Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Post Tagged 'virtue'

The cramped morality of trade protectionism

“If a product is seen only as the opportunity for work, it is certain that the anxieties of protectionists are well founded.” –Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Sophisms Drawing inspiration from a 1847 essay by the inimitable Frédéric Bastiat, economist Donald Boudreaux tackles a popular argument from today’s trade protectionists: namely, “that protectionism is justified if enough consumers or voters are willing to pay higher prices in order to help workers.” The problem, of course, is that such a perspective debases the value of labor to the value of products and vice versa, ignoring the many other relationships and ripple-effects that production and trade are bound to inspire. Continue Reading...

Radio Free Acton: Jim McGann on the world of think tanks; Upstream on Spiderman: Homecoming

This week on Radio Free Acton, we talk with Jim McGann (senior lecturer of International Studies at the Lauder Institute, director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program and senior fellow, Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania) about the world of think tanks – what they are, what they do well, and where they can improve their effectiveness. Continue Reading...

Fusionism and Western Civ

Pope Leo XIII, writing in the midst of social crisis at the end of the nineteenth century, wisely observed: “When a society is perishing, the wholesome advice to give to those who would restore it is to call it to the principles from which it sprang.” For the American experiment in ordered liberty, this means in large part going back to the Anglo-American tradition represented by Adam Smith and Edmund Burke. Continue Reading...

Defending the bourgeois virtues

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “The middle class in an age of inequality,” I wonder who will defend the bourgeois virtues, if anyone will “speak out in praise of mediocrity, stability, and predictability.” Deirdre McCloskey has spent a great deal of time exploring and extolling the bourgeois virtues. Continue Reading...

The fruit of toil

In an Acton Commentary two years ago, I wrote about the significance of toil: In the midst of the now-common Christian affirmation of all forms of work as God-given vocations, the image of Sisyphus, vainly pushing his boulder up a hill in Hades, only to watch it roll back down again, might serve to remind us of the reality of toil, the other side of the coin. Continue Reading...