• Intergenerational Ethics and Economics

      Ballor, Jordan J. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-11-10)
      Debates about the future direction of national spending have swept through Western governments in recent years. Driven by doubts about the long-term viability of past levels of spending, present levels of budget deficits, and future levels of promised entitlements, governments have been faced with hard choices. In some cases, such as in the United Kingdom, some austerity measures have been imposed, often in the face of opposition from intellectuals and the public at large. Proposed alternatives to austerity typically involve increases in government spending and subsidy, intended to catalyze the private sector and restart the sputtering economic engine.
    • Is Economics a Moral Science?

      Crespo, Ricardo F. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-11-10)
      Economics, to put it bluntly, is a moral science. Of course, this may sound brazen to some, especially to economists who are used to conceiving of their science as value-free. However, in making this claim, due caution must be exercised on several accounts. My concern with the moral basis of economics does not refer to moral conjecture or imperialism but to the epistemological status of economic science. It seems to me that the correct epistemological framework for economics is that of a classical practical science. This is not to imply, however, that economics is reducible to ethics. It only means that economics is not a value-free science. There is general agreement among scholars of the social sciences that the argument for value-neutrality has been settled. Unfortunately, economicsat least the mainstream of modern economicshas not yet resolved this question. My argument, in short, is that economics should be viewed as a practical science classically understood.
    • The Judeo-Christian Foundation of Human Dignity, Personal Liberty, and the Concept of the Person

      Novak, Michael (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-11-10)
      In recognition of the achievement of the medieval monks from 1100-1350, Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992), following Lord Acton, called one of these monks, Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), the First Whig, that is, the founder of the party of liberty in human history.5 Many commentators have also noted that in The Divine Comedy, one of the greatest works of poetry in any language, Alighieri Dante (1265-1321) created both a dramatic rendition of the Thomist vision and a testament to the high importance an entire civilization attached to human liberty. Dante had wholeheartedly accepted the fact that every story in the Bible, Jewish and Christian, gathers its suspense from the free choices that confront every human being. How humans use their liberty determines their destiny; how we use our freedom is the essential human drama. Liberty is the axial point of the universe, the point of its creation. That is the premise of The Divine Comedy and the ground of human dignity.Michael Novak, "The Judeo-Christian Foundation of Human Dignity, Personal Liberty, and the Concept of the Person," Journal of Markets & Morality 1, no. 2 (October 1998): 107-121
    • Caritas in Veritate, Hybrid Firms, and Institutional Arrangements

      Troilo, Michael (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      Pope Benedict XVIs recent encyclical,Caritas in Veritate, calls for businesses to play a role in authentic human development. One of the popes ideas is for firms to pursue both profits and the common good with equal fervor. This article categorizes possible types of such hybrid firms and explores the institutions necessary for promoting them. It suggests that a robust civic space, careful attention to tax policy, and an emphasis in business education on social entrepreneurship would promote the formation and growth of hybrid firms. Further work is necessary to quantify the optimal distribution of profits of these firms among their respective stakeholders.Michael Troilo, "Caritas in Veritate, Hybrid Firms, and Institutional Arrangements," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 23-34
    • Contemporary Research in Religion, Politics, and Economics

      Mitchell, Craig Vincent (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      In this article, we will investigate the relationship between economics and Christian ethics in three different ways. The first part will explore three new fields in economics. More specifically, part 1 explains the significance of religion and the economics of religion. Further, it will relate the economics of religion to economics as a whole. The next section of part 1 will involve a survey of the new field of the economics of happiness. Finally, the last section of part 1 will review religious, economic, and political liberty from the standpoint of New Institutional Economics. Part 2 of this article will explore the empirical work that has been done to explore these relationships. The last part of this paper will draw some conclusions about how economic, political, and religious liberties are related.
    • Vocation: The Theology of the Christian Life

      Veith, Gene Edward (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      The Reformation contributed three major teachings that would characterize Protestantism in all of its diversity: (1) justification by faith, (2) the authority of Scripture, and (3) the doctrine of vocation. The first two still have currency, despite recent criticisms. However, the concept of vocation has been gradually lost. First, it was turned into a work ethic; then it turned into a pious attitude empty of specific content; then it was reduced to just another synonym for a job.
    • A Creature among Creatures or Lord of Creation?

