18 episodes

We believe that the pressing moral, theological, and economic questions of our time warrant deep exploration. This show features interviews with thoughtful scholars working at this intersection. The podcast is produced by the Association of Christian Economists. It is hosted by Steven McMullen, Associate Professor of Economics at Hope College and Editor of the journal Faith & Economics. Find out more at christianeconomists.org. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/faithfuleconomy/support

Faithful Economy Steven McMullen

    • Science
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We believe that the pressing moral, theological, and economic questions of our time warrant deep exploration. This show features interviews with thoughtful scholars working at this intersection. The podcast is produced by the Association of Christian Economists. It is hosted by Steven McMullen, Associate Professor of Economics at Hope College and Editor of the journal Faith & Economics. Find out more at christianeconomists.org. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/faithfuleconomy/support

    Enoch Hill on Jubilee and Economic Justice

    Enoch Hill on Jubilee and Economic Justice

    This episode features another segment from the ACE panel on economic justice from the 2021 ASSA meetings. We start by hearing Enoch Hill’s presentation about the economic justice lessons that can be drawn from the Jubilee prescriptions from the Old Testament. Then I interview Enoch about his presentation and we dig into the arguments he raises. Along the way, we discuss the degree to which the Old Testament laws encouraged redistribution and capital accumulation, and the connection to education in our modern economy.

    Enoch Hill is an associate professor of economics at Wheaton College, where he specializes in macroeconomics. He also serves as the secretary for the Association of Christian Economists, and one of the lead researchers behind the National Covid-19 Church Attendance Project (https://churchattendanceproject.org/).

    Talking about economic justice requires some care and precision, particularly in a politically polarized time in history, and so I think it is important for economists to have conversations in which we bring our best work forward and think about what justice looks like in economic life. Each of the conversations in this series have exemplified the kinds of work that I think is really valuable, and this conversation is no exception.

    Economic Justice and Jubilee by Enoch Hill. Faith & Economics, Spring 2021

    Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy, by Mary Hirschfeld (Harvard University Press, 2018). Those interested can also check out the review symposium on Hirschfeld’s book from the Fall 2019 issue of Faith & Economics.


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    • 1 hr
    Daniel Finn on Four Myths Concerning Taxation and Government Spending

    Daniel Finn on Four Myths Concerning Taxation and Government Spending

    This episode is the second in our series on economic justice, this time featuring Daniel Finn. We start with a recording of Dan’s presentation from our January panel, in which we asked four scholars to respond to the prompt: “What Does a Christian Vision for Economic Justice Require of United States Policy Regarding Taxation and Government Spending?” Dan’s response is also available in print in the Spring 2021 issue of Faith & Economics, and is titled “Four Myths Concerning Taxation and Government Spending.” After his presentation, which lasts about just under 12 minutes, we jump right into a conversation, recorded after, about the arguments that Dan raises.

    Dan is the is a Professor of Theology and a Professor of Economics at St. John’s University in Minnesota. He is a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Society of Christian Ethics, and the Association for Social Economics. He is the author or editor of 12 books and numerous articles most of which operate at the intersection of theology, moral philosophy, and economics. I have been learning from his work for years, and have often used his essays in class, so it is a real pleasure for me to be able to have this conversation with him.

    Our conversation starts out by talking about the nature of individual moral obligation in the economy and then delves into public policy, pragmatic and ideal priorities, and how we should think about the welfare state. Dan stakes out a progressive position but is keen to always hold to both our individual obligations to be virtuous and also our call to create a just society in which people’s basic needs are taken care of.

    “Four Myths Concerning Taxation and Government Spending.” Faith & Economics, Spring 2021

    Daniel Finn’s Page at St. John’s University


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    • 44 min
    John Anderson on Justice in Public Finance

    John Anderson on Justice in Public Finance

    In January 2021 at the ASSA meetings the Association of Christian Economists hosted two academic sessions. One of those was a panel of theologians and economists, all tasked with answering the following question: “What does a Christian Vision for Economic Justice Require of United States Policy Regarding Taxation and Government Spending?” The four participants were John Anderson, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Daniel Finn from St. John’s University, Enoch Hill from Wheaton College, and Christina McRorie from Creighton University.

    Over the course of four episodes, we are sharing each of the presentations from that panel discussion, followed by a longer interview conversation in which we dig into the ideas in their remarks. If you prefer, you can also go and read printed versions of each of the panelists’ contributions, which appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Faith & Economics.

    Today, we lead off with John Anderson. John is the Baird Family Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and the Executive Director of the Central Plains Research Data Center. John is an established leader in the field of public finance, with numerous publications including a textbook on the topic. John has also served on the President’s council of economic advisors in 2005 and 2006, and has advised foreign governments on taxation and government budget issues, as he discusses in our conversation here.

    John has, over the years, turned some of his scholarly attention to thinking about Biblical principles for taxation, spending, and government debt, and since that is the topic of our conversation, you can find links to some of that writing in the notes to this episode.

    What I appreciate about John’s contribution is that he has a flexible and pragmatic approach to these policy questions. He does not think that God ordains specific tax laws or rules for government debt. At the same time, he finds lots of broad guidance in scripture for how we should think about these policies. I suspect I could have pushed him to a point where we found real disagreement on some policy questions, but that would have been a bit of a distraction. His real message is that there are different legitimate priorities that we need to balance and that we need to pay attention to the long-term consequences of our choices.

