The Case for Privatizing Social Security Just Got Stronger

A new OECD report highlights some of the economic benefits of private retirement systems.


The world is in the middle of a dramatic demographic transition caused by increasing lifespans and falling birthrates.

One consequence of this change is that traditional tax-and-transfer, pay-as-you-go retirement schemes (such as Social Security in the United States) are basically bankrupt.

The problem is so acute that even the normally statist bureaucrats at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are expressing considerable sympathy for reforms that would allow much greater reliance on private savings (shifting to what is known as “funded” systems).

Countries should introduce funded arrangements gradually… Policymakers should carefully assess the transition as it may put an additional, short-term, strain on public finances… Tax rules should be straightforward, stable and consistent across all retirement savings plans. …Countries with an “EET” tax regime should maintain the deferred taxation structure… Funded, private pensions may be expected to support broader economic growth and accelerate the development of local capital markets by creating a pool of pension savings that must be invested. The role of funded, private pensions in economic development is likely to become more important still as countries place a higher priority on the objective of labour force participation. Funded pensions increase the incentive to work and save and by encouraging older workers to stay in the labour market they can help to address concerns about the sustainability and adequacy of public PAYG pensions in the face of demographic changes.

Here’s a chart from the OECD report. It shows that many developed nations already have fully or partly privatized systems.

By the way, I corrected a glaring mistake. The OECD chart shows Australia as blue. I changed it to white since they have a fully private Social Security system Down Under.

The report highlights some of the secondary economic benefits of private systems.

Funded pensions offer a number of advantages compared to PAYG pensions. They provide stronger incentives to participate in the labor market and to save for retirement. They create a pool of savings that can be put to productive use in the broader economy. Increasing national savings or reallocating savings to longer-term investment supports the development of financial markets. …More domestic savings reduces dependency on foreign savings to finance necessary investment. Higher investment may lead to higher productive capacity, increasing GDP, wages and employment, higher tax revenues and lower deficits.

Here’s the chart showing that countries with private retirement systems are among the world leaders in pension assets.

The report highlights some of the specific nations and how they benefited.

Over the long term, transition costs may be at least partially offset by additional positive economic effects associated with introducing private pensions rather than relying solely on public provision. …poverty rates have declined in Australia, the Netherlands and Switzerland since mandatory funded pensions were introduced. The initial transformation of Poland’s public PAYG system into a multi-pillar DC approach helped to encourage Warsaw’s development as a financial centre. …the introduction of funded DC pensions in Chile encouraged the growth of financial markets and provided a source of domestic financing.

For those seeking additional information on national reforms, I’ve written about the following jurisdictions.

At some point, I also need to write about the Singaporean system, which is one of the reasons that nation is so successful.

P.S. Needless to say, it would be nice if the United States was added to this list at some point. Though I won’t be holding my breath for any progress while Trump is in the White House.

This International Liberty article was republished with permission.

COLUMN BY

Muslim workers at Amazon demand longer prayer times, less work

Amazon has banned Jihad Watch from Amazon Smile and Amazon Associates, but its aid to jihadis has not led to its being accorded any breaks by its Muslim workers.

“Amazon says it has offered accommodations such as providing prayer mats for workers, converting a conference room into prayer space during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and approving shift transfers for fasting workers.”

But it isn’t enough.

“The workers, many of whom are practicing Muslims, say the required productivity rate is too high, the company is unconcerned about worker injuries and that the conditions don’t allow practicing Muslims to pray as they otherwise would.”

The idea is to reinforce the principle, already established in other cases, that Muslims must always have special privileges and accommodations that others do not have. This is true now at Amazon unless non-Muslim workers get time off work equal to the prayer breaks that Muslims are given. Islamic law denies non-Muslims basic rights; only Muslims enjoy full rights in an Islamic society. To establish a similar situation in the U.S. is the ultimate goal here.

“Somali-American Amazon workers demand better conditions,” by Kerem Yucel and Nova Safo, AFP, December 15, 2018 (thanks to Mark):

A group of Amazon workers in Minnesota who are Somali refugees resettled in the Midwestern US state demanded better working conditions Friday during a protest outside one of the retailer’s warehouses.

Hundreds braved frigid temperatures to demonstrate outside of the Amazon warehouse in the Minneapolis suburb of Shakopee—home to a sizable Somali immigrant population from which Amazon has heavily recruited….