      Phillips, Benjamin B. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      The apologetic context of the doctrine of creation in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century is the supposed ecological crisis of modern civilization. Lynn White Jr. articulated the classic critique of Christianity as the driving force behind the modern ecological crisis, saying that Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt. White linked the rise of ecologically destructive science and technology to the values of Christianity.
    • Review Essay: A Liberal Welfare Conservative Boldly Explains Why Nineteenth-Century Popes Are Relevant to Twenty-First-Century Welfare Reform

      Wagner, David M. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      At a time when some public policy entrepreneurs consider no labels to be the most sophisticated and admirable of labels, it is refreshing to see a writer who is willing to accept a label in the ideological bridge-building genreI am sure Lew Daly would accept that description of this useful new bookGods Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State. Lew Daly is, he says, a welfare conservative.David M. Wagner, "Review Essay: A Liberal 'Welfare Conservative' Boldly Explains Why Nineteenth-Century Popes Are Relevant to Twenty-First-Century Welfare Reform," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 103-111
    • A Theology of Incorporation with Limited Liability

      Copp, Stephen F. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      Those involved in business have long sought to limit their liability, either in specific contracts or, generally, for the risks they face. The widespread availability of general limited liability for corporations across the world since the early nineteenth century is thought to have contributed to the enormous economic growth over that period. The limited liability company is, however, often blamed for the adverse consequences of this growth, not least in Christian theology where limited liability is thought by some to be contrary to biblical principles. This article seeks to demonstrate that the limited liability company is not only consistent with biblical theology in encouraging prosperity and freedom under limited government, specialization with interdependence in business relationships, and broader human flourishing but also reflects the character of God in reconciling ideas of law and grace.Stephen F. Copp, "A Theology of Incorporation with Limited Liability," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 35-57
    • Labor Economics and the Development of Papal Social Encyclicals

      Barrows, Stephen P. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      Catholic social teaching has been the subject of debate among Catholics and non-Catholics alike for over a century. Some laissez-faire-oriented economists find that ideas found in the papal social encyclicals are at times in tension with economic laws. This article analyzes the development of economic understanding in the social encyclicals as it pertains to labor concerns. Specifically, it seeks to demonstrate that the encyclicals shift from a one-sided emphasis on employers responsibilities in providing just economic outcomes (supply side) to a greater emphasis on the role of consumers (demand side) in more recent encyclicals. This development in economic understanding has helped to relieve some of the friction between the encyclicals and economic law. Indeed, future encyclicals could further mitigate tensions by explicitly acknowledging how both supply and demand factors must be taken into account if socioeconomic goals are to be achieved.Stephen P. Barrows, "Labor Economics and the Development of Papal Social Encyclicals," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 7-22
    • Social Choice: The Neighborhood Effect

      Strow, Brian K.; Strow, Claudia W. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      Politicians typically motivate public policy changes by suggesting that social welfare improves as a result of the policy. While much debate surrounds the best delineation for a social welfare function, few have considered what the appropriate definition is for society. Bentham, Rawls, Sen, and others have proposed different ways to measure social welfare, and these constructs all hold one thing in common: They all pivot on the definition used for society. This article examines the ramifications of inaccurately or artificially defining society and argues that changes in the definition of society result in dramatically different or even opposing economic policy prescriptions.Brian K. Strow and Claudia W. Strow, "Social Choice: The Neighborhood Effect," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 59-70
    • In Praise of Industry: Early Nineteenth-Century Concepts of Work

      Yeats, John M. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      Benjamin Franklin's various addresses inPoor Richards Almanack, published from 17321758, urged the nascent American nation to seek success through industry. For Franklin and many others of the early Industrial Revolution in both the colonies and Britain proper, the advances in technology meant a new outlook for success. The creative, the tinkerers, the doers of this new age held the keys of the future, and their work became theprima exemplar of the spirit of the age. Yet, for all the successes of the few who launched their futures in this period, there were many who were unable to break free from the proverbial Weberian Iron Cage. Extreme poverty crippled not only large portions of Britain in urban centers such as London but also in more rural environments such as Cheddar, a city to which we will later turn.
    • Introduction

