The Fund for American Studies produced a video, narrated by economist Michael Cox, that shows how one nation rose from poverty to unprecedented wealth in just a few generations.

If anyone tells you that people have been moving to the suburbs in the past ten years or so to pursue a life of comfort, ease, and safety you can know for a fact that they are stuck in a 1980s vision of American life.

What has been trending in America in the past 10 years or so is that people are moving to major cities for a life of comfort, ease, convenience, excitement, and the pursuit of the “New Urbanism American Dream” that displaces minorities and the poor to the suburbs as urban market conditions change to meet demand. In fact, according to a Brookings Institute report, by 2008 large suburbs became home to 1.5 million more poor than their primary cities and housed almost one-third of the nation’s poor overall. According to the report, “between 2000 and 2008, suburbs in the country’s metro areas in cities of all sizes saw their poor population grow by 25 percent—almost five times faster than primary cities and well ahead of the growth seen in smaller metro areas and non-metropolitan communities.”

This change is making the suburbs home to a more diverse population in terms of age, ethnicity, household size, and poverty status. Today there is very little difference between racial and cultural diversity in major cities versus the suburbs. We are living in a new era where blacks and Latinos make up a disproportionate share of the poor in both cities and suburbs. To preach against living in the suburbs in 2013 is to preach against opportunities to be in solidarity with those who are suffering.

The suburbanization of racial diversity and poverty cuts across the country. In San Francisco, for example, a UC-Berkeley report explains, “the number of people living in poverty in the Bay Area rose 16 percent in the suburbs, compared with 7 percent in urban areas, this analysis finds. And the greatest percentage of growth in suburban poverty was among blacks and Latinos. The percentage of the poor living in the suburbs has increased across all racial groups, but the change is highest among blacks, increasing by more than 7 percentage points from 2000 to 2009.”

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, May 3, 2013

Fruitfulness Outweighs Productivity
Wilmer Villacorta, Fieldnotes Magazine

Fruitfulness outweighs productivity because it reflects our capacity to steward God’s creation.

The Case Against Cronies: Libertarians Must Stand Up to Corporate Greed
Timothy P. Carney, The Atlantic

It’s time for a free-market corporate social responsibility. Conservatives who rail against government hand-outs should also blast companies who seek shelter from Washington.

The World’s Worst Places To Be A Christian (Or Another Religious Minority)
Melissa Steffan, Christianity Today

USCIRF’s new list of religious freedom violators has familiar names, but contrasts with other lists.

Prices, Income, and Education
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Why aren’t teachers paid more if training our children is such an important job to society?

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s Annual Report has been published. The commission places countries in three “tiers”, with tier one being nations that are designated “countries of particular concern” in terms of religious freedom. In this year’s report, these nations include China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia, among twelve others.saudi-arabia2

In China for instance, the report notes the following:

The Chinese government continues to perpetrate particularly severe violations of the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief. Religious groups and individuals considered to threaten national security or social harmony, or whose practices are deemed beyond the vague legal definition of “normal religious activities,” are illegal and face severe restrictions, harassment, detention, imprisonment, and other abuses. Religious freedom conditions for Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims remain particularly acute, as the government broadened its efforts to discredit and imprison religious leaders, control the selection of clergy, ban certain religious gatherings, and control the distribution of religious literature by members of these groups. The government also detained over a thousand unregistered Protestants in the past year, closed “illegal” meeting points, and prohibited public worship activities. Unregistered Catholic clergy remain in detention or disappeared.


U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished to stave off a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” That’s what Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told Fox News. Weinstein and his group met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23 to try to convince them to punish military officers who engage in such devious evangelistic tactics as having a Christian bumper sticker on their car or a Bible on their desk. Weinstein says such activities can can amount to “pushing this fundamentalist version of Christianity on helpless subordinates.”

military“If a member of the military is proselytizing in a manner that violates the law, well then of course they can be prosecuted,” he said. “We would love to see hundreds of prosecutions to stop this outrage of fundamentalist religious persecution.”

“[Proselytizing] is a version of being spiritually raped and you are being spiritually raped by fundamentalist Christian religious predators,” Weinstein told Fox News.

The Pentagon confirmed to Fox News that Christian proselytization is against regulations. “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense, LCDR Nate Christensen said in a written statement.

As Michael Novak observes in The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, “A successful corporation is frequently based upon the principle of subsidiarity. According to this principle, concrete decisions must be made on the level closest to the concrete reality. Managers and workers need to trust the skills of their colleagues. A corporate strategy which overlooks this principle–and many do–falls prey to all the vices of a command economy, in which all orders come from above.”

According to a study by Melba J. Duncan in the Harvard Business Review, such delegation makes economic sense: “Generally speaking, work should be delegated to the lowest-cost employee who can do it well.”

A recent BusinessWeek article updates the case for executive assistants. Anyone who has had significant contact with corporate settings knows that the EAs are the ones who really get things done. But for such delegation to be effective and efficient, it must be empowering. As Duncan writes, “The most effective executives think deeply about the pieces of their workload that can be taken on—or restructured to be partially taken on—by the assistant.”

Even the “lowest-cost employee” has a stewardship responsibility.

Of course, delegation can go too far, too.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, May 2, 2013

Business professionals gaining vision for international outreach
Tess Rivers, Baptist Press

In many countries around the world, she notes, “It is difficult for IMB personnel to build relationships with business professionals. We don’t make sense to business people. They don’t have the time or the desire to mess with us.”

Supreme Court Says States Are Allowed to Favor Their Own Citizens
Garret Epps, The Atlantic

A unanimous decision on FOIA rules suggests the justices are in a rather modest mood.

Is Productivity Moral?
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Increasing the production of goods and services is not morally evil – and it’s not morally neutral – rather, it’s fundamentally good and pleasing to God.

Reflections on Religious Liberty: Healthcare Mandates just the Beginning?
Andrew Seeley, The Imaginative Conservative

As I looked around the standing-room only board room filled with serious, somewhat anxious fellow faculty members, I could not help the surreal feeling that we were actors at the beginning of a movie about a persecution.