Economics in Christian Perspective

Note: below are some excerpts from one of my favorite books on Christian Economics.

By Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay

To remain healthy, societies must be vigilant regarding the rights and responsibilities of the three sectors-governments, markets, and private/ voluntary organizations-so that none unduly encroaches on the domain and responsibilities of another. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

On the other hand, some religious leaders insist that governments have stepped in to social gaps because moral values – such as personal and communal responsibility, charity and love – were being eroded by materialism and other secular values. They often argue that the first line of religious offense against social ills is spiritual and moral renewal. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Within and among all economic entities, competition ensures individuals and groups the widest possible opportunities to make choices based upon their own values. However, no market economy magically ensures adequate competition and fairness in all dealings. As a consequence, governments can contribute to the health of an economy, in large part, by establishing fundamental rights and rules that promote both competition and fairness. Thus the protection of private property rights and the enforcement of contracts are essential government tasks. Legislatures, police, courts, and prisons are all involved in defining and defending the rights of persons over themselves and their property. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Relatively poor living standards. In this chapter we not only describe what markets accomplish and how, but also show that they are not primarily vehicles for rampant materialism In fact, they support the highest forms of cultural and spiritual expression. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Whenever community needs are not fully met by markets and existing government programs, Christians should consider how to bridge the gaps whether for basic drugs or child care.  (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

They have done this since the church was founded in Jerusalem and deacons were ordained to look after poor widows. Christians have the calling, the means and the gifts to provide services ranging from education to care for persons with physical and mental limitations. However, Christians do not, by virtue of their faith, have solutions to fill all the gaps. Neither do Christian economists have a special corner on shaping the best systems.  . (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The plain truth is that no nation can achieve material, cultural, and moral greatness unless it offers extensive freedom of choice to workers, consumers, producers, and voters. Freedom is a worthy objective in its self.  (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Markets are good.} The well-known economist and political scientist Charles E. Lindblom (2002) has written an excellent summary of those criticisms and of efforts to test them against facts in real market economies. He points to recent research attempts to track the possible influence of markets on personality and culture. The research finds that “societies [sic] aspirations for a challenging job, friendships, and the pleasures of children and family rank higher than do aspirations for more money or more market products” (p. 199). Despite fears that markets undermine communities and convert human relations in to opportunities for individuals to profit at the expense of others, the research shows that “participants in the market system interact with and enjoy a wider circle of interactions than did their ancestors in pre-market societies” (p. 201).  (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Markets & Faith.} These results confirm our own observations and understanding of markets. They offer more abundance, opportunity, and freedom than any alternative, and they depend for their effectiveness on the widespread practice of certain virtues, like honesty and the willingness to work hard for one’s dreams. By themselves markets do not produce either virtue or depravity. As Christian economists we believe that God, not the market system, is the ultimate source of virtue, meaning, and happiness. For precisely the reason our vision is a good society is one in which democracy and market exchanges are undergirded by organizations and communities of faith (see chap.11 on social and moral capital). (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Markets elicit new ideas, create jobs, solve consumption problems and grow incomes that may be dedicated, in part, to helping others. The inherent freedom, creativity and ability to coordinate collective action-made possible in market economies imbedded in democracy and supported by strong moral/ cultural institutions-are marvels to behold. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

We believe markets are, as Klay and Lunn (2003b) have argued, one way in which God’s providence works to sustain and bless humankind. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Therefore, the labor that will be used to fill the jobs created by a new public-works project must be seen, on both Christian and economic grounds, as a cost in cost-benefit analysis. Workers are precious resources created in the image of God who must be able to consider prayerfully, for themselves, issues of calling, stewardship, leisure and labor. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Value of a life.} Ignore the preferences of any identified individuals who would, with certainty, be affected by proposal since they would be willing to spend all they have on the project. Instead, the responsible cost-benefit analyst will consider only the willingness of individuals to pay for the decreased probability of loss of life made possible by the project. In doing so, the economist (following Rawls) treats all individuals equally in assuming that anyone could be subject to a car accident, Alzheimer’s or clinical depression.  (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Old Testament Leviathan-an insatiable serpent. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