“We don’t have rights in the company,” worker Abdulkadir Ahmad, 30, told AFP.

The workers, many of whom are practicing Muslims, say the required productivity rate is too high, the company is unconcerned about worker injuries and that the conditions don’t allow practicing Muslims to pray as they otherwise would.

“We do not have enough time to pray. There is a lot of pressure. They say your rate is too low,” Ahmad said.

The workers timed their protest during the busy holiday shopping season, hoping to force the online retailer to make changes.

Amazon’s accommodations

They already have had some success. Amazon says it has offered accommodations such as providing prayer mats for workers, converting a conference room into prayer space during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and approving shift transfers for fasting workers.

“Additionally, we’ve continued to hire and develop East African employees. We’re a leader in this space and we feel really good about our record here,” Amazon spokeswoman Shevaun Brown told AFP via email….

But workers say Amazon’s efforts so far have fallen short.

“We are appreciative they’ve sat down and talked with us, but we are not seeing real action,” activist Abdi Muse said.

Muse is the executive director of the Awood Center, a union-backed non-profit that organized the protest and helps East African workers in the state….

“When workers leave Amazon, they still live with the back pain, chronic illness, and hurt and harm caused during their employment,” said Ahmed Anshur, the imam at the Al-Ihsan Islamic Center in the nearby state capital of Saint Paul.

Protesters said they want the multibillion-dollar company to give back to the struggling community that has been a major source of its workforce in the Minneapolis area by giving money to a community fund to help struggling immigrant families.

“It’s not a handout or a donation,” said Mohamed Omar, imam at another Minneapolis suburban mosque….

Of course not. Why, who would think such a thing?\

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared on Jihad Watch. It is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash.

The Elderly & The World Wide Web (Infographic)

By Dr. Nikola Djordjev


While seniors don’t have the same level of Internet adoption as millennials, recent studies have shown that elderly people are now more connected than ever.

As a matter of fact, more than 70% of Internet users aged 65+ now use the World Wide Web on a daily basis. Furthermore, Baby Boomers – people born between 1946 and 1964 – nowadays spend roughly 27 hours online every week.

Some senior groups that are highly educated – especially the younger ones – report owning and using multiple Internet-capable devices. Interestingly enough, a vast majority of seniors, around 75% of them, use the Internet to communicate with friends and family members.

At MedAlertHelp.org, we’ve created the infographic below that will help you understand the seniors’ relationship with digital technology, more specifically – their relationship with the Internet.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with infographic is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Marisa Howenstine on Unsplash.

For Big Tobacco and Brewers, Grass is Greener

Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol are investing in pot to make Big Marijuana, the New York Times reports this morning.

  • Altria, the tobacco company that makes Marlboro and other cigarettes, paid $1.8 billion last week to buy nearly half of Cronos Group, a Canadian marijuana company.
  • Constellation Brands, the company that makes Corona and other beers, paid $4 billion last August for a major stake in another Canadian pot company called Canopy Growth.
  • And Molson Coors Canada, the Canadian branch of Molson Coors, bought a controlling interest in a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a third Canadian pot company.

All three Canadian marijuana companies got their start producing the drug for medical use and are licensed by Health Canada. Canada’s full legalization of marijuana in October opened the door to the recreational market. US companies want an early entry into a market they believe will open soon in the US.

This morning’s print edition of today’s Times has a different title for this story: “This is the Dawning of the Age of Pot, Inc” the headline claims. Apparently, the Age of Aquarius (“Let the Sun Shine In”) has suffered a premature death. Big Tobacco lied to Americans for nearly a century, claiming nicotine is not addictive and smoking is harmless. Even before it became Big, the marijuana industry began following Big Tobacco’s playbook with the same mantra: Is pot addictive? “No.” “Harmless? Yes. It’s even a medicine.”

Sound familiar?

“The arrival of large multinational corporations portends sweeping changes for an industry that until recently operated in the shadows. As billions of dollars pour into product development, marketing and manufacturing, these companies will be looking to create big brands with the market share to match,” notes the Times.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola representatives acknowledged their company was looking closely at the CBD industry. For a few days, Target sold CBD products online but abruptly ended the practice. Diageo, a spirits company, was rumored to be close to joining forces with an unnamed  Canadian pot company last summer, but no announcement has been made yet. And Walmart Canada is looking into the industry but currently has no plans to start selling products containing CBD or THC.

