The Church, NGOs and CBOs in Development.

Blog author: John MacDhubhain
posted by on Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare”, is a strange law from the perspective of economic theories of insurance markets. Still, one can see where its designers were starting from. The individual mandate may be onerous from a liberty standpoint, but it makes sense if you understand that insurance markets are vulnerable to a phenomenon known as the “death spiral.”

The idea behind the death spiral is based on the recognition that insurance is a risk management scheme. Insurance companies, despite their best efforts, are less knowledgeable about its customers’ health than are their customers. As such, the prices an insurance company charges are based on the average risk that a customer will need care. (more…)

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Jon Hilsenrath and Kristina Peterson report, “The Federal Reserve is heading toward launching a new round of stimulus to buck up the weak economy, but stopped short of doing so right away.” The predicted means of stimulating the economy is another round of the unconventional policy of quantitative easing (QE), i.e. when a central bank purchases financial assets from the private sector with newly created money in effort to spark economic growth. Thus, the quantity of US dollars would be increased, debasing their value and causing inflation.

The authors note that this strategy has received significant criticism:

Critics say there is little more the Fed can do to help, having already pushed short-term interest rates to near zero. They contend its unconventional actions could do more damage by sparking inflation, and that in the meantime the Fed is punishing savers who are getting little return on their bond investments. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, August 2, 2012

Five Myths About Free Enterprise
Values & Capitalism

Given the economic hardships the United States has endured in recent years, it is tempting to conclude that free markets are no longer best for us — but that would misread our history, and buy into myths about the impact of free enterprise.

Isn’t the Accumulation of Wealth Wrong?
Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

One question we hear a lot is “isn’t the accumulation of wealth wrong?” In a word, no.

Catholics and Religious Liberty
R.R. Reno, First Things

The ever useful Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released a new survey. The focus falls on attitudes toward the recent push by the Catholic Bishops to highlight the threats posed to religious liberty.

The Growing Dangers of Cronyism
David Henderson, RealClearPolicy

Here’s the problem: with an increase in government comes an increase in privileges for special interests. And in the end, taxpayers and consumers get the short end of the stick while politicians and their cronies reap the rewards of having friends in high places.

Blog author: dpahman
posted by on Thursday, August 2, 2012

From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine comes this charming mix of comedy, suspense, drama, and—possibly—science fiction. Safety Not Guaranteed is the story of melancholy Darius (Aubrey Plaza), an intern at a Seattle magazine, who goes on assignment with reporter Jeff (Jake M. Johnson) and fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni) to investigate the author of a peculiar classified ad that reads:

*WANTED*
Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before. (more…)

One of the most basic forms of entertainment that friends and families share together is playing board games, such as Monopoly or Risk. While we may not realize is how much these games are teach us about economic ideas such as trade or scarcity.

I must confess I’m a bit of a board game snob. I don’t really care for common games like Monopoly as I prefer so-called “designer” games such as the Settlers of Catan or Power Grid. In an article for the Washington Post, Blake Eskin calls Settlers the “board game of our time.”

Eskin explains that Monopoly had an appeal in the depression-era because it allowed poor kids the opportunity to feel rich and successful for a day. He also mentions several of the reasons I do not care for Monopoly: It takes several hours to play; the outcome is too dependent on luck; it can often become clear who is going to win far before the game actually ends, etc. It is also an elimination game, meaning that an early loser can be stuck with nothing to do for hours while their friends finish the game.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Obama administration’s controversial contraception-abortifacient mandate goes into effect yesterday, creating a difficult choice for pro-life business owners. If employers don’t change their plans, they will be hit with fines of up to $100 per employee per day. But if they stop providing health coverage, employers with more than 50 employees could be hit with an alternative fine of $2,000 per employee per year.

As the Heritage Foundation has noted, for many companies, the level of these fines would mean going out of business. Applying the $100 per employee per day fine to Hercules Industries—a family-owned business with 265 employees that is challenging the mandate in Colorado—would mean a fine of $795,000 per month ($100 per day x 30 days x 265 employees)—over $9.5 million per year. However, if Hercules were to drop its health coverage, forcing its employees into government-run exchanges under Obamacare, it would face a fine of approximately $2,000 per employee per year ($2,000 x 265 employees), for a total of $530,000 per year.

Although many medium-to-large size firms already pay half a million a year in health care for their employees, simply paying the fine isn’t likely to be viewed as a preferable option. Not only does it force the employees to shift to a (likely inferior) government-run plan but the fines would simply be used to pay for the same coverage that the employer objected to in the first place.

Most employers will simply realize that under the Obama administration, conscience has shifted from being an inalienable right to being a luxury they can’t afford.

Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Obamacare HHS provision went into effect yesterday. Here is a round-up of posts with reaction to that.

The Day After the HHS Mandate Kicked In
Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online

Kolesar is a part owner of this family business established in 1961. The family is Catholic and considers the HHS contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing-drug “Preventative Services” mandate — which the White House has introduced as part of its health-care law — a clash with conscience. “We only ask that the government uphold freedom and not bully us into purchasing insurance for ourselves and our employees that would force us to abandon essential tenets of our faith,” Kolesar tells National Review.

Priests For Life Announces It Will Defy HHS Mandate
Ben Johnson, LifeSiteNews.com

The pro-life Catholic group had long signaled its impending defiance of what it considers an unjust and unconstitutional law.“We don’t need a year, nor do we need a moment, to determine what we are going to do, or to ‘adapt’ to the rule,” Fr. Pavone said early this year. “You don’t adapt to injustice; you oppose it.”

HHS Mandate Loses First Test in Federal Court
Ed Morrisssey, Hot Air

The injunction only applies to Hercules Industries, not the mandate as a whole, and it’s only temporary, as William Jacobson points out at Legal Insurrection.  However, the usual paradigms for issuing temporary injunctions are that the judge believes the plaintiffs have a substantial chance of winning the case, and that the regulation or action being halted does significant damage to the plaintiff.  That hints at a favorable ruling at the district court level for Hercules, which is definitely good news…

Fighting the Good Fight For Religious Freedom
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York

Over the course of the coming year, the effort to protect religious liberty and the freedom of conscience will continue.  In the end, this is not about bishops, it is not about Catholics, it is not about contraceptives.  It is about the ideals our nation was founded upon: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  You can’t do much better than the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The founding fathers got it right.  The HHS mandate gets it wrong.  We are fighting to correct that wrong, in order to make sure that religious freedom continues for the generations to come after us.