In the spiritual realm too, sunk costs are sunk. Indeed, Jesus calls us to remember that the past is the past. When we choose Christ, we choose to leave behind all the follies we used to put our time, money and energies into. Christ forgives our past-a past that cannot be undone. How freeing it is to be released from the old burdensome activities of the past and come to Christ. It matters not how hard we have worked building up old idols; when we choose today, we wisely choose Christ’s glorious gift of salvation, abandoning all else. Christ forgives the past, and we must forget it and live a new, rich life in him. We cannot pursue every good idea that comes along. Economists are the ultimate party poopers. We have to be. Someone has to remind caring, enthusiastic Christians that we simply cnnot pursue every single good idea that comes along. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

In fact, one of the wonderful paradoxes of the great abundance God provides is this: great abundance necessitates making choices. In all things, whether we are blessed with time, talents, spiritual gifts, financial resources or any other resource, the mere possession of a valuable resource occasions a decision: How then shall I use this gift? (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

How can this be? The answer is a simple one: an economist would want to know what Smogcesspool is producing. Economists weigh the  social costs against the social benefits of any activity. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Things get cheaper over time.} In a famous bet, economist Julian Simon offered to bet $10,000 that the price of any basket of commodities –to be picked by the other party- would drop in price over the course of any time interval longer than one year. Not only was the other party free to pick the mix of commodities in the basket; the other party could also pick the specific time interval. The famous environmentalist who took up the bet, Paul Ehrlich, working with physicists John Harte and John Holdren, selected five commodities: chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten. At the end of the ten-year time horizon selected by Ehrlich, if the inflation-adjusted price of the basket rose—as predicted by many at the time—Ehrlich would receive the $10,000 prize. Ehrlich lost. And he could hardly be expected to have won. Most commodities, even nonrenewable ones, tend to be cheaper over time—not more expensive. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Therefore, even though oil is a nonrenewable fossil fuel, it appears unlikely we will drain every drop from below the earth’s surface. By the time oil becomes so scarce that no one can afford it, no one will want to buy it anyway because we will soon be discovering better, cheaper, cleaner technology that will allow us to abandon oil as an input in many of our world’s economic activities. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: What have we ran out of? Nothing.}

{Note: How clean?} Society must make such a calculation as well. The optimal level of pollution cleanup for a society is not zero. Neither is it 100 percent. The optimal level of pollution cleanup lies at the point where we decide additional cleanup is not worth the time, the trouble and the money. We should clean up our environment until things are “good enough” and then move on to more urgent tasks. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Unfortunately, the nations with the poorest environmental records are also among the world’s poorest economically. For most developing nations the most pressing issues are not environmental ones; instead, they have more urgent concerns, such as high infant mortality, malnutrition, extreme poverty and inadequate access to safe drinking water and medical care. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Poor nations should be permitted to first feed, clothe and sustain themselves before we hold them to a standard of environmental responsibility that we can already afford. Moreover, it would be immoral to use trade as a way to attempt to change their behaviors. Doing so would only worsen the economic plight of the poorest nations and also send a message that the lives and the dignity of our fellow human beings in poor nations are less valuable than the rest of God’s creation. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Inasmuch as per capita GDP is the primary measure of a nation’s economic growth, there is a moral imperative of economic growth for Christians. Economic growth is not some greedy, materialistic aim, although many Christians think so when they consider the often breathless financial reporting on quarter-to-quarter GDP results. Instead, long-term growth is the fundamental driver of sustained material well-being, and is fundamentally linked to job growth and to growth in the incomes of the poor. Using a sample of ninety-two countries, Dollar and Kraay (2002) demonstrate that average incomes among the poorest fifth of a nation’s population rise proportionately with average incomes. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: GDP Misses}

