Posts tagged with: Samuel Gregg

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

After a recent trip to Argentina, Samuel Gregg reflects on its current economic state in a piece for The Catholic World Report.  Gregg highlights the role that current Argentine politics play on economic policy and how Pope Francis affects the Catholic Church in his home country.

For the first time in 13 years, Argentina has elected a non-Perónist leader.  Mauricio Macri replaced Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina in November 2015. The Kirchners represented a wave of Latin American leftist-populists and brought economic disarray to Argentina.  Gregg talks about some of the good economic policies that Macri is already putting in place: (more…)

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

In a recent interview with MercatorNet, Samuel Gregg explains why the integration of markets is not in itself a bad thing.  Gregg starts out by explaining why Brexit does not contradict economic globalization, but why it is actually beneficial to the global economy.  Hey says:

But Brexit is also quite compatible with economic globalization. Economic globalization is rendering trade blocs such as the EU increasingly irrelevant. Britain now can choose to trade freely with whoever it wants, instead of waiting for every single member of the EU to agree.

The interview continues to talk about Gregg’s 2013 book Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America Can Avoid a European Future and what exactly is America trying to avoid by not becoming Europe.  He explains: (more…)

Photo from Wikimedia

In a recent article published for The Catholic World Report Samuel Gregg highlights some similarities between Pope Francis and the former president of Argentina, Juan Perón.  Gregg asks: “Does a long-deceased Latin American populist provide us with insight into Pope Francis?”

Juan Perón served as the president of Argentina from 1946-1955, while Pope Francis was just a teenager, and again from 1973-1974.  According to Gregg, the economic views of this potentially influential leader on Pope Francis are:

“best described as a mixture of economic nationalism, extensive wealth-redistribution, efforts by the state to coordinate different groups from the top-down (also known as “corporatism”), and a suspicion of markets. This resulted in heavy tariffs on foreign products, subsidies for domestic businesses (especially those close to government officials), and nationalization of key industries.”

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A portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of The Clark.

A portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of The Clark.

In a recent article titled “George Washington’s Constitutional Morality,” Samuel Gregg explores the views of the first President on the founding principles and guiding influences of the United States. Gregg identifies three key elements of Washington’s political wishes for the new nation:

Washington identified a distinct set of ideas that he thought should shape what he and others called an “Empire of Liberty”—classical republicanism, eighteenth-century English and Scottish Enlightenment thought, and “above all” Revelation.

Washington, like many of the Founders, had a great deal of admiration for Greek and Roman philosophers and statesmen. In drawing from “Greco-Roman concepts of morality,” he emphasized the importance of good citizenship and virtue in public service. Comments Gregg:

The prevalence of civic virtue among politicians and citizens doesn’t of course guarantee society’s liberty. Nonetheless, Washington clearly doubted whether a republic awash in vice could endure.

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Photo from the Centre for Research on Globalization

Photo from the Centre for Research on Globalization

Samuel Gregg appeared on the recent episode of the podcast The Catholic Cave, “Britain, the EU and You,” to discuss Britain’s recent referendum vote to leave the EU. The show considers factors that potentially led to the Brexit other than trade and immigration issues, including dissatisfaction with international bureaucracy, cultural and philosophical differences between Britain and other European countries, and problems of subsidiarity.

Gregg sees Brexit as a “reassertion of national sovereignty,” “reaffirmation of the importance of the nation state,” and a “revolt…against bureaucracy.”  The event presents warning signs, he says, for all transnational and supranational institutions who seek to rule in a “top-down, centralized, administrative” manner, including the European Union, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. (more…)

Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host Al Kresta on Ave Maria Radio’s Kresta in the Afternoon last Thursday to discuss the ongoing crisis of populism in Latin America, and the Vatican’s perspective on the region’s economic and social unrest under Pope Francis. Gregg notes that while institutionally, the Catholic church in Latin America has largely maintained its institutional integrity, regional leaders – and indeed Pope Francis himself – have an affinity for what is known as “teología del pueblo” – a “theology of the people” – that makes it difficult for the church to criticize the populist movements that cause so many social problems.

The whole interview is well worth your time, and is available via the audio player below.

Is the dominant economic system we have today, the market economy or capitalism, compatible with Christianity? Orthodox Christian theologian David Bentley Hart in a June 2016 First Things article titled,”Mammon Ascendant: Why global capitalism is inimical to Christianity,” is skeptical. As you might gather from the title of his article. On Public Discourse, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg takes a closer look at Hart’s curious economic postulates such as the one about the “purely financial market” and his rather overbroad claim that wealth is intrinsically evil. Then there’s the one about the investments that wealthy people and institutions make, with homicidal malice, in new businesses and the like. Gregg:

Even more contestable is Hart’s suggestion that the venture capital that, he concedes, built places like Manhattan and provided millions with jobs is somehow responsible for particular evils. Notable among these is what he calls “the carboniferous tectonic collision zones of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky” in which “a once poor but propertied people were reduced to helotry on land they used to own” and “forced into dangerous and badly remunerated labor that destroyed their health, and then kept generation upon generation in servile dependency.” This is an example of how, to use Hart’s words, “the market murders.”

To murder is to intentionally kill an innocent person. Is Hart really suggesting that the workings of “the market”—which is simply an economy in which there is a free creation and exchange of goods and services by individuals and communities in a particular institutional setting—involves the intentional killing of innocent people?

Did people on Wall Street, for instance, directly will the alleged enslavement of people in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky? Who, one might ask, “forced” people into these jobs in West Virginia? Could it be possible that some of these crypto-peasants weren’t so content with their three acres and a cow and actually regarded working in a mine as a better economic option, given their available choices at the time? It’s likely that the vast majority of their descendants live far more comfortable material existences, enjoy longer life-spans, and are better educated than their small-landowning forebears. Some are probably working on Wall Street.

Read “Global Capitalism versus Christianity? A Response to David Bentley Hart” on Public Discourse by Samuel Gregg.