Category: Poverty & Development


Is Religious Freedom Good for Growth? A Panel Discussion

Can religious liberty promote economic growth and long-term development? An expert panel of scholars moderated by Brian Grim discusses various perspectives on this question with the conversation ranging everywhere from the Ottoman Empire to Guatemala, and from Chinese house churches to bourbon. The panel includes noted luminaries Ilan Alon, Timur Kuran, Rachel McCleary, and your fuzzy host Anthony Gill.

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Kyle Roberts on Evangelical Gotham

Gotham. The Big Apple. The City that Never Sleeps.  New York City. We have many images of New York City, but how many of us as thinking of that worldly city having a vibrant evangelical community in the 19th century?  Kyle Roberts, an assistant professor of history at Loyola University (Chicago), takes us on a journey […]

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Samuel Gregg on Pope Francis, Argentina, and Economics

Over his first four years in the Vatican, Pope Francis released two important encyclicals dealing, in part, with economic issues. Dr. Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute talks about the nature of Catholic social encyclicals, and the historical context of Argentina that influenced how Francis views economic issues.

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Maureen Fitzgerald on Irish Nuns and Welfare

Irish immigration during the 1840s and afterwards had an important effect on the cultural, economic, and political history of the United States. Prof. Maureen Fitzgerald (College of William & Marry) discusses how Irish nuns worked with poor immigrants and the effect they had on transforming New York’s welfare system over the course of the 19th and early 20th century. This seldom told story illuminates the important role women religious played in advocating for women, children, and families during a period of rapid change in American society.

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Jamie Aten on Religion and Disasters

Is your congregation prepared to help out the community during a natural disaster? Prof. Jamie Aten of Wheaton College and the Humanitarian Disaster Institute discusses why religious congregations are well-suited to provide relief to individuals beset by large-scale tragedies. We discuss how churches offer both short-term and long-term assistance, and why it is important for congregational leaders to know what their ministry and members do well and build a plan around that. This is a great episode for sociologists to understand the importance of religious organizations in civil society AND a conversation that gives practical advice for those folks in the pews who want to help out.

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Martin Barrett on Sozo Friends & For-Profit Charities

Can a for-profit business that is inspired by one’s religious faith act as an effective charity? While many folks think that most charities need to be “non-profit,” Sozo Friends, created and operated by our guest Martin Barrett, introduces a new model that teams with restaurants, auto dealers, and mortgage companies to use wine, coffee, and chocolate to help a wide variety of faith-based organizations. We discuss Mr. Barrett’s history (including his time in Young Life) and how he used his love of wine and Jesus to help orphans, at-risk youth, and victims of sex trafficking.

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Christopher Hale on Religion & Protest in Mexico

Prof. Christopher Hale (U of Alabama) discusses how religion is connected to political protest in Mexico. Building upon some foundational work in the religious economies school, he explains how institutional decentralization and lay leadership fosters socio-economic activism. He also addresses the role of ideology and religious competition.

Check out our extensive archives of great episodes. There is sure to be something of interest to everyone there!

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Jared Rubin on Religion & Credit Risk in the Ottoman Empire

When it comes to gaining access to cheap financial credit, we normally assume that the economic, political, and cultural elite in society will have a better chance at obtaining favorable loans. However, during the late Ottoman Empire, the wealthy, males, and Muslims were considered to be higher credit risks than the poor, females, and non-Muslims. Prof. Jared Rubin of Chapman University explains why this is, referencing a fascinating historical study he conducted with Prof. Timur Kuran (another frequent guest on our podcast).

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Wafa Hakim Orman on Religion and Economic Crises

Do people respond to economic crises by intensifying their religious practice? Prof. Wafa Hakim Orman (University of Alabama, Huntsville) discusses a set of novel studies she is conducting to see if this is the case. Using the 1980s farm crisis and the 2007-08 housing/financial crises as test cases, Prof. Orman explores if people in the hardest hit areas of these crises attended church more, intensified their prayer, and how this might have an effect on domestic violence. Prof. Orman also provides one of the best and pithiest explanations for why these two economic crises occurred.

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Andrew Johnson on Pentecostals in Prison in Brazil

Life in prison can be quite difficult and violent, especially within the Brazilian penal system. Dr. Andrew Johnson at the Center for Religion & Civil Culture discusses his extremely innovative work on the role of Pentecostalism in Brazilian favelas and prison. His research had him actually living among inmates for several weeks in a Rio de Janeiro prison. We talk about the relationship that Pentecostals have with drug gangs with poor neighborhoods in Brazil and the role that religion plays within the cell block.

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