Art Carden on Christian Ethics, Charity, and Economics
Date: November 12th, 2012
How does a Christian economist approach the religious charge of helping one’s neighbor? We talk with Art Carden, assistant professor of economics at Samford University and a senior research fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, about the relationship between Christian ethics, economic growth, and the best way to help one’s neighbor. The podcast starts out with a dose of good news in these troubling times, and we try to figure out why the past two centuries have been truly unique in human history. Art reveals some of the basic institutions that have arisen to help promote a phenomenal growth in living standards. These institutions include private property rights, honest government, competitive markets and free trade. But economic growth is more than just “getting the institutions right.” Prof. Carden points out that it is also about “getting the rhetoric right.” We delve into this topic by looking at how seemingly well-intentioned policies often have unintended consequences. This discussion is peppered with a number of different examples including laws against price gouging during a disaster, minimum wage laws, donating clothing to earthquake victims, and even holding toy and food drives at church. Prof. Carden then discusses the work he is doing with the Institute of Faith, Work and Economics in trying to help theologians and other Christians gain a better understanding of basic economics, and how this might help them achieve their goals of alleviating the plight of the suffering. He ends on an optimistic note about these efforts with a thankful nod to the internet and podcast series like this one. Recorded: October 29, 2012. (It should be noted that several of the predictions about anti-gouging laws that we made in the run-up to Hurricane Sandy have turned out to be true in its aftermath, including shortages of gasoline and other essential supplies.)
Art Carden’s personal website.
Institute for Faith, Work and Economics.
“Ruining Christmas: An Economist’s Guide,” by Art Carden on Forbes.com.
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Peter Diamandis and Peter Kotler.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, by Matt Ridley.
A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell.
When Helping Hurts: Hww to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.
Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How to Reverse It), by Robert Lupton.
The Cultural and Political Economy of Recovery: Social Learning in a Post-Disaster Environment, by Emily Chamlee-Wright.
Robert Sirico on Markets, Morality, Faith, and Freedom.
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