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Pillar

Business & Economics

The fifth pillar, business and economics, is built upon concern for the common good and the ways in which the economic order contributes to—or detracts from—human flourishing. Public Discourse examines the ways in which the market is shaped by—and gives shape to—our understanding of the human person, the role of the family, the rule of law, and education and culture.

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To the extent that networking preoccupies us with appearances, it distracts us from real professional excellence. This excellence is the basis for truly enriching professional relationships, and it can serve as an alternative to the spirit of unbridled acquisitiveness that usually drives how we network.
Whatever approach is best for your students at your school, know that you are serving not just the mind but the whole person. To educate the whole person, we must not leave gaps where others may rush in to fill the void. Economics began with the late scholastics and ought to continue today as part of a full classical curriculum. 
Whenever you redistribute income, you never actually redistribute income. You destroy total income completely. Every revolution on planet Earth has been fought in order to change the distribution of income. Not one of those revolutions has ever succeeded in redistributing income, but all of them have succeeded in destroying the entire quality and quantity of total income.
Crucially, Kaplan sees the fragility of American life not just in the low-income neighborhoods of inner-city Philadelphia, but in the isolation of otherwise well-off suburbs. His goal is to resurrect the idea of the neighborhood as a specific place with a distinctive sense of community. It’s a cultural narrative that runs counter to a mentality that prioritizes mobility over stability.
Six panelists share how they structure their lives in a way that allows them to pursue creative, intellectually inspiring work, while remaining open to life and faithful to the good work of the home.
Government may be able to provide material assistance, but it has failed to address the deeper causes of poverty. Worse, it has discouraged the most important defenses against poverty in America—work and marriage.
In the past fifteen years, we’ve published articles on the moral, cultural, religious, and political issues of our time, including the most controversial and sensitive; but we have done so in a manner of which we can be proud, respecting the intellect and personhood of our readers, interlocutors, and intellectual contestants.
In our fallen condition in which we are detached from relationship with God, our mortality is a gift. Scarcity grants meaning to our decisions, provides a merciful conduit for us to know the love of God and one another, and pushes us toward relationships broken by the Fall.
It takes excruciating self-loathing for a person to defecate on public sidewalks, shoot up with poisonous drugs, engage in rampant criminality. The mental illness and dissipation is sometimes so profound that many of these poor people die on the streets. Providing housing vouchers alone simply doesn’t cut it.
Since the first social encyclical, Rerum novarum (1891), the Church consistently has taught that forming unions is a natural human right, an expression of the right of association and a right that governments may not deny.
The deterioration of housing affordability suggests that we must reorient current policies on land use  and focus on more fundamental objectives: people’s need for housing
Modern life in the United States is atomizing, lonely, and hard on family bonds. Improving the housing stock would help alleviate these challenges.
Being pro-family must also mean being pro-housing reform. If we want more neighborhood children playing in our front yards, we should be pushing their elected officials to make it easier for developers to build, baby, build.
Before modern economists claimed a monopoly on the topic of scarcity, philosophers, artists, and theologians spent centuries arguing over the nature and limits of our desires.
If we are worried about wealth inequality because we don’t think the wealthy are using their wealth to help others, then it seems worth asking, who are the wealthy people? Can I, the writer of this essay, and you, the reader of this essay, afford to give $20 more than we are giving to something which will genuinely benefit those less fortunate?
My reading of the current economic and geopolitical situation is that at least in the short term, the United States will control enough pressure points to make life seriously difficult for the Chinese semiconductor industry.
As economies developed, the idea that a commodity has an inherent just price faded away. We now think of the value of a thing as being a price on which a buyer and seller agree. But the legacy of this idea of a just price lingers in the popular imagination. It is an odd lingering notion, however. If asked, few people would be able to explain when a price is just.
Key Founders believed that America’s future was to be a polity in which free and dynamic commerce would play a powerful role in defining society, as opposed to, say, the priorities of aristocratic or feudal societies. The “republic” side of this political economy equation is that this commercial society would operate within the context of institutions and sets of virtues that draw upon classical, religious, and moderate Enlightenment sources.
Aristophanes suggests that, like so many political matters, there are tradeoffs involved in the absolute versus relative wealth debate. There is no obvious, universally desirable solution: different societies will tolerate different levels of inequality and might be willing to sacrifice different levels of absolute wealth. Nonetheless, the warning from Aristophanes’ Poverty is clear: absolute equality means absolute destitution.
Without a leading semiconductor industry of its own, China will not have the military capability to challenge the United States for world military leadership and, for example, be able to “reconquer” Taiwan. Similarly, without the best in-house processors, it is difficult to exploit all the advantages promised by artificial intelligence, including its military applications such as programming advanced drones.
Finance facilitates the collaboration necessary for the functioning of a free market economy, but does it do so in accordance with concepts of justice and fairness?
ESG, the investment ideology that considers environmental, social, and governance issues, is an important part of the story of the rise of woke capitalism. Resisting ESG will require business leaders not just to communicate the good that they do, but also to cultivate the virtue of humility, which clarifies the importance of restraint and the meaning of community.
In The Next American Economy, Samuel Gregg argues that the free market is the answer to what ails our economy. But much of what’s understood as the blessings of free markets and free trade is no less the result of politics and partiality. There are always competing interests involved; a policy that works for families or for workers might not work for entrepreneurs, and vice versa.
In modern societies, wealth is not tied to land or long-lasting material things, nor is it transmitted across generations; it is fluid, shapeshifting, and usually doesn’t extend beyond the horizon of our own lives and personal needs. This series attempts to offer fresh ways of imagining wealth so that it becomes more conducive to cultural vibrancy and helps us flourish.

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