Some CEOs like Coca-Cola’s James Quincey are holding back. “It needs to be legal, it needs to be safe, and it needs to be consumable,” he said on CNBC this week. “It’s not there yet.”

Nonetheless, industry spokesmen say as more big companies get involved with marijuana, they’ll likely pressure Congress to legalize the drug in the U.S. nationwide, like Canada.

So, watch out. Those Green Marlboro packs containing pre-rolled joints seen in counterculture publications may not be hippie hallucinations after all.

Read the New York Times article here.


Here’s what happens when marijuana is commercialized

This graph, from a 2018 report by the Colorado Department of Public Safety (state law mandates a comprehensive report every two years), presents the clearest picture yet of what happens when a state commercializes marijuana.

Colorado legalized the drug for medical use in 2000. Patients who obtained a medical marijuana card from the state could access the drug by selecting a caregiver to grow it for them, and caregivers could grow enough marijuana for six patients. The number of patients who obtained cards grew from 94 in 2001 to 4,819 in 2008.

Effective 2009, the Colorado legislature established a system to license people to grow, manufacture, and sell marijuana for medical use. A license meant the holder could start investing in and making profits on these activities. In other words, Colorado created one of the first commercial marijuana businesses in the nation.

In 2008, there were no licensed medical marijuana growers, product manufacturers, or dispensaries in Colorado. By the end of 2012,* there were approximately 1,150 licensed facilities, and the number of patients who obtained medical marijuana cards jumped from 4,819 to 108,526 in four years.

Read more about this on page 157 here.

*Colorado archives licensee data, but they only go back to 2013. These data are taken from January 2013, one month after 2012 ended.


Farm Bill agreement allows nationwide hemp cultivation for any use – including CBD

If the US House passes the Farm Bill this week, hemp will be legal throughout the US. Hemp is defined as containing less that three-tenths of one percent of THC, the cannabinoid in marijuana that makes users high. The Senate passed the bill this week.

CBD products can be made from hemp although, because some patients insist they need THC as well, CBD must be extracted from marijuana to obtain THC.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, the measure would lift restrictions on advertising, marketing, banking, and other financial services on hemp growers and manufacturers. It also would:

  • Allow hemp production in all 50 states, including the production of CBD
  • Producers who raise hemp with a higher THC level than 0.3 percent would not be guilty of a drug crime but would have to submit a plan to correct the problem
  • Allow the sale of hemp and CBD across state lines
  • Make the US Department of Agriculture administrator of the program
  • Legalize production in US territories and on Indian tribal lands
  • Require taxpayers to subsidize the hemp industry by providing access to federal farm support, including crop insurance, federal water access, and low-interest loans to new farmers
  • Allow hemp producers to bring “foreign nationals” to the US to fill “temporary agricultural” jobs
  • Remove barriers to obtaining patents and trademarks
  • Ban state or federal drug felons from participating in the program for 10 years, and
  • Require the agriculture department to work with the Attorney General on hemp rules.

Read Marijuana Business Daily article here.


Maryland marijuana panel approves ban on cannabis advertising on billboards, radio, TV, and other media

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission voted unanimously to ban nearly all advertising of marijuana for medical use. The industry says it will fight the ban when the General Assembly convenes in January 2019. The rules prohibit advertising on or in:

  • Billboards
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Most online outlets
  • Newspapers and magazines that cannot prove 85 percent of their audience is over age 18
  • Leaflets or flyers in most public and private places
  • Internet ads must include an age verification page.

An industry spokesman claimed the ban came about after a billboard showing Adam and Eve smoking a joint upset two legislators. However, a spokeswoman for the commission said the effort was to mirror bans on tobacco advertising.

A deputy attorney general asked the commission to also add specific language prohibiting manufacturers from making any medical claims without scientific evidence.

The new rules state that marijuana companies may not make any claim that is “false or misleading in any material way or is otherwise a violation” of state laws.

Read The Baltimore Sun story here.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

What the Neo-Socialists in Congress Don’t Understand about Poverty

In a few short weeks, America will welcome the 116th Congress.

