Acton Institute Powerblog

‘What Good Markets Are Good For’

As of this month, I have joined the “What Good Markets Are Good For: Towards a Moral Justification of Free Markets” project as a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics. The project is a multi-year, multifaceted endeavor, focusing on the central claim that “societies with free-market economies flourish because and in so far as the key market actors (states, businesses and individuals) respect morality, and act virtuously.” The project is headed by Govert Buijs at the VU University Amsterdam, and includes partner institutions from across the Netherlands.

The project includes a variety of sub-projects, and I’ll be working primarily on the “Human Flourishing” sub-project, and specifically the question, “How do various religions and worldviews define human flourishing in relation to the market and what are their views on virtues, vices, human weakness and responsibility in this regard?” I’ll also be involved to a lesser extent with another aspect of the project focusing on the theological and sociological contexts of Adam Smith’s work.

My involvement in this project will take up a majority of my research time over the next three years, but I will continue as a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute, and will continue to work on the Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series. I will, however, be stepping down as executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality, and my final issue in this role will be the forthcoming Spring 2017 issue. More information about transitions involving JMM will follow soon.

I am excited to work on this major project over the following years, and you can expect a variety of outputs, including scholarly seminars and symposia, articles and edited volumes, as well as occasional essays and lectures. You can follow the progress of the project at the newly launched website, Moral Markets.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.