1. Market economy vs. market society
Brian Dijkema comments on Michael Sandel’s piece in The Atlantic, “What Isn’t for Sale?” — which has to do with “the hidden costs of a price-tag society.” Sandel makes good arguments, Dijkema says, but Gideon Strauss made the same arguments seven years ago:
There are many spheres of human life where economic considerations appropriately play a role but do not dictate decision-making. Families, schools and hospitals all have to balance their books—but they don’t exist to balance their books. In each of their cases, love, learning, and care, respectively, trumps the bottom line. One of the great challenges facing us is cultivating a society in which economic markets can flourish, but without overwhelming other spheres of human life.
2. Easterly for president?
The World Bank is looking for a new president, and among others, Jeffrey Sachs is working hard to position himself for the job. When I heard that, I immediately thought of Bill Easterly, Sachs’s arch-nemesis in the field of development economics. I waited for him to speak up. Well, Easterly wrote this passionate op-ed, showing pretty clearly how he’s not the man for this particular job:
I would not lead the World Bank by perpetuating the technocratic illusion that development is something “we” do to “them.” I would not ignore the rights of “them.” If the New York Times should happen to report on the front page that a World Bank-financed project torched the homes and crops of Ugandan farmers, I would not stonewall the investigation for the next 165 days, 4 hours, 37 minutes, and 20 seconds up to now. I am deeply moved by the universal agreement that my decades of experience in development do not qualify me for the job of World Bank president. I would not lead the World Bank by hiring myself.
3. David Brooks on original sin
It’s not every day a New York Times columnist refers to John Calvin, G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis in the same column, but David Brooks does so here in an effort to make sense of the actions of Sgt. Robert Bales, who recently “snapped” and killed 16 Afghan civilians. Our worldview, he says, doesn’t adequately take sin into account:
Any of us would be shocked if someone we knew and admired killed children. But these days it’s especially hard to think through these situations because of the worldview that prevails in our culture. According to this view, most people are naturally good, because nature is good. The monstrosities of the world are caused by the few people (like Hitler or Idi Amin) who are fundamentally warped and evil. This worldview gives us an easy conscience, because we don’t have to contemplate the evil in ourselves. But when somebody who seems mostly good does something completely awful, we’re rendered mute or confused.
4. Latin America’s prison problem
Following the huge prison fire in Honduras last month, the New York Times takes a look at the broader problem of overcrowded prisons and substandard justice systems across Latin America. The story is here and there’s a photo essay accompanying it.
5. Interview with Kuyper translator
The Patheos Book Club has chosen Abraham Kuyper’s recently translated Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science and Art (Christian’s Library Press) as its latest book. I read it earlier this year, and really appreciated it. They have an interesting interview with Nelson D. Kloosterman, the book’s translator. Here, he explains why he thinks translating Kuyper for English readers is important today:
First, educational: to overcome ignorance of a vibrant tradition of integrated Christianity that seems to be slipping into obscurity as another generation of Kuyper-knowers passes on. Second, evangelistic: so that the English-speaking world may benefit from ideas that have empowered believers for several generations in terms of public Christian cultural witness and service. Third, apologetic: so that both the advocacy and criticism of Kuyper’s proposals can be evaluated in terms of the very words of Kuyper himself, rather than in terms of any selective spin to which his ideas may up to this point have been subjected.
Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!
[Photo credit: photo-dictionary.com]