  1. Household production. First, GDP includes no measure of the noncommercial productive activities that each of us performs daily. Every day across the United States we all perform productive activities—for ourselves or others—for which we collect no monetary payment. For example, in our homes we may shovel our own sidewalks, supply the labor in painting our own houses, cut our own lawns, prepare our own meals and rotate our own tires. Although these are productive activities that maintain or improve our quality of life, they are not included in our measure of GDP simply because we are not selling these productive services to anyone else. Similarly, most of us perform volunteer work at some time in our lives. We volunteer in soup kitchens, teach English as a second language and help paint our local churches. Again, because we provide such productive services without receiving payment for them, this form of production is not included in our GDP measure. In the area of household production, then, GDP understates our quality of life. Unless productive activities are sold to another, they are not included in our measure of GDP. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)
  2. GDP does an excellent job of indicating how much income we earn as a nation. However, it tells us nothing about the quality of our lives when we are not working. Any precise measure of our national economic welfare should include information about how much leisure time we have remaining after we have earned our incomes. Further, such a measure should also capture the satisfaction we are able to derive from the time we are not at work. We (Victor and Robin) enjoy going to church, spending time with our families, reading good books, listening to the radio, traveling to both new and familiar places, walking along the shore of Lake Michigan and conversing with our outstanding neighbors and colleagues. We also enjoy Sunday afternoon naps and daydreaming. We love doing all of these things. They enrich our lives. But GDP captures neither the time we have available for leisure nor the satisfaction we derive from that time. As a result, GDP understates our quality of life because it only considers what we do at work. GDP misses both the time we spend in leisure and the satisfaction we are able to derive from it. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)
  3. Political freedom and social justice. There is little doubt that the states that constituted the former Soviet Union have not experienced much economic growth since the Union’s collapse. In fact, Parkin (2005a,p.92) estimates that the average rate of GDP growth in transition economies was negative during 1992-2002. While less efficient in allocating resources than market mechanisms, the centrally planned command-and-control policies of the communists resulted in a provision of goods and services that was not much worse than the availability of goods today in the former Soviet republics. Hence, were we to look exclusively at GDP as a measure of overall well-being, we might be tempted to conclude that life in the newly independent republics is no better than was life in the same republics under Soviet rule. But GDP is not a perfect measure of the quality of life in an economy. In the case of the former Soviet Union, measures like GDP do not capture the reforms of the mid-1980s, such as glasnost (open discussion of political and social issues and freer dissemination of news and information) and perestroika (economic and governmental reform instituted by Mikhail Gorbachev). Not only did such policy reforms improve the quality of life for citizens in the USSR; the reforms also led eventually to the collapse of the Soviet Union, ushering in greater individual liberty than had ever been known in either communist or tsarist Russia. Therefore, because GDP does not capture essential liberties, or related social issues such as racial harmony and religious freedom, it understates the quality of life of a society. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)
  4. Environmental quality. While GDP is a good measure of most of the outputs of nation’s productive activities, GDP does not capture what may be happening environmentally as a consequence of producing the goods and services included in GDP. If productive processes simultaneously reduce environmental quality, then GDP may overstate the level of well-being in a society. Indeed, the parallel modernization and industrialization of a society together have historically led, at least initially, to both higher incomes and higher levels of pollution. No one has expressed this idea more succinctly than world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In the mid-twentieth century, Pittsburg’s civic leaders sought suggestions from Wright about what to do with the polluted steel city. “Wright, who looked down at the river triangle that was more grime than gold, … offered this advice: ‘Abandon it’” (Dvorchak 1999). Thankfully, though, once a society has endured the growing pains of industrialization, environmental improvement soon follows. This happens for two reasons. First, as an economy grows in its research into new technologies and new production processes, it uncovers more efficient methods of production—one that are normally cleaner, safer and more cost effective than their predecessors. For example, nearly all automated car washes now employ sophisticated water-filtering and reclamation systems that recycle the water used to wash one car, so that it may be used to wash the cars that follow. While water reclamation happens to be a very environmentally friendly practice, profit-seeking car wash operators use water reclamation primarily as a way of saving money on a key input: water. Second, the demand by citizens for environmental cleanliness tends to increase along with a nation’s per capita income. When a nation is very poor, its citizens are much more concerned about where tomorrow’s clothing, food, and shelter will come from than they are about caring for the earth. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Incumbent presidents seeking election to a second term will often claim to have created some huge number of new jobs during their first terms; in fact, though, presidents have little to do with the number of jobs created each year. Profit-seeking entrepreneurs create nearly two million new jobs every year—both during recessions and during periods of expansion. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