    What Does the Lord Require? A Christian Perspective on Justice in Public Finance - Faith & Economics, Spring 2021. (http://christianeconomists.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-Spring-Anderson.pdf)

    Government Debt and Deficits - Faith & Economics, Spring/Fall 2013. (http://christianeconomists.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2013-Fall-Anderson.pdf)

    A Biblical and Economic Analysis of Jubilee Property Provisions - Faith & Economics, Fall 2005.

    (http://christianeconomists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2005-Fall-Anderson.pdf)


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    • 56 min
    Ngina Chiteji on the Criminal Justice System

    Ngina Chiteji on the Criminal Justice System

    This episode is an interview of Ngina Chiteji, an associate professor of economics at NYU. She does research on wealth and savings, crime, and inequality. She is on the editorial board of the Review of Black Political Economy, and co-editor of a volume on wealth accumulation in communities of color.

    In it we discuss criminal justice reform and mass incarceration, with special attention to the “invisible punishments” that accompany an encounter with the justice system, including fines, debt, reductions of civil rights, and long-term labor market penalties. Chiteji is particularly interested in the way we think about justice and morality, and so she also gives us a tour of different ways we can think about what justice should look like, to help us do a better job shaping public policy.

    Ngina Chiteji at NYU (https://gallatin.nyu.edu/people/faculty/nc518.html)

    Articles and Reports discussed in this episode:

    Chiteji (2017) Prodigal Sons: Incarceration, Punishment, and Morality. Faith & Economics. (http://christianeconomists.org/2018/02/05/prodigal-sons-incarceration-punishment-and-morality-chiteji/)

    Chiteji (2021) Wealth and Retirement: Pondering the Fate of Formerly Incarcerated Men During the Golden Years. Review of Black Political Economy. (https://journals-sagepub-com.ezproxy.hope.edu/doi/full/10.1177/0034644620964914)

    Becker (1968). Crime and punishment: An economic approach. Journal of Political Economy (https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.hope.edu/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-62853-7_2)

    National Research Council Report (2014) The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. (https://www.nap.edu/catalog/18613/the-growth-of-incarceration-in-the-united-states-exploring-causes)

    Books

    Locked In by John Pfaff (2017)

    A Pound of Flesh by Alexes Harris (2016)

    What Money Can’t Buy by Michael Sandel (2012)

    Anger and Forgiveness by Martha Nussbaum (2016)

    Ending Overcriminalization and Mass Incarceration by Anthony Bradley (2018)

    Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (2015)

    Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene (2014)

    The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt (2012)


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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Rob Tatum on Eschatology and Economic Policy

    Rob Tatum on Eschatology and Economic Policy

    This episode features a conversation with Rob Tatum, an economist that has been doing some interesting writing about theology and economic policy. The paper we discuss in some detail here recently came out in the new Journal of Economics, Theology and Religion. The title of the article is “To What Ends for Theology-Oriented Economic Policymaking.” The article is available for free on the journal website, and I encourage you to check out the article, and the whole inaugural issue of the journal, which is excellent.

    What is great about this paper is that it dives into an important but difficult area of interdisciplinary work. That is, Tatum uses the historical Social Gospel movement to examine how eschatology can influence the kinds of goals we aim for in economic policy. Eschatology has to do with the “end times” but also with the more general direction that history is heading. While theologians often make connections between eschatology and ethics, most of us who are not theologians or bible-scholars get scared off by debates about pre-millenial vs. post-millenial theologies, and leave eschatology alone.

    You might not agree with the overall perspective that Rob brings to the topic, but he wants to take scripture seriously, and he does a nice job thinking about a difficult topic.

    Rob current holds the Cary Caperton Owen Chair in Economics and is Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina Asheville. He has published research on international trade, teaching, economic development, and, as we discuss here, a series of papers on theology and economics.

    Rob Tatum’s University Profile (https://www.unca.edu/person/robert-tatum-ph-d)

    “A Theology of Economic Reform” Faith & Economics, 2017. (http://christianeconomists.org/2017/08/02/a-theology-of-economic-reform-tatum/)

    “To What Ends for Theology-Oriented Economic Policymaking.” (https://j-etr.org/2020/12/14/to-what-ends-for-theology-oriented-economic-policymaking/)


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    • 51 min
    ACE Event: The Promise And Limits of Economics

    ACE Event: The Promise And Limits of Economics

    On January 9th, the American Enterprise Institute’s Initiative on Faith and Public Life hosted their annual retreat for faculty. This year the theme was a question: "What would a truly humane economy look like in the United States?" The retreat was cosponsored with the Association of Christian Economists.

    There were some great conversations over the day, some of which will show up as papers in the forthcoming issue of Faith & Economics. The session shared here had the title: "The Promise and Limits of Economics." The panel consisted of three top interdisciplinary Christian scholars: Mary Hirschfeld, Samuel Gregg, and William Cavanaugh.

    Over the course of this conversation, we talk primarily about the way economists think, and not as much about the content of economics. It is important to be mindful of those blind spots that we have because of our background and training. We are all trained to think in particular categories, and ask a certain set of questions. Talking to theologians and philosophers, as well as studying history, can help us think critically about those things that we, sometimes inappropriately take for granted, and it helps us think more carefully about even the things we are sure about. The same, of course, is also true in reverse: philosophers and theologians have much to gain from conversation with economists. The conversation covers a lot of ground quickly, as you might expect with such a broad topic. These kinds of events serve us best as opportunities to spur thinking, and to start an inquiry, rather than as a final word on a topic. I hope you will find this to be true here.

    American Enterprise Institute’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life (https://faithandpubliclife.com/)


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    • 59 min

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Thoughtful and informative

Steven McMullen is a thoughtful and articulate interviewer. His podcast provides deep, insightful analysis while still being accessible to the layman.

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