Category: Economics

Fighting Blight with a Gospel Mentality

Blight is like pornography: it’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it. A new Ohio law intends to prevent not blight, but the appearance of blight, by requiring boarded-up (i.e., abandoned) homes and buildings to wear polycarbonate sheets on their windows instead of the default material: plywood. The state’s thinking goes that nothing says “blight” like a bunch of boarded-up…  [more]

No Room at the Inn? Try Airbnb

I was thinking about G.K. Chesterton’s poem, “The House of Christmas,” this week as I read the news about an ongoing legal battle between the home-sharing company Airbnb and the City of New York. Since 2008, Airbnb’s business model has disrupted the entire hotel industry with the simple idea that people will pay money for the opportunity to stay in someone else’s home rather than in a…  [more]

Soylent and the Cost of Convenience

“Agriculture’s one of the most dangerous and dirty jobs out there… There’s so much walking and manual labor... Surely it should be automated.” This is the candid response that startup entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart gave in a 2014 interview shortly before shipping the first batch of the meal substitute beverage, Soylent, that he and his tech buddies had invented. While reviews on the flavor…  [more]

Meeting people where they’re at (even if it’s McDonald’s)

In many circles, McDonald’s has become shorthand for poor food choices. I regularly see Facebook memes about how the company’s food takes forever to decay, while the 2004 film Super Size Me followed a documentarian who ate McDonalds every meal for a month, to the detriment of his health. Certainly, French fries and soda are not the healthiest foods and contribute to America’s obesity problem. Like…  [more]

Harriet Tubman is worth more than the $20 bill

Harriet Tubman, a woman who once had a $40,000 bounty on her head, will be the new face of the American $20 bill. Tubman was a slave — the property of her white master, who could have had insurance policies taken out on her life to cover the risk of her being killed or running away. She was a woman who was not considered fully human by the United States government under the Three-Fifths Compromise. Tubman was…  [more]

SeaWorld and the humane economy

You can’t think of SeaWorld without picturing the park’s iconic orcas performing tricks before crowds of awestruck spectators. Thus SeaWorld’s announcement that it will phase out the use of these intelligent, beautiful — and deadly — animals is as astonishing as it is welcome to those concerned about the welfare and well-being of both animals and people. The wholesome, harmless (and…  [more]

Why we’re not ready for reparations

The subject of reparations has reemerged after a reporter asked Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders whether or not he would support them if elected. Sanders answered, "No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive.” Sanders’ response irked The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, who…  [more]

Power, community and the rise of ad blocking

Depending on where you stand, the increasing ability of Web users to block advertisements either means the end of the free Internet or a new era of personalized browsing. For those of us who grew up as the Web was just taking off, the possibility of blocking ads represents yet another paradigm shift in the relationship between content providers and users. In the 1990s, browsing the Web included the inevitable fight…  [more]

A Christian call to force the NFL’s hand on concussions

Last week, a group of leading concussion specialists gathered in Pittsburgh to address the crisis facing professional football in America. The National Football League financially backed the event, and for good reason. The nation’s most profitable sport faces a major threat to its survival if the negative publicity surrounding concussions continues. A recent PBS Frontline episode reported a 96% rate of CTE…  [more]

Shopping the gender-neutral toy aisle with Jesus

As I lay snuggled under our gender-neutral down comforter the other night, I pondered Target’s plan to remove gender labels for its toys and bedding alongside a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood blog post expressing dismay over the decision. I wondered where in the Bible it says that boys should have “their” toy guns and plaid bedding clearly identified for them, as that post implies. As my…  [more]

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