When inflation is higher than expected, borrowers gain and lenders lose. When inflation is lower than expected, lenders gain and borrowers lose. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Moreover, price instability is particularly harmful to the poor. Levin and Smith (2005) make a thorough case for helping the poor through the pursuit of stable prices. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

In fact, there is a fundamental moral desirability of macroeconomic stability. The welfare of the poor, as well as sustained low unemployment, depend on it, inasmuch as macroeconomic shocks are really expensive for families and communities. Therefore, macroeconomic stabilization policies matter—a lot—and to get them right we need to understand the underlying forces that drive the economy. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

New classical macroeconomics combines the wonderful insight of rational expectations with the amazing abilities of markets to allocate resources to their most highly valued uses. In the new classical view, individuals making economic decisions today incorporate all information available to them in assessing how their decisions today will affect them in the future. For example, in the Keynesian view, individuals are assumed to ignore where the cost of living might be headed when they accept a job offer today. By contrast, the new classical view affords a prospective employee the insight to consider not only what a wage offer of $30 per hour can buy today, but also what that same $30 per hour will buy tomorrow, given his or her rational expectation concerning inflation. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

While this all sounds very exciting and promising, such old Keynesian prescriptions suffer from one serious shortcoming: in the long run, bad things will probably happen. As Keynes and his critics both pointed out, policy actions designed to stimulate employment today will lead to greater inflation tomorrow. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Anticipate. … Therefore, active monetary policy actions will always be neutralized as long as citizens know in advance that the policy change is coming. Robert Lucas (1976) is credited with making this dramatic discovery. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: So it has less effect!! } Christian economists advocate monetary policy that is transparent; that is, the Federal Reserve should do its very best to ensure that no policy change comes as a surprise. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Given the speed at which freely functioning markets direct resources to their most highly valued uses, monetary policymakers should never seek to actively manage the economy. Instead, the most important thing that the Federal Reserve can do to help the economy improve steadily over time is to make sure that we experience as few surprises as possible. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: New Classical Economics} Therefore, the new classical economics improves on the old Keynesian paradigm by combining two powerful ideas: (1) markets work well in directing resources to their most highly valued uses, and (2) individuals use rational expectations about the future in deciding what economic actions to take today. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Therefore, freely functioning markets create the jobs necessary to maintain high levels of employment in an economy; active monetary policy—no matter how noble its makers’ intentions—cannot reliably accomplish it. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Regardless of which model more accurately describes the workings of macroeconomies, the implications are the same: activist monetary policies designed to expand or stabilize the economy cannot work. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Due to the limited ways in which we now believe that economies respond to active economic policy actions, there is no reason to believe that fiscal policy—the taxation and spending policies of the government—can perform any better than monetary policy actions in improving on our attainment of the macroeconomic goals  considered in chapter six. Activist policies designed to expand or stabilize the economy cannot work, whether those policies are fiscal or monetary. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Recognition lag. … Implementation lag. … Reaction lag. … due to its lengthy implementation lag, fiscal policy proves less reliable in pursuing macroeconomic goals than monetary policy. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The only practical way out of poverty includes more globalization, not less. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

