more-moneyA perennial complaint by the political left is that the CEOs of American companies earn too much money. The implication is not, however, that the “excess” money should be distributed to the shareholders (who actually own the company). Instead, the idea is that “fairness” requires that much of the profit that normally goes toward the CEO’s pay should be redistributed to the rest of the company’s employees.

But what if we took it a step further: What if we redistributed all corporate profits to workers? What if the profits of every American company were not given to the shareholders but divided equally among every worker in America?How much do you think it would raise the average worker’s pay?

Take a moment to do a rough guestimation of how much the hourly wage would be raised if all profits were redistributed. Have a number in mind?

The answer to the question is that the average worker’s hourly wage would increase by . . .

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JMM_18.1 front cropOur most recent issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality has now been published online and print issues are in the mail.

Volume 18, no. 1 is a special issue. Guest editor Shirley Roels details the origins of the contributions in her (open access) editorial:

To highlight the 2013–2014 English publication of the first volume of [Abraham] Kuyper’s theological commentary on common grace, the Calvin College Business Department organized an October 2014 symposium, which was co-sponsored by the Acton Institute. Faculty, business practitioners, and students gathered to think about the meaning of Kuyper’s common grace theology for twenty-first-century business. Over an exceptional day of discourse, presentations and panels were woven into a robust discussion about the light of faith for business when that life is shared together by Christians and those who follow other paths. Leaders from banking, manufacturing, natural resources, film, food, and floral industries, among others, joined with business educators to shape the current intertwining of common grace and business.

The symposium was framed around three themes that emerge from Kuyper’s writings about common grace. Its planners described these as the protective, constructive, and imaginative functions of common grace. Through such grace, God protects remnants and echoes of his good created order as gifts for all people despite continuing human perversity. God designs the expectation and possibility that together humans will construct institutions to respond to needs and support social order. God provides continuity between the values and virtues of all people so that Christians as well as those in other faith traditions can work together imaginatively.

The article contributions to this journal issue originated in that October 2014 symposium. Peter Heslam’s opening article provides some of Kuyper’s less-known commentary about business life. Then eight articles, all authored by Christian business educators, articulate the implications of Kuyper’s common grace theology for business ethics, strategic planning, global debt markets, entrepreneurship, market pricing, the accounting profession, operations management, and human resource frameworks. Richard Mouw’s closing article enjoins us to bring robust Christian faith to the business spaces where God’s light can readily flood. (A separate review essay unrelated to the symposium also appears as part of the journal’s regular publication schedule.) Finally, integrated into the journal’s book review section are four reviews of recent books about faith and business that highlight resources to deepen this intersection of faith and business.

In addition to Dr. Roels’ editorial, I have made my review of The Common Good: An Introduction to Personalism by Jonas Norgaard Mortensen open access as well. You can read it free here.

If you are interested in a subscription to the Journal of Markets & Morality, subscription directions and prices can be found here.

Once you’ve purchased a subscription, you can read our most recent issue, volume 18, no. 1, here.

ffd3_356x140A new stage is set for an old conversation. This week marks the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bringing in representatives of almost 200 countries, it has drawn attention from the anti-poverty crowd across the globe. Whether they are members of NGOs, churches, celebrities, or politicians, many concerned about the developing world have their ears turned to Ethiopia.

FFD3 isn’t the first conference of its kind. The original summit took place in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002. It led to what was called “The Monterrey Consensus,” a companion to the frequently referenced “Millennium Development Goals.” The second summit was held in Doha, Qatar, in 2008, where some of the vague agreements of the first conference were made more explicit.

The Millennium Development Goals, commissioned in 2002, were the start of a massive surge of foreign aid to the developing world. The success of this top-down approach has been mixed at best, and, as Anielka Münkel of PovertyCure explains, is based on a fundamentally faulty view of the human person. While clarifying old objectives once again, FFD3 is also trying to refine its focus. If global leaders are willing to commit, there will be an opportunity to set in motion the revised “Sustainable Development Goals.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, July 16, 2015
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The Best Way to End Homelessness
Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

The first-ever large-scale study on the topic finds that permanent, stable housing can be more cost-effective than shelters.

The Enduring Significance of Edmund Burke
Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative

Order in society: an arrangement of things not according to an abstract equality, nor yet according to a utilitarian calculus, but founded upon a recognition of Providential design, which makes differences between man and man (and God and man) ineradicable and beneficent. This, I think, is the idea fundamental to Burke’s liberal conservatism, and this is the principle to which all real conservatives after him clung.

Don’t Supersize the Minimum Wage
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, City Journal

Boosting New York’s fast-food hourly wage to $15 will kill jobs and raise prices.

Nuns challenge policy on contraceptive access
Robert Pear, New York Times News Service

Four federal appeals courts have upheld efforts by the Obama administration to guarantee access to free birth control for women, suggesting that the government may have found a way to circumvent religious organizations that refuse to provide coverage for some or all forms of contraception.

billmckibben

Bill McKibben

I recently enjoyed a brief back-and-forth with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben in which he claimed that I accused him of lacking religious faith. That most assuredly was not the case. I told him so, but also stood by my initial assertion that he and other environmental activists are cherry-picking Pope Francis’ Laudato Si for religious and moral firepower on climate-change while ignoring those elements that are core Roman Catholic teachings with which they disagree.

