trade21Many conservatives exhibit a peculiar tendency to be pro-liberty when it comes to business, trade, and wages, but protectionist when it comes to the economic effects of immigration.

It’s an odd disconnect, and yet, as we’ve begun to see with figures like Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, one side is bound to eventually give way. They’ll gush about the glories of competition, but the second immigration gets brought up, they seem to defer to labor-union talking points from ages past.

When pressed on this in a recent podcast, immigration protectionist Mark Krikorian argued that the difference is that immigrants are people not products, and thus they make things a bit more problematic. It’s more complicated and disruptive, he argues, when you’re dealing with actual people who have diverse and ever-shifting dreams. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, August 20, 2015
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In the US, many expect the pope to discuss the ‘shameful plague’ of trafficking
Tom Tracy, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis has called human trafficking “a crime against humanity” and “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.”

There’s A New Way To Measure Global Freedom
Daniel Huizinga , Opportunity Lives

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “He who seeks freedom for anything but freedom’s self is made to be a slave.” Tocqueville’s observation about the French Revolution sets the tone for the Human Freedom Index (HFI), a new report that offers a comprehensive measure of freedom around the world with country-by-country comparisons.

How Can We Keep Aid Workers Safe?
Larissa Fast, Political Violence @ a Glance

Today is World Humanitarian Day, a day to remember humanitarian aid workers around the world, particularly those who have lost their lives. The day marks the anniversary of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 and wounded a further 160 people.

What prices does the government like?
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

So according to the government, whether a company’s prices are “too low,” “too high,” or “too close to its competitors’ prices,” those prices could be determined to be both unfair and illegal?

drinkable-book[Note: See this introduction post for an explanation of gleaner technology.]

Lack of clean drinking water is one of the greatest public health problems on the planet. Around the world there are 750 million people—approximately one in nine—who lack access to safe water, and millions will die each year from a water related disease.

But a new “drinkable book” may soon provide an inexpensive way for the poor to get potable water. While getting her PhD in chemistry, Theresa Dankovich invented both a bactericidal silver nanoparticle paper, pAge, and an environmental-friendly method to produce the silver nanoparticles, using cheap and benign chemicals and processing.

The pages contain silver nanoparticles, which are lethal for bacteria. Only very small quantities of silver are required due to the use of nanoparticles, which have a highly toxic effect specific towards microorganisms at low concentrations. At the low levels of silver used in the papers, a very small amount of silver is released into the drinking water, which meets the EPA and WHO recommendations.

Dankovich has used the pAge for paper in The Drinkable Book™, a collaboration with WATERisLIFE. Printed on the pages are instructions for using the paper and for preventing water from becoming contaminated.
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Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
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Islamic leaders urge climate action in declaration
Soli Salgado, National Catholic Reporter

The declaration affirmed that “our responsibility as Muslims is to act according to the example of the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him)” who cared for all living things, established protected areas for plants and wildlife, lived frugally, recycled his possessions by repairing or giving them away, and “took delight in the created world.”

The poor are ‘victims of climate change,’ says Myanmar’s cardinal
Catholic World News

Preaching at a Mass that preceded a climate-change seminar sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon called for action to counter climate change. “Evil is marching with glee, destroying human families, destroying God’s gift of nature,” he preached.

Cardinal Turkson: ecological crisis is the ‘gravest and most intractable of all’
Catholic World News

In a message of solidarity to the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, which took place on August 17 and 18 in Istanbul, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that “it is clear that we are living at a particularly turbulent and decisive moment in world history.”

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flow-gift-packThe Acton Institute’s latest film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, was created to help Christians dig deeper into and examine the bigger picture of Christianity’s role in culture, society, and the world. The series is well suited to a variety of settings, whether a college classroom, small group, or church setting.

To promote these types of explorations and exchanges, a special Gift Pack version of the series is now available via RightNow Media, an online video library with thousands of sessions accessible to its members. Sometimes described as “Netflix for the church,” it’s a venue that will introduce and equip many with all the series has to offer.

Exclusively available on RightNow, the Gift Pack includes Episode 1 (“Exile”) and a series of 8 video excerpts exploring the implications of the themes of the larger series. Each video comes with a discussion guide for use in small groups, Sunday School classes, and other educational settings. The excerpts can be used along with the discussion guides or as stand-alone videos for sermon illustrations, teasers, event promotion and much more.