      Staff, JMM (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      Christians today urgently need to revive their commitment to whole-life discipleship. Millions of churchgoers are Christians for a few hours every week. Christianity is something they practice on Sunday morning rather than a way of life. The withering of discipleship is one of the gravest threats facing the church today. The largest portion of lifework in the home and in jobsis excluded from the concepts of discipleship and stewardship. Most churches and seminaries have nothing spiritually powerful to offer for the activities that define most peoples daily lives during the other six days of the week. This leaves the church in particular preaching a faith that is not relevant to the totality of peoples lives.
    • The Political Economy of Economic Education: The Moral Dimensions

      Lee, Dwight R.; Schug, Mark C. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      When economics is taught, the moral dimensions of markets are commonly ignored. The result is that superficial, misleading, and highly emotional views on the morality of markets are given free rein. Furthermore, these views are reinforced by politicians and others to create a widespread moral bias against market incentives and in favor of government programs as the most moral approach to addressing economic problems. We consider the challenge this presents to effective economic education and the importance of considering the morality of markets and comparing it in a realistic and evenhanded way with the morality of the political process.Dwight R. Lee and Mark C. Schug, "The Political Economy of Economic Education: The Moral Dimensions," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 71-84
    • James M. Buchanan on the Ethics of Public Debt and Default

      Alvey, James E. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-01)
      When James M. Buchanan began work in the 1940s, he enthusiastically adopted the prevailing positivistic methodology. Over the next forty years, his attachment to positivism weakened and, in his work on public debt, Buchanan gradually added an ethical dimension. His work on ethical aspects of debt was extended to consideration of public default. These issues have gained prominence again with the rise of public deficits since 2008 in various countries. It is likely that public debt in various countries (including the United States) will become unsustainable and that (open or concealed) default will follow. The morality of default, however, has not been openly debated. The current crisis must awaken a public debate on the ethics of public deficits and the need for legal limitations on public deficits and debt. Buchanans analysis of the ethics of public deficits, public debt, and public default should play a part in that debate.James E. Alvey, "James M. Buchanan on the Ethics of Public Debt and Default," Journal of Markets & Morality 14, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 85-101
    • Calling in the Theology of Work

      Theology of Work Project, TWP (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-05)
      God does lead people to particular jobs, professions, and types of work. However, in the Bible, the concept of calling goes deeper than anyone aspect of life, such as work. God calls people to become united with himself inevery aspect of life. This can only occur as a response to Christs call to follow him. The calling to follow Christ lies at the root of every other calling. It is important, however, not to confuse a calling to follow Christ with a calling to become a professional church worker. People in every walk of life are called to follow Christ with equal depth and commitment.
    • Review of "Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limit of Markets" by Debra Satz

      Fletcher, Christine M. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-05)
      Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limit of Markets Debra Satz New York: Oxford University Press, 2010 (252 pages)
    • Selection from On the Observation of the Mosaic Polity

      Junius, Franciscus (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-05)
      Of all the disciplines, O illustrious classes, which are commonly called practical, that is active, the nature of this sort is that indeed their knowledge and science should always remain an act truly occupied on certain occasions and in a proper time. The mind constantly retains their reasoning; the work is accomplished by the body alternatively acting and resting. If moreover there is such a practical discipline among human affairs, which should maintain a kingdom in all things by its own certain right, surely this is what we call a political [discipline]. This is the teacher of the just and honorable; this the guardian of order; this the judge of the public and private rights of the common good; in this, Polyaenus says, are all things; in this all sound things are preserved; finally if this perishes, there is nothing in public and private affairs that does not die and become corrupted.
    • Review of "Ministers of the Law: A Natural-Law Theory of Legal Authority" by Jean Porter

      Walker, Gregory (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-05)
      Ministers of the Law: A Natural-Law Theory of Legal Authority Jean Porter Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Cambridge, United Kingdom: Eerdmans (368 pages)
    • Review of "Why Business Matters to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed)" by Jeff Van Duzer

      Rae, Scott B. (Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, 2011-12-05)
      Why Business Matters to God (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed) Jeff Van Duzer Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2010 (201 pages)