What if we asked the right questions about poverty?

In this short and to-the-point blog post, David Rudd looks at ‘income equality’ not from the point of bashing those on the top and complaining about how they should give all their resources to those on the bottom. Rather, he frames the discussion in a way that we probably have not seen enough of. By suggesting three questions and inviting us to dialogue around those questions to hopefully find solutions or at least the beginning of them in the quest to create a fairer world. 1 – How might we enable the poor to improve their lives and earning potential? 2 – How might we protect against those who would gain wealth through fraud, deception or abuse? 3- How might we encourage all people to generously care for those around them? We would LOVE to hear your thoughts on any one of those, or even all three. In fact, perhaps you are even feeling inspired enough to write a whole blog post answering them [if you do this, please won’t you send on the link to us]. How about it? What practical and realistic [or even totally way out crazy-sounding] ideas do you have to help address the reality of Poverty that we see in the world around us?...

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Luxury and Christian Witness

I would argue that living humbly, spending wisely, and being good stewards of our resources are in and of themselves gospel values; though I often stumble, I attempt to put these things in to practice because I believe being a faithful follower of Jesus requires it of me. However, this recent article by David Cloutier at Commonweal also examines the way in which our spending practices are tied up in our practices of witness and evangelism. Cloutier contends that renunciation adds credibility to our Christian witness, and that for too long we have attempted to push aside  simple living  as something reserved for saints and the spiritual elect. If we want to be powerful witnesses, Cloutier contends, than we must live out our Christian calling in all the aspects of our lives – including our economics. While written primarily for a Catholic audience, I believe the point that he is making applies equally to any and all who are concerned with making sure their Christian testimony is a compelling...

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can the rich create the solution?

Stumbled upon this article titled, ‘Richest of the rich ponder how to level the playing field’ and while I am largely skeptical as to whether they are the best ones to come up with a solution for something they have been influential in helping create, it does at least pose an interesting scenario. “The kind of people over there (in Davos), other than the professors, are making a great deal of money more than their predecessors were a generation ago,” University of Maryland economist Peter Morici said in an interview. “This is a growing embarrassment. The differences in income between Wall Street and the rest of America are astronomical.” Whether this ’embarrassment’ is strong and actual enough to cause any change remains to be seen. There doesn’t appear to be a huge rush of people with the money offering to give it up in the interests of addressing the inequalities that exist. And the article itself suggests that the expectations for this forum were not particularly high in terms of end goal solutions: ‘Morici, however, said he doesn’t expect much to come it, at least at the four-day World Economic Forum. “This is the biggest problem of our time,” said. “We need to have more balanced growth across the globe.”‘ So the question to you is, if you were given a...

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The Business of Humans

Oftentimes in the dialogue about faith and economics conventional wisdom depicts the two as adversaries. The common assumption is often that increasing a company’s value is invariably opposed to behaving humanely. However, a recent article by Scott Anthony reminds us that the belief of an irreconcilable divide between human-centered business practices and profitable business practices is often unfounded. At best, focusing on increasing shareholder return works in the short term – but in the long term the quest to maximize profit ignores the customer, and a strong and loyal customer base is the foundation of any business. Anthony uses the example of railroad companies: by coming to think of themselves as railroad companies first and foremost (that is, a company whose primary business is to build railroads for the sake of building railroads), instead of remaining focused on the service they were attempting to provide to their customers, left them unprepared to face “the challenge, and the opportunities, represented by the growing airline industry.” The article by Anthony is short and to the point, and while not a particularly new line of thought, it’s an important reminder that making a business more human ought not to be considered a weakness; rather, it is a reminder that the market was made to serve man, not man to serve the market –...

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New Year’s Moneyvolutions

And so 2014 begins, and with it a lot of people making Resolutions that within three days some have already failed to keep and within two weeks most of the rest will surely follow. Did you come up with any promises, wishes or hopes that will make your life in 2014 look that much better than it did last year? And do you have any special plans to actually stick to them? And if not, do you miss out on the opportunity of a start to something new to bring about much needed change in your life [whatever you choose to call that] – there is still time… Generally, when I have heard peoples’ resolutions of plans for the new year, they tend to be selfish or inward-focused and often have to do with food and/or exercise or else some kind of bad habit someone in hoping to cut down on or eliminate altogether. Seldom are they about money though. Which is why I wanted to put this challenge to you. ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’ Colossians 3.17 would seem to suggest that the money-spending aspect of our life is something that should be done in the...

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