People are poor—in Montana or China—as long as they lack valuable skills, capital or other resources. Chinese families do not care much about how their living standard compares with that of Americans, as long as it rises over the years and offers better opportunities for their children. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Why then are multinational corporations often vilified for exploiting Third World countries? Perhaps it is because the critics do not understand the key roles MNCs play in getting Third World products to world markets, supplying inputs to Third World farmers and businesses, and financing Third World production. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Thus the sources of the “gap” between the richest and poorest nations are the surprising growth rates in the former and stagnation in the latter. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Also absent in many poor countries are honest, efficient and responsive governments at all levels. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

  1. First, accidents of geography.
  2. Second, bad government and bad public policies
  3. Third, excessive government regulations

(Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

In his book, Imagine There’s No Country: Poverty, Inequality, and Growth in the Era of Globalization, Indian economist Surjit S. Bhalla provides stunning evidence of shrinking income gaps between First and Third World peoples, along with closing gaps in the literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy, educations achievement and political and civic liberties. Most remarkable is that the greater share of these improvements has occurred during the era of globalization (1980-2000) compared to the preceding two decades 1960-1980 – just the opposite of antiglobalization claims. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The fact is that no foreign aid program has come anywhere near achieving the level of improved living standards earned and enjoyed by people who are increasingly connected to global markets. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: What is that in your hand?}

{Note: Names=professions}

Over centuries the Christian church taught the principle of a “just wage.” (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Despite the devout and painstaking intellectual work of some of the best minds of all time, including Thomas Aquinas, no one has ever given a satisfactory answer regarding what determines a just level for wages. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The U.S. federal government enacted the first minimum wage in 1938, set 25 cents per hour…. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Economists, on the other hand, are almost uniformly opposed to any law that would artificially determine wage rates apart from market forces. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Min wage shouldn’t be lowered during recession, like in 2008.}

Less visible are the losers. They include workers who are let go, communities who lose businesses to other areas without such laws and taxpayers (who must now pay more for services contracted by the city or other government body). The majority of losers, though, are invisible to the public, because they are people who will not be able to get a job or the job of their choice. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The terrible irony of all minimum-wage laws is that they hurt the very people who are most disadvantaged, for example, teens and minority workers (Klay and Lunn 2003a). Those are the people least able to defend themselves against well-meaning legislators who support such laws at their expense. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

But unionized workers benefit indirectly from higher minimum-range rates because the higher rate makes it more expensive for employers to replace one union worker with two minimum wage employees. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

….wage rate changes act as very powerful signals that labor is “needed” more in some sectors and less in others, and that demand for some skills has risen while demand for other skills has fallen. Without such signals it would be extremely difficult, costly and time-consuming for anyone (including government) to acquire enough information to guide workers from one industry or region to another, or students from one career in to another.  (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Market signals matter. But they do not answer all the questions about one’s calling. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

There are some modern writers (like poet Wendell Berry), social activists and theologians who suggest that the best Christian response to the uncomfortable speed and mobility of life today is to shun painful change in favor of returning to “simpler” lives in the village, where everyone knew each other and nobody was without work. (Even the village simpleton provided comic relief on dreary days.) We have already explained why this would mean a radical reduction in living standards everywhere. Furthermore, it is impossible to extract oneself from the intricate web of specialization, interdependence and change that characterize the modern world. Who would buy Berry’s books if communication were by talking drums or Pony Express? Who would have time to write poetry if others did not specialize in producing food for sale? Who would even know about the “world out there,” to critique it (like those theologians who are skeptical about markets) if the only transportation were by foot? (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: no!?} Judging in part by the prophetic witness, many scholars doubt that the Jubilee was ever practiced in Israel. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Measuring Poverty}

1… two common but very different measures of poverty. One measure is an estimate of the market value of a minimum “basket “of goods judged necessary for life in a particular economy. Alternatively 2.(usually I addition to the first method), income data are collected across a population , and those who are in the bottom fifth or tenth of the income spectrum are considered “poor.” (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

 

One fifth of high school graduates earn more than the average college graduate. Education, though important, is not everything when it comes to explaining earnings differences. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Imagination     $}

