Today at the FEE (Foundation for Economic Education), Zachary Slayback has an excellent overview of the decline in entrepreneurship among those under 30 since the late 1980s. He writes,

Between local, state, and federal regulations placed on everything from who is allowed to braid hair to who can tell you what color to paint a wall and where to place a door and a schooling culture and system that encourages young people to waste away the first 22-30 years of their lives away from the market, the systems placed upon young people today create a climate extremely hostile to entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Regarding barriers to entry (like our egregious state occupational licensing laws), I presented a paper in April at the APEE (Association of Private Enterprise Education) annual conference in Las Vegas on the subject, offering a theological and moral analysis. Particularly relevant to Slayback’s detailed post, I wrote, (more…)

When it comes to basic definitions of work, I’ve found great comfort in Lester DeKoster’s prescient view of work as “service to others and thus to God” — otherwise construed as “creative service” in For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.

Our primary focus should be service to our fellow man in obedience to God, whether we’re doing manual labor in the field or factory, designing new technology in an office or laboratory, or delivering a range of “intangible” services and solutions.

But alas, in an economy as gigantic, complex, and information-driven as ours, it can be all too easy to feel like robotic worker bees or petty consumer fleas, isolated and atomized as we toil and consume in a big, blurry economic order. The layers of the modern economy tend to conceal this basic orientation, and thus, many of us could use some reminders.

In his latest profile for Christianity Today, Chris Horst highlights an area where work’s universal ethos of service is abundantly evident: the hospitality industry. (more…)

sintaxcan-300x189Philadelphia may like to think of itself as the “city of brotherly love,” but its latest tax increase is not so friendly to the poor.

Last week the city council passed a regressive soda tax proposal that will levy 1.5 cents per liquid ounce on distributors. According to Quartz, the tax will apply to regular and diet sodas, as well as other drinks with added sugar, such as Gatorade, lemonades, and iced teas.

This tax on sugary drinks is what is often called a “sin tax.” This is an excise tax that is specifically intended to target certain goods deemed harmful to society but that we don’t want (or can’t) ban completely, such as tobacco or alcohol. The idea is that by adding or increasing the tax, it increases the overall price of the good, thereby lowering consumer demand.

Sin taxes are a form of sumptuary law, a law that attempts to regulate permitted consumption of particular goods and services. Throughout history sumptuary laws have been used to reinforce social hierarchies or class-based discrimination. Normally this would be done by prohibiting certain social classes from being able to purchase a good, like the 16th-century French law that banned anyone but princes from wearing velvet. But modern sin taxes try to express the same types of social disapproval in more subtle ways.
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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, June 20, 2016
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One State Is Making It Easier for Government to Take Property
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

Over the last two years, the shortfalls of the civil forfeiture system have garnered attention from both the media and state and federal lawmakers as more and more people who had property seized by police have come forward—the vast majority of whom were never charged with a crime.

I’m a rocket scientist designing wood stoves that burn without smoking–to save lives and save the planet
Ryan Gist, Quartz

“Where did you put the smoke?” When you hear that, you know a village demo is going well. It’s one of the best reactions we get in the field when we take our stove out into a public space, light a fire with a few pieces of wood, and gather a crowd just as a bright orange flame pops out from the top of the unit.

Would Money For Nothing Make Us Happy and Free?
Michael Gibson, FEE

The fatal flaw in the futurist case for a universal basic income (UBI).

Five Things You Do That Demonstrate How Profitable You Are
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Most of us take for granted the abundance we experience every day. It’s a privilege to be able to take these things for granted. We should reflect on the amazing wonders of the modern world, brought to us by the God-given creativity of strangers, that allow us to be so blissfully ignorant. Let’s take a moment to be grateful for them.

On June 16, His Eminence Metropolitan Tarasios of Buenos Aires spoke at Acton University at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His remarks touched on a wide range of subjects including the upcoming Orthodox Christian council in Crete, which begins on June 19, Catholic-Orthodox relations, and other topics. The American-born bishop serves in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

According to his official biography, Met. Tarasios was born Peter (Panayiotis) C. Anton in Gary, Indiana, in 1956 to Peter and Angela Anton. The family moved to San Antonio, Texas, in 1960, and young Peter grew up in the Church of St. Sophia in San Antonio. He studied at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, as well as Trinity University in San Antonio, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana (M.A. in Theology 1983), the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and the Pontifical School of Paleography and Archives at the Vatican. (more…)

Father and son walkingThis Sunday is the day Americans set aside to honor their fathers. Here are 5 facts you should know about dads and Father’s Day.

1. After listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash. wanted a special day to honer her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. The first Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 1910, was proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

2. Based on the unpublished Census data (2008), there are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation. 24.9 million were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2015. 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).
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Unclear on how capitalism and/or socialism got started? John Green provides a 12-minute crash course that answers how we got from the British East India Company to iPhones and from Karl Marx to Swedish-style socialism.

Warning: Green’s style and digressions can be a bit grating, but overall the material is worth watching. (I’d also recommend increasing YouTube’s speed setting to 1.5 or 2 for faster viewing.)