Archived Posts 2013 - Page 22 of 167 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jsunde
posted by on Thursday, November 14, 2013

decision-2_300Over at Desiring God blog, Sam Crabtree offers 16 simple principles, each accompanied by Scripture, to help reorient our thinking about the work of our hands, particularly among those in executive and administrative roles.

Highlighting our persistent human tendency to neglect our Creator, Crabtree cautions against the subtle temptation to begin operating “as if we really can execute on our tasks all by our lonesome, without the constant help of our God.” What distinguishes a distinctly Christian executive?

Some examples:

6. God-centered work is not work with God as an appendage or afterthought.

He is the core, the root, the source, the origin, the power, the point of it all.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24–25)

8. God-centeredness implies, requires, and builds humility.

What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7) (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, November 14, 2013

Poor And Middle Class Incomes Have Increased Significantly
Scott Winship, e21

To judge from the doomsaying that dominates public discussion of the economy, since the 1970s poor and middle-class households have seen practically no improvement in living standards.

Jonathan Sacks on European Anti-Semitism, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, and More
Yair Rosenberg, Tablet

The former U.K. Chief Rabbi weighs in on some of Jewry’s burning issues

New US Catholic bishops leader pledges to carry pope’s message of mercy amid culture wars
Associated Press

The newly elected leader of the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops says he will draw on his years as a pastor while seeking to reconcile Pope Francis’ message of a welcoming church with the conservative ideology of American bishops.

Why Are Progressives Comfortable Decoupling Childrearing from Marriage?
David Wilezol, Values & Capitalism

The evidence for a social norm of childbearing within marriage seems overwhelming. But many progressives wrongly frame conservative insistence on a two-parent home as discrimination against single mothers.

The educational cronyism of textbook publisher cartels is coming to an end as digital alternatives are on the rise, or so says AEI’s Mark Perry in a recent article. “Hear that hissing sound?” he writes, “It’s the sound of the college textbook bubble starting to deflate. . . . The era of the college textbook cartel and $300 college textbooks is ending.”

I have written on this subject in the past for the PowerBlog (here and here), mentioning Perry’s coverage of the subject at that time, among others.

In particular, I would maintain my position today that if more affordable, quality alternatives exist, educators ought to take the time to research them and find ones that fit their curricula if they can. Students are already overburdened by student loan debt in order to get degrees of decreasing quality and utility. If a professor can do a little to lessen the financial burden of higher education, it is one small victory for the common good. And Christian educators ought to lead the way.

Perry summarizes the problem as follows:

Between January 1998 and September 2013, the CPI for college textbooks has increased by more than 144%, compared to an increase of only 44.4% for the CPI for all items, and an increase of only 0.6% for the CPI for recreational books. In real terms, the cost of college textbooks has increased by more than 69% over the last 15 years, while at the same time the real cost of recreational books has fallen by more than 30%.

The reason that the college textbook bubble is on an unsustainable price trajectory and is already starting to show some initial signs of deflating is because of the increasing amount of competition for the college textbook market.

Read more . . . .

2amazonOn Monday, Amazon announced that it would immediately start offering Sunday deliveries. This new initiative will not only satisfy consumers who  do not want to wait all weekend for something to arrive, but it will also give the cash strapped U.S. Postal Service revenue as they will be making the Sunday deliveries.

This might be good news for the USPS and impatient consumers, but it effectively makes Sunday another weekday. Cecelia Kang, a reporter for the Washington Post, interviewed Acton Research Fellow Jordan Ballor for the story. He predicted that Amazon’s action will likely be copied by other large corporations:

Competitors such as Wal-Mart, eBay and Google are racing to satisfy consumers virtually around the clock, aiming to deliver products just hours after someone places an online order.

“Amazon’s announcement is another incremental development in the erosion of that restful space — Sunday — and another example of an erosion on the limits of market activity,” said Jordan J. Ballor, a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, an economic think tank.

Read “For the modern consumer, the week never seems to end” in the Washington Post. Also, See Ballor’s commentary about Blue Laws and Black Friday.

BrendleIn his article today Anthony Bradley asks, “When Did College Education Reduce To Making Money?

Our country’s narcissistic materialism has created a neurotic obsession with disparities between the incomes of individuals resulting in an overall devaluing of the learning goals and outcomes of what colleges exist to accomplish. There is a major disconnect here. I wonder if this explains why many parents do not want their children studying the humanities in college.

