Archived Posts June 2013 - Page 12 of 12 | Acton PowerBlog

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From 1990 to 2010, the global poverty rate dipped from 43% to 21%. The Economist explains why the rate halved in twenty years:

How did this happen? Presidents and prime ministers in the West have made grandiloquent speeches about making poverty history for fifty years. In 2000 the United Nations announced a series of eight Millenium Development Goals to reduce poverty, improve health and so on. The impact of such initiatives has been marginal at best.

Almost all of the fall in the poverty rate should be attributed to economic growth. Fast-growing economies in the developing world have done most of the work. Between 1981 and 2001 China lifted 680m people out of poverty. Since 2000, the acceleration of growth in developing countries has cut the numbers in extreme poverty outside China by 280m.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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MDG-soil-map-of-Africa-0011-300x296“We poverty junkies spend a lot of time examining the fruits and the roots,” says Mark Weber at PovertyCure, “But what of the soil?” Tyler Cowen also recently noted that economists don’t talk nearly enough about soil, despite their contributing to some of the biggest problems in the entire world.

The problems can be seen in the European Union’s Institute for Environment & Sustainability recently published Soil Atlas of Africa. Robin Grier highlights some of the findings:
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Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the U.S., and UK will meet at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland for the G8 Summit June 17-18, 2013. These international negotiations among the world’s largest economies provide opportunities to discuss the fluidity of trade between nations but also provokes public protest. All over social media, various groups are set to organize protests about the global trade conference because capitalism and international trade are viewed as evil.

For example, the “Stop G8 Network” developed the following set of guidelines “that were agreed by anti-capitalist resistance movements from across the world who came together to form the ‘Peoples’ Global Alliance'(PGA):
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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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Food Stamps Don’t Stimulate Economic Growth
Rachel Sheffield and T. Elliot Gaiser, The Foundry

The number of Americans on food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is at historic highs, but some on the left—like Paul Krugman—think that’s not such a bad thing because, as they argue, food stamps “stimulate” the economy.

Religious Freedom: The Cornerstone of Strong Social Architecture
Stanley Carlson-Thies, Comment

Our communities are populated by such a diverse and flourishing set of nonprofit organizations and businesses only because our government allow these organizations the freedom to exist.

Obligations Regarding Our Overseas Factories
Chris MacDonald, The Business Ethics Blog

Adherence to the law is seldom enough to guarantee that a company or individual has satisfied all relevant ethical obligations. This is of special significance in developing countries with underdeveloped legal and regulatory systems.

We cannot abandon Syrian Christians
Jim Wallace, OCP News

Allies of al-Qaeda are purging the areas they control of “infidels”. Why is the West ignoring this tragedy?

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is a frustrated man. With unemployment rates in Germany hovering at around 8 percent, and Greece and Spain at almost 60 percent, he believes the EU is on the brink of “revolution.” His answer is not to protest signscrap the welfare model however; he wants to preserve it.

While Germany insists on the importance of budget consolidation, Schaeuble spoke of the need to preserve Europe’s welfare model.

If U.S. welfare standards were introduced in Europe, “we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day,” Schaeuble told a conference in Paris.

Not everyone agrees. Italian Labour minister Enrico Giovannini says European youth are being asked to put their lives on hold, and that this is “unacceptable.” Werner Hoyer, head the European Investment Bank, acknowledged that there is no plan at this point to direct the spiraling downturn of the EU economy. There is, instead, a country-by-country “patchwork” approach. For instance, Greece is attempting to focus on job training and entrepreneurship for 350,000 young people, and France is working on a similar plan within its own borders. (more…)

mad-menRussell Moore on how Abraham Kuyper predicted the era of Madison Avenue’s culture of art and mammon:

[James Bratt] writes that Kuyper saw the dangerous combination of “Art as captured by Mammon.” Here the two combined to a “commercialized, lowered, prostituted, feeding the mass compulsion for excitement, excess, and the erotic.” In this, Bratt contends that Kuyper was hitting close to explaining the contemporary rise of Madison Avenue as a cultural force, “the marriage of Art and Mammon that is commercial advertising.”

Here’s where Abraham Kuyper has something to say to Don Draper.

Mad Men is successful for many reasons, the first of them being that it features compelling human stories compellingly told. But, behind that, there’s a captivation with something that explains our predicament. Don Draper doesn’t just sell illusions; he is one. He is living with a stolen identity, and a secret past. He is driven to success, Mammon, and he does so by his vast creativity, Art.

Read more . . .

Acton’s Director of Research, Samuel Gregg, has a column in the latest issue of Legatus magazine. In it, he recognizes the accomplishments and Catholic faith of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Charles Carroll. Carroll, the only Catholic signer charles carrollof the Declaration of Independence, was an established businessman, and signing the Declaration was a risky move. It literally put his entire fortune at risk.

Carroll’s commercial interests extended far beyond those of the typical Marylander of his time. They ranged from grain products to livestock, small cloth factories, building crafts, cattle, mills, orchards, land speculation, and iron production. As well as investing in domestic and European markets, Carroll was in the business of making loans, charging market interest rates. He even authored a document defending the legality and morality of compound interest. And, it should be said, a portion of Carroll’s assets consisted of slaves.

Carroll’s commercial success did not mean, however, that what he often called the “habit of business” became suffocating for him. He would have thoroughly agreed with Calvin Coolidge that “the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence.”

Gregg also points out that Carroll had a sense that “the life of business was itself one full of potential nobility and purpose…” Carroll believed that order and discipline, in business and in life, made one’s life fruitful.

Read “Catholic Founder, Catholic businessman” at Legatus Magazine.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, June 3, 2013
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Obama, God, and the Profits
Mark Rienzi, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Earning money doesn’t suddenly give the government the right to extinguish your constitutional rights.

Christian Martyrs to Islam, Past and Present
Charlotte Allen, Wall Street Journal

The making of the new saints was a vivid reminder of something that many people, including historians, prefer to gloss over: the pattern over the centuries of Islamic persecution of Christians that continues to this day in many Muslim-majority lands.

Religious liberty advocates call for faiths to join forces
Allison Pond, Deseret News

An attack on the religious liberty of members of one faith is an attack on all faiths, religious freedom advocates and faith leaders were told at a conference on Thursday.

Religious Freedom: A Civil-Rights Issue
Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review

In many respects, religious freedom has always been a civil-rights issue. It’s perhaps unique among civil-rights issues in that it was the impetus for many of the first American colonists to risk their lives to settle in the New World.