On June 17th, Acton Institute President and Co-founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico delivered the final evening plenary address of Acton University 2016. We’re pleased to present the video of his address here on the PowerBlog.
“Money has not only the character of money,” says Samuel Gregg in this week’s Acton Commentary, “but it also has a productive character which we commonly call capital.”
Like all medieval clergy, Olivi and Bernardine fiercely opposed usury. “Usury,” Bernardine wrote, “concentrates the money of the community in the hands of a few, just as if all the blood in a man’s body ran to his heart and left his other organs depleted.” Yet the same Bernardine also invested time in explaining why it was legitimate for creditors to charge interest on loans to compensate themselves for relinquishing the opportunity to invest their money elsewhere. In such circumstances, the lender had a right to be compensated for what amounted to foregone profits. “What,” Bernardine maintained, “in the firm purpose of its owner is ordained to some probable profit has not only the character of mere money or a mere thing, but also beyond this, a certain seminal character of something profitable, which we commonly call capital.”
On February 18th, the Acton Institute was pleased to welcome Jay Richards and Joseph Pearce to our Mark Murray Auditorium for an exchange on two distinct ideas on economics: Distributism vs. Free Markets. The gentleman’s debate was moderated by Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico.
Joseph Pearce, writer in residence at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, and Director of the college’s Center for Faith and Culture, argued in favor of distributism; Jay Richards, Assistant Research Professor School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and Executive Editor of The Stream, defended free markets. It was a lively exchange, and we’re pleased to present the video of the event below.
Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, joined host John J. Miller of National Review to discuss his new book, The New Totalitarian Temptation, on the Bookmonger Podcast at Ricochet. They discussed the problems afflicting the European Union, the potential Exit of the UK from the EU, and whether or not the United States faces the same problems with unaccountable government that bedevil Europe. You can listen to the podcast here.
If you find the topic interesting, you can join us tomorrow here at the Acton Building for Todd’s Acton Lecture Series address; just head over to our events page to reserve your seat for lunch and a stimulating talk.
After the jump, I’ve reposted Todd’s Radio Free Acton interview on his book.
We’ve had a burst of media activity this week; let’s round up some of Acton’s activity on the airwaves:
Monday, February 15
Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, joined the FreedomWorks podcast to discuss his newly released book The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe.
Tuesday, February 16
Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, is a native of Flint, Michigan, and recently spent some time in his hometown. WJR Radio in Detroit turned to him for a native’s perspective on the water crisis, and what his thoughts are on the cause of the crisis and the way forward for the city.
Wednesday, February 17
Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host Rob Schilling on WINA Radio’s The Schilling Show in Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to discuss the economic proposals of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Gregg argues that Trump, far from being a champion of free markets, actually promotes mercantilist policies that will result in more crony capitalism. According to Gregg, voters are right to be angry at the state of politics and the economy in the US, but Trump’s proposed solutions will only make the situation worse.
We’re anticipating more interviews to come this week, and we’ll share them with you here on the PowerBlog. Stay tuned.
In this week’s Acton Commentary, I take a look at “The Moral and Economic Poverty of the Lottery.” I take a look at the main parties involved: the winners, the players, and the government, and conclude, “Far from a force for good, lotteries are a danger to society.”
The problems with lotteries and gambling more generally are various and sundry. But Gerda Reith captures a fundamental aspect when she writes that “the state-sponsored fantasy of the big win turns the ethos of production and accumulation on its head.” This is essentially what Edmund Burke’s problem with a gaming society involves, which I explore in more depth in this week’s piece.
And later today I’ll be on Chris Brooks’ program on Moody Radio, “Equipped,” to discuss lottery winners and losers. Tune in at 1pm Eastern.
For the holiday season this year, the Acton Institute has a very special window display facing Veteran’s Park and Fulton Street in downtown Grand Rapids. The window display, “Wise men still seek Him” features a rare nativity set, Cathedral glass-inspired paint, and more. Acton’s president and co-founder, Rev. Robert Sirico, inspired the work, wanting to create a proper display for his personal precepio (extended nativity scene).
It’s said that in 1223, St. Francis of Assisi invented the first nativity scene, bringing together a living reenactment of the birth of Christ. Since then, these simple or ornate sets have graced the homes of many families throughout the world in all lands. (more…)