Category: Money

Wealth in light of the Apple Watch

The announcement this month of the Apple Watch raises a number of perplexing challenges for Christians. A dominant theme of much commentary has had to do with the top-tier Apple Watch Edition, with options ranging from $10,000 to $17,000. These models feature rare crystal screens and precious metal cases. Apple products have never been cheap, but this new level of luxury represents the company’s recognition of…  [more]

The ascetic appeal of tiny living

We Americans love our stuff. No doubt about it. Consumerism is as American as supersize fries. Any excess naturally brings counter movements toward the opposite extreme. One recent response to wanton consumerism is “tiny living,” a philosophy that emphasizes environmental awareness, adventurousness, self-sufficiency, simplicity, fiscal soundness and - its most visible outward sign of the lifestyle - tiny…  [more]

Is buying an experience the way to buy happiness?

It turns out money can make you happy - if you spend it on the right things. Recent consumer research has shown that people feel happier spending their money on experiences rather than on material objects. This intuitively makes sense. If I think back on my most memorable purchases this past summer, they’re all highly relational: holding my wife’s hand in Paris for eight days; attending an Arcade Fire…  [more]

The paradoxical appeal of rude sales clerks

The conventional wisdom is that markets tend to promote mundane virtues like politeness. As businesses compete with one another, any advantage, however slight, can be the difference between a sale and a customer lost. A simple smile or “thank you” can engender goodwill and loyalty and differentiate businesses from one another. As John Mueller observes in his book, Capitalism, Democracy and Ralph’s…  [more]

Wait - now money can buy happiness?

What is the relationship between money and happiness? A recent piece in The Atlantic highlighted research contradicting scholarly consensus holding that after a certain point of material prosperity, there is a corresponding decline or flattening in the increase of happiness. The findings from the Brookings Institute - “Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?” by Betsey…  [more]

Why those on welfare should be allowed to play the lottery

Americans like their freedoms. If the government outlawed the sale of fatty foods, say, or required that everyone put 15% of their paycheck into savings, people would be crying "Nanny state!" almost before the ink on the bill had dried. It's not that people disagree with those goals (we should eat better and save more). Rather, most people resent being told what to do with their money. Things like this ought to…  [more]

Africa for Norway and narratives of pity

When I was in high school, I heard about South Korean churches that sent missionaries to English-speaking parts of the world in an evangelistic effort. I remember being offended and dismayed: who did they think they were, that they could think of the United States as unchurched? How could they possibly know our culture well enough to be missionaries here? We’re not “the needy.” The irony of that…  [more]

Thanksgiving on food stamps

In many ways, Soong-Chan Rah’s story is all-too-common. As a child, his father abandoned his family and his mother worked 18 hours a day to try to make ends meet. Those jobs were low-paying service jobs, so money was tight and their family had to rely on government programs like food stamps and welfare. Soong-Chan himself had avoided his school’s free-lunch program because of the stigma attached, only…  [more]

Why Christians must not forget the Occupy movement

Although the Occupy movement appears to be losing steam, the issue of fiscal inequality is one that is going to fester and, make no mistake, the anger will erupt again. I know Christians of good will who hold strong opinions on both sides of this issue. But is it really an issue over which Christians might agree to disagree? One Christian lady has put a bumper sticker on her car, yet another volley in the…  [more]

Should Christians use Amazon’s Price Check app?

I hate having to be mad at Amazon. I hated having to boycott them for a bit last year. And I hate having to tsk-tsk them now. Because I love Amazon. For so many reasons. Amazon has been nothing if not a true friend to writers and readers alike. For writers, they offer seemingly endless shelf space and open up distribution channels that were unheard of just a few years ago. For readers, they’ve offered…  [more]

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