Earlier today, Elise Hilton was featured on the Neal Larson Show discussing several facets of the current “Border Crisis” and suggesting how to address this situation.

Listen below:

Read Hilton’s commentary this week comparing our current situation with one 50 years ago in Cuba.

The Transom links today to a piece about how Proctor & Gamble is ramping up product lines aimed at older adults. “The flip side of the low birthrate is we’re all living longer,” said corporate exec Tom Falk.

In fact, the global trend over the last two hundred years has been toward longer lives and fewer babies. This trend really gathered momentum in just the last half-century or so. Consider this short video I put together for a talk at last month’s Acton University.

The two axes correspond to fertility (horizontal) and life expectancy (vertical). So in the bottom right we are having more children and shorter lives, while in the upper left we are having fewer children and living longer. Each of the countries in the world is represented by a circle, whose size is determined by size of population. Each region is also color coded.

What you’ll see as we move forward through the last two centuries is a gradual shift toward the upper left, which turns into a rush after about 1950. There are a few lagging countries in Africa, which still are moving toward the upper left, just a bit more slowly. Watch it again, and note the brief drops in life expectancy corresponding to each of the twentieth-century world wars.

Where we start in 1800 was just about where humans have been for recorded history: short lives and lots of kids. Now within the last 50 years we’ve seen a monumental shift that really is unprecedented on a global scale. Think for a few minutes about the complex causes of this shift and the massive changes in social, political, and economic dynamics that undergird it and also flow out of it.

We really have never seen its like before.

I recently detailed the relationship between stewardship and the use of one’s God given gifts through vocational jobs as a path toward human flourishing. Much like vocational work’s hands on occupations, are artisanal jobs, which are on the rise in America. These positions are developed by the individual as a creative outlet to provide a good or a service not in the market. They do not require formal training, but education is important as a foundation for inspired enrichment. The artisan economy exemplifies how a private enterprise embodying God given gifts can serve the desires and needs of others.

Father Robert Sirico discusses the role of creative entrepreneurship as an individual’s means toward becoming a faithful servant:

In the process, he employs the labor of others, giving them a meaningful means to support their families. And in the end he has created wealth and prosperity that had not existed before. All this comes to be through his faithful service. If the entrepreneur profits thought[sic] the application of his gifts and the assumption of great risks, they are profits well-deserved.

PBS NewsHour recently profiled artisans who have utilized their education to creatively develop solutions to public problems, such as health care. Today, America faces an aging population, and according to Lawrence Katz, health care work has developed into a “minimum wage job where people are effectively babysitting and not really learning, and the elderly are pretty much checked out and sedated in some cases.” (more…)

Natural Family Planning educatiaon in the Saint Anthony Clinic in Dili, East Timor

Natural Family Planning educatiaon in the Saint Anthony Clinic in Dili, East Timor

Once, in a Bible study I was involved with, we women got chatting, and one lady (as we were discussing poverty in Haiti) said, “If we could just get those women to stop having so many kids…” [drawn-out sigh.] My reply was that we didn’t need to stop women from having babies; we needed to help educate women.

For years, organizations like the World Health Organization have tried to distribute artificial birth control in the developing world. The thinking here is that if families have fewer children, there will be more opportunities for the health and welfare of the children who are born. Of course, this mentality fails on several counts. First, it overlooks religious and cultural values in many places around the world where large families are desired, and where artificial birth control is considered sinful. Second, even the World Health Organization notes that many forms of artificial birth control are known carcinogens. Finally, in many developing countries, the simplest of health care is out-of-reach both financially and geographically. That is, a family that cannot afford netting treated to ward off mosquitoes carrying malaria or who has to walk days to reach a clinic are certainly not going to be able to utilize artificial birth control with any regularity – which means it won’t work. (more…)

Recently, the World Bank agreed to partner with Nicaragua to give the country 69 million U.S. dollars in aid. This poses the immediate question of whether or not this aid will be effective in producing its stated goal of decreasing poverty and increasing economic productivity. Should the World Bank continue to give money to the government of Nicaragua, which – especially of late – has been showing a decrease in political stability and democratic processes? History shows that international loans provide little help when countries suffer from decreases in stability and equality within their system.