Let’s look at Mr. McKibben’s religious background, shall we? In his essay, “Doing the Math: The Scale of Global Warming and the Urgency of Self-Restraint” (in Sacred Commerce, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2014) he expresses his religion thusly:

 The highest I ever rose in the ecclesial hierarchy was a Sunday school teacher at our backwoods Methodist church. It’s such a small church that the only qualification for being a Sunday school teacher is if on Christmas Eve you can take a dish towel and turn a third grader into a Palestinian shepherd for the pageant. So that’s the degree of my theological qualification. On the other hand, these are questions that I have thought about and written about a good deal.

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Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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Melville House Is Publishing Pope Francis’ “Call to Action” Encyclical on Climate Change
Steve Duffy, Flavorwire

Independent Brooklyn publisher Melville House has acquired the rights to be the first secular publisher of Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical: On Care for Our Common Home. The volume focuses on the fates of poorer nations, should current greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. It comes at an apt time, with the crucial UN climate talks (where leaders will try to reach a new global agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gases) due in Paris this December.

Civil Society Leaders Praise Pope’s Climate Encyclical
Eunsun Cho, World Policy Blog

Many major faith traditions are increasingly focusing on the issue of climate change. As an interfaith global movement for climate action, Our Voices recently organized Multi-Faith Emerging Leaders Convergence and an interfaith climate change march, which involved a diverse representation of major faith traditions and civic movements around the world. Father Fletcher, Coordinator of Our Voices and Executive Director of GreenFaith, a U.S.-based think tank for religion and ecology, expressed, “Fighting climate change is fighting poverty and injustice. All of us share the encyclical´s impatience at the lack of progress in the UN climate negotiations. Decisive action is needed now, we urge world leaders not to miss the opportunity at the next negotiations in Paris in December.”

Prominent Christians: Pope’s Climate Change Stance Harms Not Helps Poor
Donna Rachel Edmunds, Breitbart

Two prominent Christian peers have rejected the Pope’s recent encyclical on climate change as backwards and more likely to increase not reduce poverty. They accuse the Pope of falling foul of thinking on climate change that hankers for a time before the Industrial Revolution which campaigners paint as simpler and easier, but was in fact more brutal and painful.

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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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Yesterday Zack Pruitt explained why when “sanctuary cities” disregard the rule of law on immigration, humanitarian issues become clouded and morality is challenged. But what exactly are sanctuary cities?

This short video by The Daily Signal explains what they are and why they’ve become so controversial.

acton-commentary-blogimageDuring his encounter with President Morales of Bolivia last week, Pope Francis was given a “communist cross.” In this week’s Acton Commentary Jorge Velarde Rosso explains why the gift was not so harmless.

Of course Morales had an agenda with that gift. It wasn’t an innocent gesture. Designed by the same Jesuit priest who had been honored by Francis a few minutes earlier, the pope’s “that is not OK” represented a correction to Morales. The fact, however, that Morales gave Francis this cross — it is unthinkable that anyone would have given John Paul II or Benedict XVI a cross in the shape of a symbol of death and oppression for millions, including the millions of Catholics who have suffered at the hands of Marxist regimes and movements — underscores that Morales didn’t think Francis would be offended. Indeed, only a few minutes later Pope Francis expressed his support for the work of Morales’ regime.

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

FLOW_EXILEIn the various discussions surrounding the Acton Institute’s film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, a common response has been to call into question the basic notion of Christians existing in a state of “exile.”

The general complaint is that it’s somehow hyperbolic, given the privileged position of the modern West in the scope of human history. From here, things typically descend into detailed historical debates about the realities of America vs. the Middle East vs. the Roman Empire vs. Babylonian rule, and so on.

But as Russell Moore now helpfully points out, such a critique assumes a false definition of “exile” that most simply misses the point.

Exile has nothing to do with some temporal decline from this earthly rule to that — in our case, from some nostalgic memory of a “Christian nation” to the present “post-Christian” dysphoria. “The political and cultural climate of America does not make us exiles,” Moore reminds us, and such a perspective “just continues the triumphalist rhetoric of the last generation.”

Indeed, Christians have never been “at home” in America: (more…)

Radio Free ActonIn this edition of Radio Free Acton, we speak with John Horvat, author of Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society, about what’s gone wrong with our economy and culture and how to fix it. John’s book was featured this year at Acton University (you can pick up a copy for yourself at the link above), and he writes about his AU experience in this post on his blog:

…the students really cared. It was hard not to be impressed by the unified “diversity” that characterized those in the course. Dispelling the myth that diversity is only on the left, some eighty countries were represented, including sizable delegations from Africa and Latin America. At the same time, people from all ages were enrolled providing that delicate balance between wisdom and enthusiasm. Acton proves year after year that young people are attracted to free markets and moral values.

We also look into the latest on Greece’s financial problems and how Europe is trying to save its common currency, with analysis of the situation by Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg. As he notes, Europe’s economic troubles run much deeper than just the Greek debt crisis.

You can listen to this week’s podcast via the audio player below: