Free trade propaganda from … Communist China?

In the wake of the last presidential election, the American people appear to be fracturing and shifting on the long-held consensus about the benefits of free trade. Meanwhile, state-owned television in the People’s Republic of China is churning out pro-trade propaganda such as this (HT Pethokoukis): Yet the underlying irony is a bit overstated, I’d suspect. Continue Reading...

Called to the coalfields: How an Appalachian church is spurring economic action

Due to a rapidly changing economy and a range of excessive regulations from the federal government, the American coal mining industry is facing serious challenges. For states like West Virginia, the effects are particularly painful, as mining towns and communities struggle under a projected 23% decline in related jobs in recent years, leading vast numbers of residents to leave the state altogether. Continue Reading...

Is ‘fair trade’ fair?

Most consumers have heard of fair-trade coffee, but have no idea how fair-trade actually works. In this video, economist Victor Claar covers the basics of the fair-trade model, and explores whether fair trade can deliver on its promises to help the poor. Continue Reading...

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...

Why coffee tasting matters to God

Does the work of a coffee buyer have an impact that stretches on into eternity? Does coffee tasting matter to God? In a new video from Chapel Hill Bible Church, coffee taster and buyer Jeff McArthur shares how he came to see the deeper meaning of his work, both in the day-to-day trades and exchanges with his customers and community and in the relational ripple effects that reach on into the broader economic order. Continue Reading...