Poverty/Income Inequality

Patristic Christian Views on Poverty and Hunger

[1] The poor are “living images of God,” wrote Martin Luther in 1522, an opinion shared by Ulrich Zwingli, who argued that God “turned all visible cults from himself to the poor.”1 Both reformers knew Johannes Oecolampadius (a co-signatory at Marburg in 1529), whose treatises on poor relief began with his 1519 translation of Gregory […]

Mark’s Gospel, Social Outcasts, and Modern Slavery

[1] Poverty entraps people by ensnaring and entangling them in intricate and inescapable webs of slavery. I use “slavery” not as a metaphor, but as an apt description of what life is like for between twelve and twenty-seven million people today.1 That there are more slaves today than at any other time in history should […]

Who Gets to Eat? Consumption, Complicity, and Poverty

[1] Two of my favorite theologians set the terms of this essay. One, Kathryn Tanner, asserts as her theological base that God gives unconditionally; God gives to all; and that God wills a community of mutual benefit.1 The other, Craig Nessan of Wartburg Seminary, writes that hunger in a world of abundance is a scandal […]

The Virtues of Hunger in Classical Islamic Thought and Its Relevance for a Culture of Satiety

[1] Rigorous self-discipline is somewhat alien to contemporary American religiosity. Perhaps on account of cultural affinities, or an unspoken assumption that the soul is not affected by the body and its experiences, the very obvious benefits of diligent practice do not seem so obvious to us. I have often witnessed this aversion to rigor as […]

Immoral People, Broken Markets, Christian Freedom

[1] It might take the worst financial crisis in eighty years, but it seems that the message is finally sinking in: markets are not moral. However, it is unfortunate that such a realization is needed at all. Characterization of the “the market’s” actions or changing moods may just be just figures of speech, but this […]

Trying to Understand the 2008-2009 Recession: Part 1, Perspective and Causes

[1] The unemployment rate—the fraction of adults currently working for pay among those who are either working or actively looking for a job the nation’s labor force that is unable to find work—was officially measured at 7.6 percent in January of 2009 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the federal agency tasked with measuring […]

Trying to Understand the 2008-2009 Recession: Part 2, Remedies

In a companion article, I examined how the current recession compares with previous U.S. recessions, and explored the reasons why the economy is in its current state. In this article, I describe and explain the various remedies by which the federal government is attempting to slow the economy’s downturn. What is being done to turn […]

Reflections on the Economic Downturn

[1] I have ambivalent thoughts about the current efforts to address the economic recession in the United States, and, by extension, the world, since it is abundantly clear that economic contractions in the United States dramatically affect the rest of the world. On the one hand, I certainly would like to see my pension accumulations […]

The Economics Underlying the Ethics of Fiscal Stimuli

[1] The bursting housing bubble and subsequent recession has renewed interest in macroeconomic stabilization policy among economists and non-economists alike. With politicians feeling pressure from constituents, government action appears to be inevitable. Daily newscasts bring word of new policies aimed at curing the nation’s economic woes. The most popular proposals involve boosting aggregate demand through […]

A New Deal for the Global Economy

A New Deal for the Global Economy The Current Crisis “Money is a singular thing. It ranks with love as man’s (sic) greatest source of joy. And it ranks with death as his greatest source of anxiety.”[1] [1] The current global crisis began as a crisis about money but quickly became a pandemic global economic […]