Among the loud and celebrated voices in the new Congress are those who not only accept socialism as a viable option for America but also those who celebrate their ties to organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America. Incoming Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are members of the Democratic Socialists of America who will caucus with the Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib no longer represent a fringe movement on the left. An August 2018 Gallup poll revealed that over the last two years, capitalism has taken a dive, while socialism has soared among 18-to 29-year-olds.

I believe the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gave socialism a countercultural boost among my generation. Millennials suffer under the weight of crushing student loan debt and a deteriorating safety net from employers who will pay them less than their parents earned. It is within this economic context that a system promising to create parity among citizens looks attractive.

Socialism Never Works

The danger with popularizing socialism is that it sounds reasonable, but it never works. It often comes with the best of intentions: to reduce poverty. But there are simply no examples of it working to reduce poverty long-term.

Baby boomers are far more skeptical of socialism. They have lived long enough to see attempts at socialism fail, while capitalism has opened doors of opportunity.

Even as we look at America’s own dalliance with socialism, we can see little success. In our 50-year war on poverty, well-intentioned efforts have come up short. After spending well over $20 trillion on the War on Poverty, poverty not only persists. It has become a booming business.

What stockholders would allow a CEO to invest $20 trillion into solving a problem without demanding results? I can think of none.

The good news is that after 50 years, we know what does not work to end poverty: redistributing wealth. We also have a pretty good idea of what can end poverty. My friend and mentor Dr. Ben Carson often cites research that says a person can reduce their chances of living in poverty to 2 percent by doing these three things in this order: 1) Graduate from high school, 2) get married, and 3) wait until you are married to have children.

This is sound advice, something that both public and private organizations should advocate to help save future generations from a life of cyclical poverty.

For tens of thousands of Americans, though, the horse has left the barn. White students graduate at a rate of 86 percent. Black students lag behind at a rate of 69 percent.

Over 70 percent of all African-American children born today will be born to single mothers.

The best hope for all Americans who find themselves included in these numbers is a community to help fill the gap.

The Power of Community

After spending time listening to the smart policy wonks at the Heritage Foundation’s annual antipoverty summit, I am excited to see that the research bears out what my life experience has proven to me. It does not take government to end poverty. It takes a committed and empowered community.

I was raised by a strong and wise mother who understood that after she and my father divorced, it was important to make sure I learned from strong, positive male role models, including my dad, uncles, grandfathers, and even coaches.

I am successful today, but not because the government stepped in. I am successful because the government got out of the way and allowed my community to do what community does best.

As the hip, cool socialist wave makes its way to the halls of Congress, I fear we may return to the ill-fated, if altruistic, efforts of LBJ’s Great Society, when throwing money at social programs made us feel good.

A complete shift in thinking must occur. Success must be measured not by the amount of money we throw at poverty solutions, but by the number of people who are exiting poverty.

This article was reprinted from The Daily Signal.

COLUMN BY

Xavier Underwood

Xavier Underwood

Xavier Underwood is head of production for Howard Stirk Holdings, the nation’s largest minority broadcaster.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Signs The Global Financial Reset Has Begun

The reset has already begun and once implemented will have a profound impact on each and every one of us, here and across the globe. I have written about the Global Financial Reset before and have provided links to these and related articles at the bottom of this post. We will see in this post, the Signs The Global Financial Reset Has Begun. This content below in this post was contributed by my good friend Dr. Kirk Elliott, PhD, ThD

SIGNS THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL RESET HAS BEGUN

Dr. Kirk Elliott, PhD, ThD

I recently read an article by market analysts Jim Willie.  He is a brilliant analyst, and I wanted to pull out a few things from his research that stood out to me in regards to a global financial reset.  I went back to the source documents behind some of his projections and I concur with his analysis.  Links to the source documents are provided below.

After and economic recession/depression DEBT IS ALWAYS REDUCED.  In the US, the recession of 2009 did not eliminate debt, in fact the opposite—IT EXPLODED not just in the US but globally.  In fact, debt has been exploding since then and REAL GDP has been CONTRACTING by -2 to -4% a year in real terms according to John Williams of Shadow Stats.

