In an earlier post I compared the political economy of superheroes in the DC and Marvel universes. And today I have a piece up at The Stream examining the figure of Lex Luthor, the crony capitalist villain featured in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

LexCorp (more…)

Does spending more money locally keep money in the community, creating jobs and improving the economic situation of our immediate neighbors? Probably not.

Economist Don Boudreaux shows that if we bought everything because it was “local” (rather than because it was the best product or service) we would just be voluntarily making ourselves poorer.



Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why Are Companies Taking Sides Against Religious Liberty?
William Ligon, Wall Street Journal

The American Founders believed religious liberty to be so essential that they enshrined it in the First Amendment. Today, however, it is treated as only another flashpoint in the culture wars.

Europe as a ‘Soft Utopia’
Todd Huizinga, The European Conservative

The EU is nothing if not ambitious. It is, in essence, a utopia—albeit a soft, squishy, do-gooders’ utopia.

The cure for poverty is right next door
Patrick Oetting, The News-Sentinel

The way to reduce this trend and break systemic cycles of poverty is to reduce the role of the state and return to the principle that still works as well as it did in 1831 — subsidiarity, that is, let those closest to the issue, such as churches and private charities, determine the needs in their community before we allow state involvement.

Judge strikes down Wisconsin right-to-work law
Ted Miller,

A Dane County judge sided with unions and struck down Wisconsin’s right-to-work law. The unions, including the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers and International Association of Machinists, argued the law amounts to an unconstitutional seizure of their property because it allows workers who don’t pay union dues to still receive union benefits.

amoris-laetitiaOn Friday, Pope Francis released the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), a lengthy (325 paragraphs, 256 pages, 391 footnotes) letter that follows the Synods on the Family held in 2014 and 2015.

The following 50 key quotes from the text are intended not to be the “best” quotes from the letter, but merely to provide a general sense of what the exhortation is about:


Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied”. (p. 4)

It is my hope that, in reading this text, all will feel called to love and cherish family life, for “families are not a problem; they are first and foremost an opportunity”. (p. 6)

Chapter One: In The Light Of The World

pope-francis-unPope Francis has made support for migrants and refugees a priority of his pontificate, and has encouraged nations to adopt an open-door immigration policy. But few countries, especially in Europe, appear interested in adopting his approach, underscoring just how limited an influence the pope has on foreign policy.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting the pope’s inability to strongly affect geopolitical affairs quotes Kishore Jayabalan, director of Acton Institute’s Rome office and a former Vatican policy analyst:

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, April 11, 2016

The Panama Papers Actually Reflect Pretty Well on Capitalism
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View

What we’ve seen from the papers so far is not so much an indictment of global capitalism as an indictment of countries that have weak institutions and a lot of corruption.

What if the Minimum Wage Increase Is a Fraud?
Andrew Napolitano,

Politicians ignore the economic consequences of central planning and hope voters will reward them for it.

Can Bitcoin Be Used For Good?
The Atlantic

The cryptocurrency is a powerful tool for early adopters and middle-class entrepreneurs, but it may not provide the opportunities in the developing world that its advocates claim.

US Immigration Agency Returns ‘Freedom of Religion’ to Naturalization Exam
Philip Wegmann, The Daily Signal

Sen. James Lankford has made a small vocabulary victory that he believes will have a significant impact on religious liberty.

dead_gadflyIt’s been a while since your writer began reporting on religious shareholder activism in this space. The term “religious” is used here to describe the vocations of the priests, nuns, clergy and other religious involved in shareholder activism – rather than serving as an accurate descriptor for essentially progressive political and social activities. These shareholder activists pursue agendas having little to do with the true nature of the faiths they no doubt believe, but too often relegate beneath their pursuit of liberal causes.

The above occurred to your correspondent upon following a link on the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility homepage. A quick click later, I was immersed in the progressive banalities of Rev. Jim Conn, “Spring Awakening: Uniting Against Climate Change” over at the website Capital & Main: Investigating Power & Politics. Rev. Conn’s essay champions what he perceives as a Risorgimento – a resurgent unification of political and social efforts. In essence, the Risorgimento Conn envisions applies to mitigating climate change by any means necessary, including shareholder activism as practiced by ICCR:

People with surplus incomes have been investing ever since the first stock market was invented, but now networks of socially responsible investors have gained clout in the marketplace. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment acts as a research tool and clearinghouse of information for such funds. Their list includes a number of regular mutual fund companies that have established green or socially responsible investment services. (more…)