Entrepreneurs, in the words of Andreas Widmer, co-founder of The SEVEN Fund, are people who see “an additional color. Everybody sees chaos; they look out, they see chaos. An entrepreneur sees patterns.” They think differently.

Kara Ohngren, at Entrepreneur, has compiled a list of ten documentaries to help entrepreneurs strive to make patterns out of chaos. Acton Media’s “The Call of the Entrepreneur” is featured.

Why it’s a must-see: This doc is a non-stop barrage of uplifting tales. The inspiring story of Michigan dairy farmer-turned-composter, Brad Morgan is enough to remind you that our society thrives on entrepreneurial ideas.

Lesson: Sometimes all the modern-day entrepreneur needs is a little inspiration to press on, even though failure could be right around the corner.

Other “must sees” for entrepreneurs are “Freakonomics: the movie” and “Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words”.

Visit “The Call of the Entrepreneur” website to learn more about the documentary.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 18, 2012
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NHS Age Discrimination A Warning About Obamacare
Wesley J. Smith, Human Exceptionalism

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service rations care and, evidence shows, discriminates against the elderly. Now, the Royal College of Surgeons finds that elderly patients are being denied life-saving surgery based on age rather than fitness.

5 Myths About Voting
Ericka Anderson, The Foundry

If you think early voting is a healthy trend, just read on, as we explode five myths about voting.

Can Only Priests and Pastors Make An Impact?
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

How many of us feel our work is not “spiritual” enough or doesn’t matter in God’s grand design? Understanding this concept of a priesthood of all believers can help us see how all our vocations bear great importance.

Godly Stewardship versus Environmentalism
E. Calvin Beisner, Economics for Everybody

In the last twenty years, the American evangelical church has jumped on the “green” bandwagon and embraced environmental stewardship as an ethical responsibility. In principle, this is good.

Rev. Robert A. Sirico appeared on the Frank Pastore Show Oct. 15 to discuss Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that the HHS mandate was not a threat to religious liberty and the quick rebuke he received from the Catholic bishops. Rev. Sirico also discussed broad faith and policy themes, including how best to reduce poverty, in this hour-long program.

Click the media player below to listen:

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On National Review Online, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg offers an analysis of last night’s debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. Gregg begins with the assertion by Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post that the candidates are ignoring poor and working-class Americans. Gregg responds:

… what’s generally missing from the discussion of poverty in the context of this presidential election — though Romney did obliquely reference it in the second debate — is acknowledgment that: (1) the economic causes of impoverishment are more subtle and less amenable to wealth redistribution than the Left is willing to concede; and (2), with a few exceptions, liberals are generally reluctant to acknowledge some of poverty’s non-economic causes, not least because it throws into relief some of the more destructive effects of their cultural agenda.

If poverty was simply a question of wealth redistribution, the sheer amount of dollars spent since the not-so-Great Society programs of the 1960s should have resolved the problem. In 2011, Peter Ferrara calculated that “total welfare spending [in 2008] . . . amounted to $16,800 per person in poverty, 4 times as much as the Census Bureau estimated was necessary to bring all of the poor up to the poverty level, eliminating all poverty in America. That would be $50,400 per poor family of three.”

The effects in terms of reducing poverty have, however, been underwhelming. As Ferrara observes: “Poverty fell sharply after the Depression, before the War on Poverty, declining from 32% in 1950 to 22.4% in 1959 to 12.1% in 1969, soon after the War on Poverty programs became effective. Progress against poverty as measured by the poverty rate then abruptly stopped.” In short, America’s welfare state, which now easily accounts for the biggest outlays in the federal government’s annual budget, has proved inadequate at realizing one of its central goals.

Read “Who’s Really Forgotten the Poor” by Samuel Gregg on NRO.

A new study has produced an inflation-adjusted list of the richest people of all time. To give you an idea of just how rich the rich people on the list are consider that Sam Walton and Warren Buffett are the poorest guys to make the cut.

The richest person in history, according to the study, was Mansa Musa I of Mali—an obscure 14th century African king. Musa, who made his fortune on salt and gold, would have an inflation-adjusted fortune of $400 billion. Mali likely benefited from cronyism and a feudalistic command economy, but many of the others on the list made their wealth through free enterprise. Indeed, entrepreneurs crowd out emperors; out of the top 25 men (and they are all men), 14 are American businessmen.

What is most interesting about the list, though, is how much we benefit from the products and services created by these wealthy men. From cars and computers (Henry Ford and Bill Gates) to cheap consumer goods and toilet paper (Sam Walton and Friedrich Weyerhaeuser), we are better off because of the innovations and inventions that made these men wealthy. They got rich by improving the lives of millions (or billions) and contributing to the economic growth of the world.

