Acton Institute Powerblog

Promoting free societies characterized by liberty & religious principles

Why Has the Economic Recovery Bypassed Young People?

In his latest column, Tyler Cowen points out that whatever economic recovery we’ve experienced has “largely bypassed young people,” arguing that such a development is bound to have an impact for years to come: For Americans aged 16 to 24 who aren’t enrolled in school, the employment picture is grim. Continue Reading...

Maximizing Labor, Minimizing Wages

For this week’s Acton Commentary, ahead of Labor Day weekend, I write about “working harder and smarter,” lessons we can learn from Ashton Kutcher and Mike Rowe. One of the implications of connecting hard work with smart work is that the difficulty of work on its own does not determine its value in the marketplace. Continue Reading...

5 TV Shows That Demonstrate the Importance of Ordinary Work

Television is often lamented for its propensity to exaggerate the mundane and the ordinary. Yet when it comes to something as routinely downplayed and unfairly pooh-poohed as our daily work—the “rat race,” the “grindstone,” yadda-yadda—I wonder if television’s over-the-top tendencies might be just what we need to reorient our thinking about the broader significance of our work. Continue Reading...

The Year in Commentary: Jordan J. Ballor

Every Wednesday we publish the Acton Commentary, a weekly article that covers topics related to Acton’s mission. As 2012 comes to a close I thought it would be worth highlighting the superb commentaries that have been produced by Acton Institute staffers over the past year. Continue Reading...

Leaves and Fruit: The Spiritual Value of Manual Labor

In his Acton Commentary today, Jordan Ballor writes, All work has a spiritual dimension because the human person who works in whatever capacity does so as an image-bearer of God. “While the classic Greek mind tended to scorn work with the hands,” write Berghoef and DeKoster, “the Bible suggests that something about it structures the soul.” Continue Reading...

Of Ministers and Muck Farmers

In today’s Acton Commentary, “Mike Rowe and Manual Labor,” I examine the real contribution from a star of the small screen to today’s political conversation. Mike Rowe, featured on shows like The Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs, has written letters to both President Obama and Mitt Romney focusing attention on the skills gap and our nation’s dysfunctional attitudes towards work, particularly hard labor, like skilled trades and services. Continue Reading...

Make Work Your Favorite

Very often it is difficult to see in any concrete way how our work really means anything at all. The drudgery of the daily routine can be numbing, sometimes literally depending on your working conditions. Continue Reading...