Friday Five: Consumption vs. Consumerism, Visions of Community, and More
On Fridays, we bring you the best of our blog and the best of the web. This week's roundup includes advice on Christmas shopping, the benefits of market cooperation, a video on social justice and more.
1. Navigating the Christmas Consumer Conundrum: Elise Amyx prepares us for the Christmas season by distinguishing healthy consumption from unhealthy consumerism.
Navigating the Christmas consumer conundrum need not be difficult this year if we keep in mind the proper place of consumption in our lives. Buy those gifts, bless your friends and family – but remember that consumption, if overblown into the idolatry of consumerism, makes a poor replacement for the King born on Christmas Day.
2. Q&A: Art Carden on Free-Market Cooperation, Immigration, and How Walmart Helps the Poor: Art Carden, Assistant Professor of Economics at Samford University, answers questions for Values & Capitalism on free-market cooperation and more.
The answer is ultimately pretty simple: when people invest scarce time, talent and treasure in new ways to cut the pie, they aren't producing any additional pie. Their time and energy would be better used coming up with new ways to produce output. As Joseph Schumpeter pointed out decades ago, the real winners from economic growth have been the poor.
3. Social Justice and Its Critics: The new Learn Liberty video looks at the moral question behind social justice.
4. Stability and "Creative Destruction" in the Home and Economy: Matthew Lee Anderson questions how stability in our family and community relationships can equip us to more productively engage in economic activity.
As long as every sphere of our lives is shaped by the felt threat of failure, then I suspect we will gravitate toward buttressing whatever social institution can signal the most strength and stability.
5. Community, liberty and freedom: Michael Miller challenges us to choose between the divergent visions of community represented in Rousseau and Tocqueville.
Tocqueville believed that the way to counter the rise of soft despotism was to encourage people to get involved in their communities — and to work with their neighbors to solve problems rather than relying on the state. This requires active local politics, a rich diversity of private associations, and of course, religion.