6 ways to combat consumerism

The Gospel reading on Sunday was the story of Lazarus and the rich man. I often refer to this parable in discussions about poverty, because Augustine points out that it was not wealth that sent the rich man to hell, but his indifference. Continue Reading...

Wilfred McClay on friendship new and old

What is friendship? What does it mean to be or to have a friend? And why does Aristotle consider friendship a virtue and an important for political life? Wilfred McClay has a nice essay on friendship at the Hedgehog Review, where he reflects on the title of the song “My New, Old Friend.” McClay writes that he initially did not like the idea of a “new old friend,” first because true friendship is rare and takes time to develop, and second because of the increasingly diluted meaning of the word friend. Continue Reading...

Charles Dickens, poverty, and emotional arguments

Why is it that the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century is so often our go-to mental paradigm for poverty? CapX’s John Ashmore, for instance, recently wrote of those who “feel an argument about poverty is incomplete without claiming we’ve somehow gone back to the 19th century.” Were there no poor people before that? Continue Reading...

Robert Nisbet on Tradition and Revolt

It is a common theme in fairy tales and other stories that the loser of the struggle will tell the victor that their victory will come with a cost. We see a similar theme in the Bible with the prophets–perhaps most famously when Israel finally gets the king they wanted so they could be like the other nations.  Continue Reading...

Three fallacies behind population control

One of the constant refrains in economic development—and now environment issues—is the topic of population control.   Evidence notwithstanding, the claim that population causes poverty and that the planet is facing a population explosion is taught as settled science—even in the face of serious population decline in some countries. Continue Reading...

Ignoring the invisible

I have been thinking a lot about all of the invisible things around us, important foundational things that we take for granted.  Because they don’t immediately manifest themselves to our attention we can forget about them if we are not careful. Continue Reading...

PowerBlog Redux: How the Byzantines saved Europe

A really interesting chat about the Roman Empire on this week’s podcast with Samuel Gregg and Larry Reed (register for Reed’s talk today here). Gregg helped expand the scope of the discussion by noting that the Roman Empire actually lasted for more than 1,000 years — in the East. Continue Reading...