Archived Posts September 2012 - Page 8 of 13 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 14, 2012

Defending the Dream: Why Income Inequality Doesn’t Threaten Opportunity
David Azerrad and Rea Hederman, Jr., Heritage Foundation

Those who focus on income inequality have embraced a very different American Dream from the one that is familiar to most Americans. They still use the traditional language of opportunity, but their new dream has very little in common with the real American Dream.

The Biblical Case for Limited Government and Low Taxes
James Arlandson, American Thinker

The main principle here in this article is one that goes wrong: from simplicity to complexity. We need to reverse the process.

Read more:

How Licensing Laws Kill Jobs
Lisa Knepper, The Atlantic

Why does a manicurist in Alaska go through three days of training, while one in Alabama goes through 163?

Jubilee Myth #4: Does Jubilee Lead to Income Equality?
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Some argue that the periodic “redistribution” of land at Jubilee kept the rich from gaining more wealth, and the poor from descending deeper into poverty.

Yesterday, privately-owned Hobby Lobby, a popular craft store chain, filed suit opposing the HHS mandate which forces employers to provide “preventive care” measures such as birth-control and “morning after” pills.

“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” said David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO and founder. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”

Hobby Lobby is the largest and only non-Catholic-owned business to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate, focusing sharp criticism on the administration’s regulation that forces all companies, regardless of religious conviction, to cover abortion-inducing drugs.

Hobby Lobby faces $1.3 million a day in fines if they choose not to participate in the HHS mandate.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing the owners of Hobby Lobby; you can read their statement here.

The Acton Institute is anticipating a move to our new building in the heart of Grand Rapids, MI. With the generous funding of donors, the 24,000 square feet of space will allow us to serve an even larger community. Acton’s Executive Director, Kris Mauren, says the $6 million renovation allows the Institute to remain in its Grand Rapids home, while raising its international profile.

“This is a great place to be and it doesn’t stop us from being the international organization we want to be,” Mauren said. The Acton Institute plans to move into its new home when construction is complete near the end of this year.

Jim Harger, of, shares the entire story, along with photos of the construction, here.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 13, 2012

Norman Borlaug: The American Who Fed The World
Jarrett Skorup, AFF Doublethink Online

Called “arguably the greatest American in the 20th century,” during his 95 years, Norman Borlaug probably saved more lives than any other person.

‘Earned success’
Marvin Olasky, World

Free enterprise is fair, says economist Arthur Brooks, and arguments for it should emphasize its morality

Why Men Drop Out of the Labor Force
Catherine Rampell, New York Times

The most frequent reason given by men 25 to 54 for leaving the labor force over the last 15 years was illness or disability. For women, a majority left to become household caregivers.

Political Economy for Embodied Souls
John Attarian, The Imaginative Conservative

Are we embodied souls created by a transcendent God, whose purpose it is to struggle upward toward Heaven? Or are we creatures of matter, rational animals, pleasure-seeking and pain-shunning, with utility maximization as our life’s goal? Kirk affirmed the former; economic utopians of Left and Right, the latter.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For many nuns in the U.S. April is a busy month. Not only do they have the liturgical season of Easter but they have the proxy season of corporate governance.

The proxy season is the time when many companies hold their annual shareholder meetings. During these meeting any shareholders who own more than $2,000 in stock or 1% of the company can recommend the company take a specific course of action or institute a policy change for the betterment of the company. As the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy reports, Catholic orders are among the most active of these shareholder activists.

As far as activism goes, shareholder activism is rather inert. To date shareholders have introduced only 1.43 proposals per company in the Fortune 200. The most active religious organization, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, submitted a total of 21.

In their lengthy report, the Manhattan Institute (MI) admits that shareholder proposals are rarely submitted, rarely adopted, and submitted by a small group of activists. MI also notes that while the idea that “maximizing share price is the sole fiduciary duty of corporate managers” has been a “long-standing norm in the American securities” there has been push in the past two decades for the idea that “the duty of management ought to extend beyond shareholders and share value to the interests of a broader class of ‘stakeholders.’”

The reality is that management has always taken the “interests of a broader class of ‘stakeholders'” into account when making decisions. Stakeholders include employees, suppliers, the local community, politicians, and—most substantially—the managers themselves. Indeed, you’re more likely to hear about “corporate social responsibility” today than you are “maximizing shareholder wealth.”

In his Acton Commentary today, Jordan Ballor writes,

All work has a spiritual dimension because the human person who works in whatever capacity does so as an image-bearer of God. “While the classic Greek mind tended to scorn work with the hands,” write Berghoef and DeKoster, “the Bible suggests that something about it structures the soul.” If we derogate work with the hands, manual and skilled labor, in this way, we separate what God has put together and create a culture that disdains the hard and often dirty work of cultivating the world in service of others. The challenge that faces the church and society more broadly then is to appreciate the spiritual meaningfulness of all kinds of work, to celebrate it, and to exhort us to persevere in our labors amidst the unavoidable troubles that plague work in this fallen world.

This point—the need for a renewed appreciation of “the spiritual meaningfulness of all kinds of work” and “manual and skilled labor” in particular—reminds me of the following story that I recently reflected on elsewhere from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:

Abba Agatho was asked: “Which is more difficult, bodily discipline, or the guard over the inner man?” The Abba said: “Man is like a tree. His bodily discipline is like the leaves of the tree, his guard over the inner man is like the fruit. Scripture says that ‘every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.’ So we ought to take every precaution about guarding the mind, because that is our fruit. Yet we need to be covered with beautiful leaves, the bodily discipline.”

Abba Agatho was wise in understanding, earnest in discipline, armed at all points, careful about keeping up his manual work, sparing in food and clothing. (more…)