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...

What Christians can learn from Adam Smith’s ‘paradox of value’

In a new video from TED Ed, Akshita Agarwal provides a quick lesson on Adam Smith’s “paradox of value” and the differences between “value in use” and “value in exchange.” For Christians, there’s a crucial lesson here about the best way to meet human needs in the economic order, whether through trade policy, reducing price controls, or any number of other areas.  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...

Moral Capital and the Rule of Law

“If we want to be coherent when addressing poverty,” writes Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg at Public Discourse, “our concerns can’t be rooted in emotivist or relativistic accounts of who human beings are. Continue Reading...

Russ Roberts on What Thomas Piketty Ignores

Thomas Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has created quite the stir, and with its overwhelming size (700 pages) and corresponding array of commentaries and critiques, it’s tough to know where to start. Continue Reading...

5 TV Shows That Demonstrate the Importance of Ordinary Work

Television is often lamented for its propensity to exaggerate the mundane and the ordinary. Yet when it comes to something as routinely downplayed and unfairly pooh-poohed as our daily work—the “rat race,” the “grindstone,” yadda-yadda—I wonder if television’s over-the-top tendencies might be just what we need to reorient our thinking about the broader significance of our work. Continue Reading...

Hobby Lobby’s Billionaire CEO Says ‘God Owns It’

Forbes recently ran a profile of Christian billionaire and Hobby Lobby CEO David Green. According to Forbes, Green is “the largest evangelical benefactor in the world,” giving “at upwards of $500 million” over the course of his life, primarily to Christian ministries. Continue Reading...