With high inflation, a recession (or not, depending on how it’s defined), housing costs, the Great Resignation, market troubles, and student loan troubles, the economy may play a significant role in the midterm elections this year. Beyond the short-term patterns of elections, however, economic questions also entail moral, social, and religious concerns.
As you check (or avoid checking) your retirement account, the Public Discourse archives provide some excellent resources to consider the big picture of economic issues. And the good news: these essays don’t cost a thing to access.
Writing in the context of the 2008 financial crisis, Harold James’s essay, “Thinking About Greed,” reminds us of the role of greed and trust in the world’s economies throughout history. We might not be in the situation of 2008, although some predictions prompt some anxiety. Still, as Samuel Gregg noted in 2009, economists should remember they are dealing with complicated, and free, humans, and the predictive power of economics should be balanced with humility.
Of course, we can’t think of the economy without thinking about those in need, and what justice demands. Adam J. MacLeod argues that any worthwhile account of social justice needs to consider human flourishing in its fullness, thus turning our focus to institutions directed by communities and not simply isolated individuals. At the same time, Anthony Esolen warns that work and the ownership of goods produced by work shouldn’t be ignored in service of vague or abstract conceptions of the “community.” A nice pair of essays which complement each other well.
Alongside them, Rachel Sheffield examines “The War of Poverty at Fifty,” suggesting that government action continues to fail at solving poverty because it overlooks the importance of work and marriage, an observation supported by Patrick Fagan in “The Wealth of Nations Depends on the Health of Families.”
Take a break from the economic news, even if just for a few moments, and please enjoy this Featured Collection from our backfiles. Thanks for reading Public Discourse.