Posts tagged with: academia

trade-flow-international2In their defenses of free trade, advocates routinely focus only on the long-term, economic benefits, and understandably so. The overall expansion of trade in recent years has led to greater economic growth, innovation, and prosperity for all, including America.

Protectionist policies may offer immediate relief and security, including a host of short-term political and economic solutions and benefits for particular industries or corporations. But on the whole and in the long run, politically directed tariffs and taxes are more likely to spur crony capitalism, harm consumers, cramp innovation, and delay the necessary re-tooling to remain a strong and dynamic nation in a globalized world.

Given our newfound national appetite for protectionist policies, free market advocates have plenty of work to do in better communicating those concerns, as Samuel Gregg recently pointed out. Yet in addition to more carefully making the economic arguments, we should also be mindful that free trade presents an opportunity for something else: namely, the expansion of creative collaboration and connection.

Part of that lesson was famously illustrated in “I, Pencil,” the popular essay by Leonard Read which urges us to have “a practical faith” in the economic and material good that might happen if we simply “leave all creative energies uninhibited.” Yet even here, readers tend to focus too heavily on the material ends and outcomes, rather than reflecting on the social, cultural, and spiritual benefits of the exchanges themselves. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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Note: This is the second in a series on developing a Christian mind in business school. You can find the intro post here.

When people ask me what business school was like, I’m tempted to say, “A lot like a medieval university.” Unfortunately, that comparison makes people think b-school is dark, musty, and full of monks—which is not quite what I mean.

In medieval universities, the three subjects that were considered the first three stages of learning were the trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Our use of those terms, however, fails to convey the broader meaning they had in earlier centuries. In her excellent book on the trivium (Latin for “the three-fold way”), Sister Miriam Joseph explains:

Grammar is concerned with the thing as-it-is-symbolized,
Logic is concerned with the thing as-it-is-known, and
Rhetoric is concerned with the thing as-it-is-communicated.

These three language arts, adds Sister Joseph, can be defined as they relate to reality and to each other. Similarly, while the arts learned in business school are very different from the classical trivium, every course can similarly be classified in a “three-fold way”:
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“A lot of doom and gloom types say we’re living in dark times. But they’re wrong,” says economist Donald J. Boudreaux. “While there are real problems, the world has never been healthier, wealthier, and happier than it is today. Over a billion people have been lifted from dire poverty in just the past few decades.”

Globalization is routinely decried for its disruptive effects, particularly as it relates to local culture and community enterprises and institutions. Even as it’s proven to drive significant economic growth, questions remain about its steamrolling influence on the culture.

“Even if we grant that global competitive markets create prosperity, is it worth the fast food chains and the big box chains we see everywhere we go?” asks Michael Miller in an excerpt from PovertyCure. “What about a sense of vulgarity and bringing things to the lowest common denominator? And perhaps most important, does globalization destroy local culture?”

The threats to culture are real and pronounced. It is undeniable that globalization can and has and will diminish or destroy certain cultures, traditions, and enterprises. Yet as Miller and others remind us in, we are not powerless in our response, whether as creators or consumers. (more…)

Thomas-Sowell-Escaping-Socialism-900Earlier today I mentioned that economist Thomas Sowell was retiring from writing his syndicated column. For decades Sowell, age 86, has been one of the leading thinkers in the libertarian and conservative circles. But what is less known is the intellectual journey he took from being an advocate of socialism to a champion of free markets.

This past summer I wrote an article for The Stream examining on how Sowell thought his way into Marxism, then back out again into a vision of freedom:
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sowellOver the past few decades, economist Thomas Sowell, age 86, has been one of the most effective, yet under-appreciated, proponents of conservative and libertarian economic thought. He is also one of our most powerful critics of the often destructive and harmful effects of liberal economic policies. Today he announced he’s retiring from writing his syndicated column.

In honor of his retirement, here are six quotes by Sowell:

On government spending: “Elections should be held on April 16th—the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”

On healthcare: “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.” (Source)
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Trusting strangers not only makes our lives easier, it makes our country more prosperous. As economist Tim Hartford says, “One of the underrated achievements of the modern world has been to develop ways to extend the circle of trust by depersonalising it.” How do we create and extend these “circles of trust”?

In this video, Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, talks about the basic elements of trust and how to build trust.