What if we all decided to follow the advice of just about every spiritual tradition, as well as some secular humanist traditions? What if we all agreed to live frugally, acquiring only what we need to live a life of meaning and service to humanity? All hell would break loose. Capitalism would implode. A capitalist… Continue reading Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural
There are so many issues around poverty, but the spiritual issue is largely ignored in our consumption-worshipping culture. We’re all supposed to be medium-poor in our frugality of spirit, as we renounce the excesses of empty affluence. Instead we glut ourselves on all the commodities we can wring out of the market, and we ignore… Continue reading Preference for the Poor
Both Islamic and Christian Scriptures strictly forbid anyone charging interest. Why do Muslims obey devoutly, but Christians disobey flagrantly? Spoiler. Westerners were offered a deal they couldn’t refuse. Scrap that particular prohibition on financial exploitation — and we’ll give you riches beyond your wildest dreams. “Ban, what ban? Gimme the goodies!” I’ll start with Christian… Continue reading Interest: Why Do We Disobey?
Believe it or not, I’m going to trash Bitcoin on spiritual grounds. Is there no limit to my irreverence? Most people know almost nothing about bitcoin and the bewildering array of cryptocurrencies that are swirling around it now. Even for computer nerds like me, it’s a serious struggle to get a handle on it, and… Continue reading Beware of Bitcoin
I’ve written about freedom before, where I began by presenting some ideas from William Cavanaugh’s book Being Consumed, in a post called Economics and Freedom. Then later I threw my own quirky economic ideas into the mix with another post called Fake Freedom. But now I’m tackling a formidable French author, Jacques Ellul, on the… Continue reading Radical Freedom
How does one approach economic freedom from a moral perspective? Obviously it’s not enough to say, “Freedom means I can do anything I want, and nobody can stop me!”. But is it enough just to add the following proviso? “I should not exercise my freedom in a way that prevents others from exercising their own… Continue reading Fake Freedom
You’re not an island, right? But you think you are. Take world poverty. You probably think you’re innocently minding your own business over here — while various nefarious characters over there are the ones robbing the destitute. Nope. They couldn’t do it without you. To get a handle on that, we need to look at… Continue reading You’re Not an Island
It’s pretty unclear nowadays what’s capitalist, what’s socialist, what’s radical and what’s not. Actually it’s easy at the extremes. Pure capitalism (market does everything) pure socialism (government does everything) — they’re both too radical for most people. Except for some fringe libertarians, most reasonable people are seeking some position in between radical capitalism and radical… Continue reading Radical, Really?
Yep. But first … You don’t have to be an Economics student to get the message. It’s natural to want more. You can’t fight human nature. We’re acquisitive animals. It’s in or deepest nature to satisfy ourselves to the fullest extent possible. Economists say we’re insatiable. That doesn’t mean I’ll eat chocolate until I get… Continue reading Abundance, Really?
I refer to that period of history, and that movement called The Enlightenment. It happened around the 18th Century. The Catholic church was at a low point at the time, wielding excessive power with excessive rigidity. The rising Protestant churches were still feeling out their protest ideology. Major thinkers were looking for escape from the… Continue reading Unenlightened and Proud