While I completely agree with Anthony about what the purpose of college should be (“a place where men and women are educated and formed into more virtuous citizens”), I think he’s overlooking how we got into this situation: College is priced like a luxury good but treated as a prerequisite for most forms of employment.

Unfortunately, the types of degrees that best fulfill the primary function of a college (e.g., liberal arts) are also the most likely to lead to underemployment.

A couple of years ago, Andy Whitman wrote an article for Image, “Starbucks and the Liberal Arts Major”, that highlighted the problem:
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Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Business as Mission movement, writes Elise Hilton in this week’s Acton Commentary, is creating alternative and wholesome sources of income while offering ‘restoration’ for survivors:

Human trafficking feeds on the vulnerable, and that includes the poor. Children are especially at risk, as they can be sold by parents into slavery and have little or no education or means of self-support. For the Business as Mission movement, this means intentionally focusing on areas that are economically depressed and unstable. Businesses can prevent trafficking by creating alternative and wholesome sources of income, and they can also offer “restoration” for survivors of trafficking. If a person is going to escape from the life of sex slavery, there must be an alternative, safe, sustainable source of income.

The full text of her essay is here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

There are days when policy conflicts appear to be clear cut. Such is the case with the nuns and monks protesting a proposed pipeline across their Kentucky land. As a property rights advocate, I agree wholeheartedly that the Sisters of Loretto and monks of the Abbey of Gethsemani are well within their rights to protest running a pipeline across their property. I disagree vehemently, however, with the rationales behind the protest – namely the religious’ ill-advised environmental opposition to fossil fuels and pipelines in general. (more…)

Class struggle. Racially-charged rhetoric. Anti-capitalist diatribes. Sounds like the lineup to a “Fantasy Diversity” team from a sociology professor at Wellesley College, right?

Alas, I’m merely referring to the controversy surrounding ex-Miami Dolphins players Jonathan Martin (black) and Richie Incognito (white).  For those who haven’t been paying attention – and thank your lucky stars that you haven’t – Martin left the team for personal reasons and his fellow offensive lineman Incognito was released by the Dolphins for allegedly being the bully who broke the spirit of the younger Martin.

I’m not here interested in solving the intra-team dynamics of a professional football team (comprised of giant men who willingly smash into each other for a living), but instead wanted to share with you a very telling quote from the media’s coverage of this story.

It comes from a sports “journalist” (term used loosely) named Jason Whitlock who works for ESPN. Mr. Whitlock is no stranger to controversy or inflammatory remarks, having made many of his own through the years via his columns and various radio shows. On Tuesday’s episode of The Tony Kornheiser Show on ESPN 980 (out of Washington D.C.), Whitlock was asked by Kornheiser to explain why the Dolphins players would want to harass and “cannibalize” a promising young player like Martin when they need all the help they can get on the actual football field.

Jason’s response?

“Because that’s what we do in America. That’s what capitalism does. It’s preys upon the weak.”

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saving-money-for-collegeSomeone should tell university administrators and educators that their primary purpose is to guarantee that graduates will have better incomes than those who are not fortunate enough to attend college. In addition, colleges and universities are now, it seems, supposed to be places where everyone equally becomes one of the “Joneses.”

In an article titled, “Rethinking the Rise of Inequality“, Eduardo Porter of the New York Times writes that college education is about solving the income disparity problem. Porter opens the story with this odd statement: “Many Americans have come to doubt the proposition that college delivers a path to prosperity.” What? Is that what college is about? Making people prosperous? What college has making graduates prosperous as its mission? Why would anyone go to college just to become economically “prosperous”?

Are colleges off the target then? Are they missing their new true calling? The mission of Brown University is “to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.” Clemson University states, “Our primary purpose is educating undergraduate and graduate students to think deeply about and engage in the social, scientific, economic, and professional challenges of our times. The foundation of this mission is the generation, preservation, communication, and application of knowledge.” Fort Lewis College (Colorado), says that its mission is to offer “accessible, high quality, baccalaureate liberal arts education to a diverse student population, preparing citizens for the common good in an increasingly complex world.”

Do these colleges, and many others, simply not get it? It seems that these schools are primarily interested in student learning and the formation of good citizens, so when did college reduce to being a means of addressing “income inequality”?
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Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Students For Life, an organization for high school, college and grad students, has produced an undercover video showing two women posing as young teens buying Sudafed and Plan B. Guess which one they were allowed to buy?

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