An economist’s Christmas: Is gift-giving wasteful?

During a season such as Christmas, where hyper-consumerism and hyper-generosity converge in strange and mysterious ways, it’s a question worth asking: How much of our gift-giving is inefficient and wasteful? For some, it’s a buzz-kill question worthy of Ebenezer Scrooge. Continue Reading...

Aslan’s Song of Stewardship

When we think about “stewardship,” our minds tend to revert to the material and the predictable. We think about money or the allocation of resources. We think about growing crops or creating goods or financial investment and generosity. Continue Reading...

Toward an Economics of Abundance

Over at the Reformation21 blog, Michael Jensen compares what he calls the “scarcity mindset” of the world with the “abundance mentality” of God, noting that “the world as we see it is open to the creative and transformative power of the Lord God.” Although Jensen’s portrait of civilizational progress is undeservedly bleak (if anything, we’re learning to see beyond scarcity), and although he overstates the conflict between “growing populations” and “diminishing resources” (see Matt Ridley et al), he manages to frame the basic theology quite well: A theistic worldview, and in particular the Christian one, has at the heart of reality the three-personed God of Love, whose creative energy made everything from nothing at all by his Word, and who makes a great nation out of the fruitless loins of Abraham, and who gives life even to the dead. Continue Reading...

The Poison of Anti-Immigration Protectionism

As the number of Republicans vying for the presidency reaches new levels of absurdity, candidates are scrambling to affirm their conservative bona fides. If you can stomach the pandering, it’s a good time to explore the ideas bouncing around the movement, and when necessary, prune off the poisonous limbs. Continue Reading...