Sunday, March 31, 2013

Did Christ Rise from the Dead?

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." (1 Corinthians 15:17-19 ESV)

This blog is devoted in large part to introducing people to the nature of economic analysis found in my book Foundations of Economics: A Christian View. In that book I derive economics laws from the premise of human action and I explicitly root the fact of human action in what the Bible reveals to us about the nature of man. The book, therefore presupposes the veracity of the Scriptures as contained in the Old and New Testaments.

The entire focus of the Bible is the redemption of God's people through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today is the day on which Christians around the world traditionally celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord. Belief in the biblical account of the resurrection is a chief characteristic that distinguishes believers in Christ as the living redeemer and Son of God from unbelievers.

Additionally, if Christ did not rise from the dead, as Paul indicates in his first letter to the Corinthians quoted above, we are most miserable. The significance of everything, including what we understand to be economic laws, completely changes.

On this day, therefore, it is appropriate that I direct my readers to a relatively short text by J. Gresham Machen taken from a radio script he delivered in a series of lectures on theology for the intelligent lay person. The series was broadcast on station WIP in early 1935 and was compiled in a book entitled, The Christian Faith in the Modern World. The radio lecture I invite you to read for today is Chapter XVI from that book, "Did Christ Rise from the Dead?" No one should be surprised that Machen strongly answers, "Yes!" Readers interested in a longer treatment of the same topic by the same author are encouraged to consult, "The Resurrection of Christ."

He Is Risen Indeed!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Don't Raise That Minimum Wage

Last month, Paul Krugman wrote in his New York Times column that President Obama's call to raise the minimum wage was a good one. Tomorrow, I will be presenting a lecture hosted by the Case Western Reserve University Young Americans for Liberty and Case College Republicans explaining the nature and consequences of the minimum wage. My view is somewhat different than Krugman's. (It turns out that Krugman himself is somewhat schizophrenic on the minimum wage. His economic view--as expressed in his economics textbook--is somewhat different than Krugman's political view expressed in the New York Times.)

In my lecture entitled "Don't Raise that Minimum Wage" I explain how the minimum wage makes it more costly to higher lower-skilled workers, increases unemployment, and harms the poorest amongst us. My lecture will be tomorrow at 6:30pm in Clark Hall Room 309 on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Grove City College Is the Number One Worst Party School

That's according to Perhaps too many students who are actually here to learn? And yet, "many students love campus life" at GCC. Incidentally, whoever said "There's no fun to be found anywhere" at Grove City College has never taken one of our economics courses.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How Come We're So Rich?

That is the question Gary North sought to answer presenting this year's Lou Church Memorial Lecture on Religion and Economics at the 2013 Austrian Economics Research Conference. He hypothesizes that the cause of the industrial revolution was three fold: a change in ethics that began to see commercial activity in a positive light, an optimistic, post-millennial eschatology, and a Smithian link between self-interest and productively serving other people.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Government Spending vs. Entrepreneurial Investment

Last month, I lectured in the Freedom Readers series for Grove City College's Center for Vision and Values. My lecture was entitled Government Spending Versus Entrepreneurial Investment and was based on an op-ed of mine that was published at last summer. The lecture was promoted with the following text: "Bow ties are cool. Capitalism is cool. Bow ties and capitalism are doubly cool."

My main point was that if we want to promote economic prosperity, entrepreneurial investment is vastly superior to government spending because government bureaucrats have neither the expertise nor the incentive to spend money productively while entrepreneurs do. You can watch the entire lecture along with questions and answers by clicking here. My lecture begin at the 6:34 mark, but to understand my opening remarks, you most likely will want to watch the introductions as well.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Congratulations to This Year's Fox Prize Winners!

As per usual, this year's Austrian Student Scholars Conference hosted by Grove City College proved to be a delight. At each conference three Richard E. Fox Prizes are awarded for the best papers presented at the conference. Congratulations go out to this year's winners:

1st Prize went to Sam Williams of Grove City College for his paper "The Return of the Bank Run: How the Financial Crisis of 2007-08 Was a Next Generation Bank Run."

2nd Prize went to Caleb Fuller of Grove City College for his paper "Rational Expectations and the Business Cycle."

3rd Prize went to John Henry Gendron of Providence College for his paper "An Investigation into Great Britain's Commercial Crisis of 1857 and the Preceding Business Cycle."

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Labor Market Is Still Not So Good

So says Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute. He notes that although the official unemployment rate is at its lowest level in many moons, the employment-to-population ratio has fallen to a level not seen since the mid-1980s.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Fed Benefits the Banks and the Government

So says David Howden. He observes that the Fed's decision to pay interest to commercial banks on their reserves at the Fed amount to a banking system bailout and its commitment to purchases of Treasury Bonds which subsidizes the leviathan state.

Howden's analysis leads him to conclude:
[W]e see the usual outcomes. The banking sector has benefited from its operations (unusually so, thanks to the continued interest on reserve policy) and the government has received a free lunch by having a ready buyer for its ever-increasing debt, especially long-term debt, which might otherwise be susceptible to inflationary pressures increasing its interest yield. Let’s see what surprises the Fed has in store for us in 2013.