Blog author: jcarter
Friday, January 13, 2017
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U.S. Senate approves measure launching Obamacare repeal process
Susan Cornwell, Reuters

The U.S. Senate on Thursday took a first concrete step toward dismantling Obamacare, voting to instruct key committees to draft legislation repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health insurance program.

Pay Gap Between College Grads and Everyone Else at a Record
Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press

Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record.

An automated pizza company models how robot workers can create jobs for humans
Sarah Kessler, Quartz

One-year-old Zume is just one example of how robots and artificial intelligence are poised to automate an increasing number of routine human tasks—a reality that is predicted to impact as many as 60% of US occupations. It is also, however, an example of how the relationship between automation and jobs is complicated.

About one-fifth of adults globally have no formal schooling
David Masci, Pew Research

In many parts of the world, particularly in poorer countries, attainment of even the most basic education is still far from universal. Indeed, roughly one-in five-adults (19%) around the globe have no formal schooling at all, according to a recent Pew Research Center report on education that also studied its relationship to religion.

Alessandro Manzoni

Alessandro Manzoni

Alessandro Manzoni, an Italian poet and novelist, is best known for his book The Betrothed.  Rev. Robert Sirico, president and co-founder of the Acton Institute, recently wrote an article for Crisis Magazine praising Manzoni and discussing some of the economic themes found in The Betrothed.  Pope Francis is also a fan of the Italian writer.  In his article, Rev. Sirico draws a connection between a sensible tradition of Catholic thought on economics and a work of literature that Pope Francis deems credible.

Sirico starts out by offering an introduction to The Betrothed:

The Betrothed is, as its title implies, an epic love story that traces the circumlocutions of the engagement of Lorenzo Tramaglino to Lucia Mondella across the magnificently described countryside of Italian Lake District and Milan. Though written in the early nineteenth century, the action of the novel takes place in the midst of the seventeenth century and depicts historical events and personages. It is no spoiler to say, and you will be relieved to know, that the boy gets the girl in the end and eventually marry. But it is what happens along that way that makes The Betrothed so engaging and instructive.

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trade-flow-international2In their defenses of free trade, advocates routinely focus only on the long-term, economic benefits, and understandably so. The overall expansion of trade in recent years has led to greater economic growth, innovation, and prosperity for all, including America.

Protectionist policies may offer immediate relief and security, including a host of short-term political and economic solutions and benefits for particular industries or corporations. But on the whole and in the long run, politically directed tariffs and taxes are more likely to spur crony capitalism, harm consumers, cramp innovation, and delay the necessary re-tooling to remain a strong and dynamic nation in a globalized world.

Given our newfound national appetite for protectionist policies, free market advocates have plenty of work to do in better communicating those concerns, as Samuel Gregg recently pointed out. Yet in addition to more carefully making the economic arguments, we should also be mindful that free trade presents an opportunity for something else: namely, the expansion of creative collaboration and connection.

Part of that lesson was famously illustrated in “I, Pencil,” the popular essay by Leonard Read which urges us to have “a practical faith” in the economic and material good that might happen if we simply “leave all creative energies uninhibited.” Yet even here, readers tend to focus too heavily on the material ends and outcomes, rather than reflecting on the social, cultural, and spiritual benefits of the exchanges themselves. (more…)

1+1=2Note: This is the third post in a series on developing a Christian mind in business school. See also Part I and Part II.

As I mentioned in the last post, when in this series I talk about developing a Christian mind in b-school I’m referring primarily to learning how to think Christianly about things as they are symbolized, things as they are known, and things as they are communicated. That is, how to think Christianly about the three business arts taught in business school: quantification, orientation, and rhetoric.

Today I wanted to discuss the Christian view of quantification—things as they are symbolized. Before I can do that, though, I probably need to convince you that there even is such a thing as a “Christian view of quantification.” While we understand why we might need to think Christianly about management or ethics, quantification is primarily about numbers. Can there really be a Christian view of accounting, finance, quantitative analysis, etc., when numbers are religiously neutral?

I believe the answer is “yes” because I believe there is a distinctly Christian view of everything. (Yes, everything.)
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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, January 12, 2017
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Is a Christian pastor facing trumped-up charges in Sudan?
Catholic News Agency, Crux

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the U.S. government, has said in a recent report that Sudan’s government “continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief.”

Kentucky’s Right-to-Work Earthquake Reverberates Across State Lines
Kevin Mooney, The Daily Signal

Kentucky’s Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, has now officially signed right-to-work legislation–along with other jobs legislation–into law.

How Should Christians Really Feel about Income?
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

We are created in the image of God. That implies uniqueness.

When should the federal government own land?
Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

Overall, I don’t see why the federal government needs to own about 28% of the country.

The modern world has introduced a wide array of fruits and freedoms, yet it also brings with it new tensions and temptations. Whether in family, business, education, or government, the expansion of opportunity and choice require heightened levels of individual wisdom, discernment and intentionality.

In a recent talk for the C.S. Lewis Institute, Os Guinness laments the influence of these effects on the Western church. “It isn’t ideas which have caused the main damage to the church,” Guinness says. “Modernity itself, not ideas… has done more damage to the church than all the persecutors put together, and yet many Christians don’t even know what I’m talking about.”

As Guinness argues, the Western church has far too passively shifted alongside or according to the trends and tendencies of modernity as seen across the culture, whether in family, business, education, or government. Across cultural spheres, we’ve shifted from a stance of authority to one of preference, from a mindset of integration to one of fragmentation, and from a supernatural orientation to a secular worldview. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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“It’s not good manners to begin the year with dire predictions,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary, “but with continuing Islamic terrorist attacks, increasing concern over Russian aggression, and the general fecklessness of its leaders, we have many reasons to worry about the future of liberty in Europe.”

Italian and German anti-terrorism officials were fully aware of the threat posed by Tunisian national Anis Amri and still could not prevent his driving a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin. Combined with the Istanbul nightclub shootings on New Year’s Eve as well as the murder of a French priest celebrating Mass in Normandy and the Bastille Day rampage in Nice, we can expect to see even more internal security measures in every major European city. Rome already has plenty of armed police, many of whom comport themselves much too casually to inspire any confidence in their ability to stop an actual attack.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton Commentary and other publications here.