For other ways to watch and engage with the series, see the standard DVD version, the Leader’s Edition, or Exile Supply Pack, and the Field Guide. The entire series can also be purchased digitally at Flannel.org.

acton-commentary-blogimageThe Orthodox Church in Russia has proposed a banking model that corrects what it sees as the most serious of that global banking industry’s moral failings, says Rev. Gregory Jensen in this week’s Acton Commentary. However the system the Church purposes is unlikely to foster economic growth. It also overlooks the convergence of the free market with key elements of the Orthodox moral tradition.

Banks require varying amounts of collateral from and charge different interest rates to different customers. Yes, the bank does this to protect its own profitability.  For the Orthodox moral tradition there is nothing necessarily immoral in the pursuit of profit. More importantly for our concern here, however, profit is not the bank’s only concern.

Treating potential customers differently also reflects the bank’s moral responsibility to determine and safeguard the unique circumstances of the person and so the ability of the borrower to repay the loan. This isn’t morally wrong. While it may seem unfair, when we look at the situation more carefully we see that it reflects the very financial personalism that Surmilo says is at the heart of the Russian model.

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

Christian’s Library Press has released Volume 1 of its English translations of Abraham Kuyper’s most famous work, Common Grace, which is made up of 3 books (Noah-Adam, Temptation-Babel, Abraham-Parousia). The books are part of a larger translation project that you can read about here.

The work presents a public theology of cultural engagement rooted in the humanity Christians share with the rest of the world, making it an extremely valuable resource for Christians seeking to develop a winsome and constructive social witness. The books are part of a larger translation project that you can read about here.

Common Grace Volume 1

This week, CLP will be giving away two sets of the volume (3 books in each).

To enter, use the interface below. There are five ways to enter, and each will increase your odds. The contest will end Friday night at 11:59 p.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
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Minimum-wage offensive could speed arrival of robot-powered restaurants
Lydia DePillis, Washington Post

About 30 percent of the restaurant industry’s costs come from salaries, so burger-flipping robots — or at least super-fast ovens that expedite the process — become that much more cost-competitive if the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is doubled.

The Economic Way of Asking Questions
Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek

Of all the physical, or non-social, sciences, biology is the science that is most like economics: central to both biology and to economics is the quest to understand the logic of undesigned order, and to interpret observed real-world phenomena in light of that understanding.

Authority, Citizenship, And Public Justice
David T. Koyzis, First Things

North Americans famously esteem freedom but are ambivalent about authority. Authority strikes many of us as too constricting and insufficiently supportive of our desires and aspirations. Yet I believe that authority is key to understanding our humanity and the meaning of our creation in God’s image.

Why erratic schedules are one of the worst parts of low-wage work
Timothy B. Lee, Vox

A recent management trend has made the lives of low-wage workers even more difficult. In an effort to save on labor costs, many employers have made employees’ schedules more erratic and less predictable.

We’ve had our busiest Acton Lecture Series in institute history over the course of the first six months of 2015 – we’ve had more public events at the Acton Building in that period of time than we had all of last year, I believe; I’d venture to say that 2015 is already the busiest year in that regard in the 25-year history of the Acton Institute. We’ve had a bit of a pause in the events schedule over the summer, which means that now is a great time to catch up and highlight some events from earlier in the year that you may have missed.

On April 14th, Acton joined with our friends at the Mackinac Center to host Timothy P. Carney – author, senior political columnist at the Washington Examiner, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute – who spoke on the topic “Is Big Business a Danger to Economic Liberty?” Carney’s talk and the Q and A session that followed are now available for your edification via the video player below.

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
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California measure fails to create green jobs
Julia Horowitz, MyWay

Three years after California voters passed a ballot measure to raise taxes on corporations and generate clean energy jobs by funding energy-efficiency projects in schools, barely one-tenth of the promised jobs have been created, and the state has no comprehensive list to show how much work has been done or how much energy has been saved.

Papal Encyclical On Climate Change Puts Coal Country Catholics In Tough Spot
Aaron Schrank, National Public Radio

Kevin Roberts is president of Wyoming Catholic College. He says environmentalists are exploiting the Pope’s words to push an agenda that hurts Wyoming. That’s as state leaders fight President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would require the state to cut its carbon emissions by about 40 percent over the next 15 years.

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