Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'political economy'

Why Do the Wicked Prosper?

Why do the wicked prosper? This plaintive query is a consistent cry from the psalmist and the prophets. As Jeremiah puts it, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” The concern in large part has to do with injustice; why do those who are so morally and spiritually bankrupt enjoy such great temporal blessings? Continue Reading...

Economic Freedom: Vital for All

On Nov. 28, the Canada-based Fraser Institute released the eighth edition of its annual report, Economic Freedom of North America 2012, in which the respective economic situation and government regulatory factors present in the states and provinces of North America were gauged. Continue Reading...

Spartan Austerity and the Fiscal Cliff

Is spartan austerity driving us over the fiscal cliff?The latest step in the budget dance between House Republicans and the White House has to do with where tax increases (or revenue increases in general, depending on what is called what) fit with a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.” As Napp Nazworth reports, President Obama has apparently delivered an ultimatum: “there would be no agreement to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’ unless tax rates are increased on those making more than $250,000 per year.” On one level it seems reasonable to talk about addressing a deficit from both directions: cutting spending and raising revenue. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: Sacrifice and Self-Interest

In this week’s Acton Commentary, I take a look at the relationship between sacrifice and self-interest. One of the common complaints against market economies is that they foster selfishness. But as Paul Heyne points out, it is crucially important to distinguish between self-interest and selfishness: “Many of the most eminent and sophisticated theorists in the economics profession make no effort to distinguish between self-interest and selfishness or between rational behavior and greedy behavior.” The failure to make such a distinction leads to some pretty strange conclusions about the motivations behind human behavior. Continue Reading...

Envy Won’t Save the GOP—or America

After every electoral defeat—whether suffered by Republicans or Democrats—a period of hand-wringing and soul-searching inevitably develops in the days and weeks after the election. Journalists and politicians take to print to explain “What went wrong” and “Here’s what should be done differently.” Although the solutions are almost always what the pundits were saying before the election, the exercise in self-reflection is, on the whole, a much needed corrective. Continue Reading...

Sixpence to the Good (of Government)

This week I wrote about the dignity of paying taxes (among other ways of contributing to social flourishing). But as we know, not all taxes are created equal. Indeed, as Antony Davies and James Harrigan write this week at US News, “Politicians are in the business of buying votes with tax breaks and sweetheart deals for their preferred constituencies, and they have to offset these deals by taxing disfavored constituencies at increased rates. Continue Reading...

ResearchLinks – 09.28.12

Article: “Big Questions and Poor Economics” James Tooley. “Big Questions and Poor Economics: Banerjee and Duflo on Schooling in Developing Countries.” Econ Journal Watch 9, no. 3 (September 2012): 170-185. In Poor Economics, MIT professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo set out their solutions for global poverty. Continue Reading...

Economists and Clergy

Tyler Cowen fielded an interesting topic on his blog last week, focusing on economists who are (or were) clergy. There’s an interesting list, including notables like the Salamancans, Paul Heyne, and Heinrich Pesch. Continue Reading...