In a non-hypothetical example, one factor that has affected the relative wages of skilled and unskilled workers (and therefore income inequality) is a return to higher immigration rates into the United States since the mid-1960’s. In addition to their greater numbers, the newer immigrants have lower educational levels, on average, than those who came prior to the 1960’s. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Imagination}

There is no single, right, Christian answer to the question of immigration. I is an issue that deserves widespread, value-clarifying discussion in which attention is paid to both economic and social gaps as well as the costs of any possible remedies.  (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

However, it is not clear to us that income inequality by itself ought to be a special concern for Christians. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

….many Christians believe that income differences reflect free choices people make about education, risk taking, flexible schedules, and leisure. They are simply the result of people exercising their gifts, opportunities, and responsibilities before God in different ways ad to different degrees. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Sweden all make less.}  Sweden is such a country, where the tax and transfer system is much more extensive than that of the United States. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that GDP per capita in Sweden (tied with Belgium for the lowest ratio of CEO compensation to factory worker, at less that 4 times) is only about 68 percent that of the United States (data taken from GNP in purchasing power dollars for 1999). Apparently, the Swedish electorate has opted for less inequality of compensation (and incomes), accepting a somewhat lower standard of living as a necessary price for their social values. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Any employer who might prefer to hire young, white, married men over anyone else has to “pay” for his discriminatory preferences by overlooking potential employees in other categories who are actually more productive. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Discrimination means lower profits for the firm’s owners and this could make the company ripe for takeover by another firm willing to ….. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

With the spread of deregulation in advanced economies over the 1980s and 1990s, we would expect differences between the pay of men and women to have diminished. This is because regulation tends to insulate firms from competition, allowing them to charge higher –than-competitive consumer prices in industries like transportation, utilities and banking. In an iterating study of the banking industry, Black (1999) confirms this expectation by showing that shrinkage of the pay gap between women and men banking began in the mid-1970s, when deregulation shook up the industry. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The charter school movement has many supporters in minority communities due to built in incentives: they must attract students by offering better educations than traditional public schools. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: No Data.}

Social resources {Note: ?}

{Note: No Data.} … groups have achieved “enough” progress. Significantly lower-than-average graduation rates, higher-than-average incarceration rates, higher unemployment rates and lower health sattus provide evidence of persistent disadvantages- some of which are largely unrelated to the character and efforts of individual members of disadvantaged groups. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: ?} As a result, the American tax system is quite flat, with families across the income spectrum paying similar tax rates overall. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

{Note: Church > Gov’t} …. Courage steps toward independence. Furthermore, they can do so while tailoring help to meet the immensely varied needs of poor people. One family may need budgeting assistance, another, help getting in to a training program, another information about care for a disabled father or sick child. When government tries to be all things to all people, programs are often bundled in ways that adversely affect independence, self-respect, and joining churches and other groups to promote mutual care and responsibility. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

Rather than point the finger at markets, those with strong personal and social values are called to exercise individual and collective choices consistent with their values. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

…”private voluntary organizations” or PVOs (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

 

{Note: !} Virtue As A Public Good (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

The problem with the supply of virtue is that human beings are often self-centered and nearsighted. Markets and governments can channel self-interest into socially useful endeavors, but they cannot provide the moral and spiritual basis for a society in which people enjoy deeply satisfying personal lives and strong social relationships. If all education, health services and environmental care were left to for-profit ventures, backed by government rules, enticements and tax money , we would expect too little of these services to be provided. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

No society can thrive without the gift of ourselves. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)

  1. Job creation is rightly viewed as a cost, not a benefit, of any initiative (the labor game, chap.3). People are precious, valuable resources-at least as precious as any other of God’s creatures. And when they are doing one job, there is some other activity they are not doing instead (e.g., staying at home with loved ones , going to school, working in another job). Finding mere busywork for people is not an appropriate use of their creativity, talent or ingenuity. Instead, society should be more concerned with channeling individuals into their most highly prized uses-just like any other valuable resource. (Economics In Christian Perspective, Victor V. Claar & Robin J. Klay)