The fruits of this economic growth are often worth more than their weight in gold—or in Musa’s case, salt and gold. The price to replace the American middle class living standard most of have now is almost incalculable. Who would trade their 21st century comforts in order to be the ruler of the Malian empire? Not me. Even to convince me to move back to the 1970s—an era before iPhones, Amazon.com, and central air conditioning—you’d have to promise me a minimum income of $10 million dollars.

Such is the magic of free enterprise. Not only does it make some people extraordinarily wealthy, it makes the rest of us extraordinarily better off too.

With two presidential debates and one vice presidential debate already behind us, fact-checkers across the nation must be pulling their hair out. A brief survey of factcheck.org sheds some important light on the many claims and figures that have been tossed around in the last two weeks, revealing little concern from either ticket for the facts of the matter. Why is this the case? And must we simply resign ourselves to this dismal state of affairs? (more…)

I think somebody needs to admit that the level of pandering to women in this election is over the top. Whether it is Ann Romney awkwardly yelling, “I love you women” at the Republican National Convention, or the ridiculous “War on Women” meme from the left. The examples are just too many to cite and evaluate for one post. So much of it is focus driven and poll tested and here with us to stay, but the issue still needs to be addressed.

A young woman in the audience at the second Obama – Romney debate named Katherine Fenton asked the candidates, “What are they going to do about equal pay for women?” I’m not saying this is not a legitimate question. But there is something deeper that I think we need to recognize on this issue.

As evidence shows now, young women currently are compensated at a higher rate than young men. There are a host of reasons for this being the case. Women are better educated for this economy, which is growing in service sectors and the health fields. Manufacturing continues to collapse, which disproportionately affects men. The coal industry, which is heavily male, is being strangled by regulation. Young women are more apt to go to college now than young men and they dominate college and university settings. Many men who have been on a college campus in the last few decades are well aware of the male-bashing, which is ridiculously excessive. Women are more apt to graduate and more likely to go on and get a graduate degree. Studies consistently show that the biggest benefactors of affirmative action are not racial minorities but women.

Now it’s true, at the highest level of industry there is still pay disparity between men and women, but much of this has to do with some women voluntarily leaving the work force for family reasons and raising children, and not because of evil sexist pay charts cooked up in corporate cigar lounges.

Even many of the economic statistics thrown out by Romney last night had to do with the level of female poverty on the rise in this economy, but poverty is on the rise regardless of gender. I’ve attended religious conferences and events where men have gotten up and apologized for being a white male. I don’t see that as helpful to anything. I know in a high stakes political setting it’s too much to ask for the constant pandering to cease, but I feel that we would be better served by leaders who are committed to promoting the equality under the law above all else.

For many on the Catholic left, the confusion of “non-negotiables” in Church teaching with matters of prudential judgment has become all too common. In this week’s Acton Commentary (published October 17), Dr. Don Condit looks at how Vice President Joseph Biden’s “facts” about Obamacare were received by the Catholic bishops. The full text of his essay follows. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

(more…)

“No taxation without representation” was a slogan taken up and popularized by this nation’s Founders, and this idea became an important animating principle of the American Revolution. But this was also an era where landowners had the primary responsibilities in civic life; theirs was the land that was taxed and so theirs too should be the rights to vote and be represented. Thus went the logic. But the question that faces us now, nearly two and a half centuries later, is the flip side of the Revolutionary slogan: To what extent should there be representation without taxation?

Check out the rest of this week’s commentary, “The Dignity of Paying.”

Gallaudet University is a unique institution. Founded in 1864 in Washington, DC to meet the educational needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, the school currently serves just under 2000 students in various capacities. As one might imagine, it is a distinct community, aware that they educate a group of people who have often been victims of discrimination. The school asserts:

Gallaudet University as an institution embraces diversity… A university has an obligation to be a place where all views can be shared freely and any belief can be discussed respectfully, allowing the exchange of ideas to flourish. Accordingly, Gallaudet will integrate diversity into every aspect of its operations. This statement on diversity is only part of an ongoing process in which all members of the university participate. Gallaudet’s excellence and survival depends on respecting, honoring and embracing the diversity that exists within the university community…

Yet, the university recently suspended the school’s chief diversity officer, a 23-year employee of the school. Angela McCaskill was placed on leave for expressing a diverse viewpoint: she signed a petition (along with 200,000 others) to place “Maryland’s Question 6″ on the ballot. “Question 6″ states:

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

McCaskill, the first deaf African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Gallaudet, said at a recent press conference, “I am dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance.”

On behalf of the university, President T. Alan Hurwitz noted,

…many individuals at our university were understandably concerned and confused by her action. They wanted to know ‘does that action interfere with her ability to perform her job?’

I placed her on paid administrative leave as a prudent action to allow the university — and Dr. McCaskill – the time to consider this question after the emotions of first reactions subsided…

As Gallaudet itself points out, a diverse place is one where “all views can be shared freely and any belief can be discussed respectfully, allowing the exchange of ideas to flourish.”

It appears, to paraphrase George Orwell, that some diversity is more diverse than others.