SOURCE: https://www.silverdoctors.com/headlines/world-news/jim-willie-the-global-currency-reset-has-begun-now-watch-these-two-key-events/

CIPS (Cross Border Interbank Payment System (started Oct 2015), but is now gaining much momentum.  Now commands $6-$8 TRILLION portfolio of funded projects.  This is designed to replace the SWIFT system in the eastern hemisphere.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-Border_Inter-Bank_Payments_System

MARCH 2018 the Chinese rolled out a new gold-backed yuan oil contract next month as part of its attempt to replace the US dollar’s dominance of that commodity trade.  This could spell the end of the petro dollar trade.  This built in demand for the US$ is pretty much all the demand there is for it.  In time, the dollar sinks, and an alternative petro-dollar HAS ALREADY BEEN FORMED—no need to even speculate.

SOURCE: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4148232-yes-petro-yuan-threat-u-s-dollar

BRICS 2.0.  By this time everyone is aware of the BRICS nations and the coalition to form a strength based union to counteract the west.  BRICS 2.0 is that movement on steroids.  Gold is one of the last commodities controlled by the west (NY and LONDON exchanges).  This initiative will co-align the BRICS nations to replace that as well.  This is my opinion is not a bad thing, as London has allowed naked shorts on futures contracts of metals for a long time, thus limiting the growth through manipulation.  People who own gold and continue to acquire it should benefit AMAZINGLY as a true market will be established without the manufactured suppression of prices. Sadly, for us as Americans, this one is on us.  Our regulators allowed the manipulation to happen, and people seek truth and transparency. This is another nail in the coffin of US financial dominance.

SOURCE: https://www.miningreview.com/brics-gold-new-model-multilateral-cooperation/

WHAT TO LOOK FOR MOVING FORWARD FOR FURTHER SIGNALS

According to market analyst Jim Willie, he has categorized upcoming triggers that would indicate that a global financial reset will be here before any of us could possibly imagine.  Look out for any of these events:

LIST OF POTENTIAL KEY EVENTS

VERY SERIOUS MAJOR GLOBAL GAME CHANGERS

  • Deutsche Bank failure, talk of restructure, with rupture of derivative complex
  • Italian banking system collapse, complete with numerous bank runs
  • Italian sovereign currency announced as new Lira currency in EU exit
  • London Metals Exchange launches RMB-based metals contracts
  • COMEX & LBMA rupture from lost control of integration with oil & currencies
  • Formal launch of Gold Trade Note atop the Shanghai G-O-R contracts
  • Saudi oil sales in RMB to China, adopted by other Arabs and other Asians
  • London flips East, with RMB Hub development, following their AII Bank membership

DEEP IMPACT DISRUPTIONS

  • Flourishing non-USD platforms, led by Chinese design and efforts
  • Germans and French formally end Russian sanctions, thus flipping East
  • CIPS bank transaction system gains wider adoption, even among Western nations
  • BRICS Gold Platform announces conversion of sovereign bonds to Gold
  • China pre-announces gold-backed Yuan in form of convertible Gold Trade Note
  • China announced Yuan backed by basket of currencies, Gold, other commodities
  • Introduction of a new IMF SDR basket that includes gold, crude oil, iron
  • EU opens door to Euro payments in external trade with trading partners
  • Emerging Markets rupture on debt defaults, due to currency crisis
  • NATO fractures in the open and EU pursues independent military security

SOURCE: https://www.silverdoctors.com/headlines/world-news/jim-willie-the-global-currency-reset-has-begun-now-watch-these-two-key-events/

The time is now to prepare and safeguard your assets.

Closing Comments

John Michael Chambers

The Global Financial Reset is not some conspiracy theorists fantasy but rather a currency, monetary, financial and economic fact. It is one in a series of must occur events if we are to truly MAGA. There are many players involved in this great change. And with this change we shall see changes made to the Federal Reserve (finally) as well as the Rothschild World Banking Cartel and others. Dangerous indeed. But there is a plan.

Now we cannot prevent this great and perhaps long and painful transition from occurring but we can continue to remain informed. And like a category five hurricane coming into town, you just don’t operate business as usual. You plan and prepare to minimize the damage. There is a category five economic hurricane rapidly approaching. The time for such planning is now. You can survive and perhaps thrive.

Dr. Elliott’s firm will be holding a series of live Roundtable Public Briefings in the state of Florida in 2019 of which I will be a co-presenter. Perhaps we will meet somewhere out there on the road. Please visit these informative articles linked below.

