Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Effective Compassion

Catholic Group Launches Health Care Sharing Ministry

Throughout the history of the church, Christians have been actively involved in the provision and funding of health and medical resources. But for the past 50 years, these functions have been treated as political problems reserved for the state rather than matters to be addressed by the church. Continue Reading...

Church-Going States Give the Most to Charity

How much of their incomes do Americans give to charity? A report by Chronicle of Philanthropy that analyzed taxpayers’ IRS data to find the answer: On average, Americans give about 3 percent of their income to charity each year, according to the report released Monday. Continue Reading...

The ‘War on Poverty’ and the Unique, Unrepeatable Poor Person

Last week the U.S. Census Bureau released its report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013. The agency announced that “in 2013, the poverty rate declined from the previous year for the first time since 2006, while there was no statistically significant change in either the number of people living in poverty or real median household income.” Continue Reading...

Are You an Athlete or a Spectator?

Today at Ethika Politika, I caution against the sort of scapegoating that justifies ideologies at the expense of human effort: Do you support capitalism? Socialism? Distributism? Something else? Wonderful. What does that look like among the mess of market forms that actually constitute the economy you participate in every day? Continue Reading...

Notes on the Question of Inequality

This summer’s issue of The City, which includes an article by myself on Orthodoxy and ordered liberty, opens with a symposium of five articles on “The Question of Inequality.” These include two articles on Pope Francis, two on French economist Thomas Piketty’s recent book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and one on the Bible. Continue Reading...

Happy Money

In his August 24, 2014 syndicated column Scott Burns tells of a study by Dunn and Norton who give five principles for having “Happy Money.” Buy experiences not things: go to Chicago rather than buy a new stuff. Continue Reading...

Which Inequality? Trends Toward Equality in Lifespans and Education

Earlier this month, I wrote a two part article for the Library of Law & Liberty, critiquing the uncritical condemnation of income inequality by world religious leaders. In part 1, I pointed out that “while the Pope, the Patriarch, the Dalai Lama, and others are right about the increase in [global income] inequality, they are wrong to conclude that this causes global poverty—the latter is demonstrably on the decline. Continue Reading...

When the Church Was the Center

This summer I made a visit to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, and on a tour of churches, I heard a fascinating explanation of how society functioned when the church was the place where the poor had their material needs met, not the government. Continue Reading...

Every Market Form in a Single Chart

Reading through the German economist Walter Eucken’s work The Foundation of Economics (1951), I came across one of the most helpful charts for economic analysis I have yet to find. In it, Eucken gives every possible form of market in a single table: Eucken adds four qualifications that are important to keep in mind: “These forms of market are actual forms which have been or are to be found in actual economic life (often blended with one another, and existing alongside the forms of a centrally directed economy). Continue Reading...