The World Bank justifies the money that Nicaragua receives: “Nicaragua has achieved a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5 percent in 2012 and 4.6 percent in 2013, returning to pre-crisis growth levels.” GDP, however, does not paint a complete picture of the country’s performance. Most of the wealth within Nicaragua is located among the upper class, making the GDP less accurate for the country as a whole. Gross Domestic Product in purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2012 was estimated at $20.04 billion USD, and GDP per capita in PPP at $3,300 USD, making Nicaragua the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Friday, July 18, 2014

Christian Cake Baker Appeals Government ‘Re-Education’ Order
Bethany Monk, CitizenLink

A Christian cake artist in Colorado filed an appeal Wednesday challenging a government order that says he and his staff must take “re-education” classes. The classes would “educate” employees about a state law that effectively demands that businesses celebrate same-sex ceremonies.

Re-Islamization in Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Next?
Victor Gaetan, National Catholic Register

Turkish press reported the lead organizer said, “It is our duty to convert it back to its original state [sic] to show Islam’s prevalence in this region and carry out the nation’s will.”

Is The War On Drugs Racist?
Jason Riley, The Federalist

The black inmate population reflects black criminality, not a racist criminal justice system.

Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It’s More Complicated
John D. Inazu, Christianity Today

The legal context for what’s happening at Gordon College, and how Christians can respond despite intense cultural backlash.

social-mobility-01_500x260Earlier this year I wrote a series of posts explaining 12 principles that generally drive the thinking of conservative evangelicals when it comes to economics. Number 9 on my list was:

9. Social mobility — specifically getting people out of poverty — is infinitely more important than income inequality.

Social mobility is the ability of an individual or family to improve (or lower) their economic status. The two main types of social mobility are intergenerational (i.e., a person is better off than their parents or grandparents) or intragenerational (i.e., income changes within a person or group’s lifetime). Researchers at Harvard University recently released a study of intergenerational social mobility within the United States which controlled for five factors: racial segregation, income inequality, school quality, social capital, and family structure.

Can you guess which factor makes the most difference for social mobility?
(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, July 17, 2014

How do we help struggling Americans rise out of poverty? Robert Doar, AEI’s fellow in poverty studies and former New York City welfare commissioner, offers four key principles everyone concerned with fighting poverty should know.

children at borderCatherine Herridge at Fox News reports that a new intelligence study suggests that the latest surge of illegal immigrants are not fleeing violence in their homelands, but rather are under the misconception that if they make it to the United States border, they will be granted permission to stay.

The 10-page July 7 report was issued by the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), which according to the Justice Department website is led by the DEA and incorporates Homeland Security. Its focus is on the collection and distribution of tactical intelligence, information which can immediately be acted on by law enforcement.

“Of the 230 migrants interviewed, 219 cited the primary reason for migrating to the United States was the perception of U.S. immigration laws granting free passes or permisos to UAC (unaccompanied children) and adult females OTMs (other than Mexicans) traveling with minors,” the report said.

Coyotes or human traffickers are said to be to blame for much of this. They are looking to money from vulnerable people. Often charging thousands of dollars per person, the coyotes have a vested interest in keeping the flow of illegal immigrants moving. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. told reporters on Tuesday, July 15, “Remember this is not a five-year-old [sic] or an 11-year-old can’t just walk over the border and get to the United States. These are organized coyotes doing this.”

The administration’s lack of response to the border crisis is construed as permissive by many, leading to not only illegal immigration, but human trafficking and exploitation of children, the poor and most vulnerable.

Read “Misperceptions about U.S. immigration policy behind surge of illegal children, report says” at Fox News.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boko Haram Shows No Mercy in Nigeria, Wrecking Churches, Homes, Lives
Robyn Dixon, L.A. Times

When Boko Haram invaded her village last year, the Islamists extremists burned the churches, destroyed Bibles and photographs and forced Hamatu Juwanda to renounce Christianity.

The Progressive Appeal to an Imaginary Calendar
Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition

There’s no reason to assume that the position we hold to is right because it’s Tuesday and not Monday. And yet, that’s the kind of ”appeal to the calendar” we often witness in popular progressive circles.

Religion in a Heart-Shaped Box
Owen Strachan, First Things

This personal right—one of Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” and the lodestar of New England’s first settlers fleeing religious persecution—is fast becoming the most contested cultural issue of our day.

Making A Profit: An Unexpected Way to Help Others
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Profit is simply a measurement. It is feedback sent to producers in response to a service or product. From it, we can gauge whether or not to continue production of that service or item.