Dr. Kirk Elliott, PhD, ThD

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Harvard Study: Gender Wage Gap Explained Entirely by Work Choices of Men and Women

The “gender wage gap” is as real as unicorns and has been killed more times than Michael Myers.


“Gender pay gap is worse than thought: Study shows women actually earn half the income of men,” NBC announced recently in reference to a report titled “Still a Man’s Labor Market” by the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which found that women’s income was 51 percent less than men’s earnings.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “gender pay gap”? Perhaps you think of a man and woman who work exactly the same job at exactly the same place, but he gets paid more than she does. This sort of discrimination has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

But that is not what is generally meant by the phrase “gender wage gap.” Instead, the commonly reported figure—that a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man—is derived by taking the total annual earnings of men in the American economy in a given year and dividing that by the number of male workers. This gives you the average annual earnings of an American man. Then you do the same thing but for women. The average annual women’s earnings come in at about 80 percent of the average annual man’s earnings. Presto, you have a gender wage gap.

That’s it, honestly. It isn’t much above back-of-a-cigarette-box stuff. This methodology takes no account whatsoever of a whole host of factors that might explain this discrepancy. It ignores the fact that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2017, men worked an average of 8.05 hours in an average day compared to 7.24 hours for women.

True, women are more likely to be raising children, taking care of elderly family members, or doing housework, leaving them with fewer hours in the day for paid employment. But this does not alter the essential fact: that people working fewer hours, on average, can be expected to earn lower incomes, on average.

And there are differences in the type of work men and women do, which bears on their earnings. BLS data shows that, in 2017, 94 percent of child day care services workers were female, the highest percentage of any category, and that the mean annual wage of childcare workers was $23,760. By contrast, just 2.9 percent of workers in logging were women, the lowest share of any category, and the mean annual wage here was $42,310.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research study fails to account for these differences. Indeed, its authors are airily dismissive of analysis that takes into account “occupational differences or so-called ‘women’s choices.’”

Its headline claim is that the 80 cents figure is wrong; in fact, women earn more like 49 cents for each dollar a man earns. The authors, Stephen J. Rose and Heidi I. Hartmann—listed in that order because that is how it is presented on the cover of their report, not because of sexism—arrive at this conclusion by taking a longitudinal dataset from 2001-2015 and measuring average annual earnings across the period for people who worked any amount during any of these years, and then comparing the overall averages for male and female workers, as well as for different subsets of men and women. Workers who were employed full-time for the entire 15-year period are lumped in with those who worked only part-time or occasionally.

Rather than starting with an observation (that 80-cent statistic) and examining possible causes, Hartmann and Rose have simply assumed a cause (rampant sexism) and carried out a slightly grander version of the back-of-a-cigarette-box calculation to support it. This isn’t how social science research should be done. It is exactly the wrong way round.

Remember, if we truly want to measure the impact of sexism on male and female relative earnings, we want to look at men and women doing exactly the same job at exactly the same place. Fortunately, a new study by Valentin Bolotnyy and Natalia Emanuel of Harvard University—again, listed in that order because that is how they are presented in their paper—does just this.

They look at data from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). This is a union shop with uniform hourly wages where men and women adhere to the same rules and receive the same benefits. Workers are promoted on the basis of seniority rather than performance, and male and female workers of the same seniority have the same choices for scheduling, routes, vacation, and overtime. There is almost no scope here for a sexist boss to favor men over women.

And yet, even here, Emanuel and Bolotnyy find that female train and bus operators earn less than their male counterparts. From this observation, they go looking for possible causes, examining time cards and scheduling from 2011 to 2017 and factoring in sex, age, date of hire, tenure, and whether an employee was married or had dependents.

They find that male train and bus drivers worked about 83 percent more overtime than their female colleagues and were twice as likely to accept an overtime shift—which pays time-and-a-half—on short notice and that around twice as many women as men never took overtime. The male workers took 48 percent fewer unpaid hours off under the Family Medical Leave Act each year. Female workers were more likely to take less desirable routes if it meant working fewer nights, weekends, and holidays. Parenthood turns out to be an important factor. Fathers were more likely than childless men to want the extra cash from overtime, and mothers were more likely to want time off than childless women.

In other words, the difference in male and female earnings at the MBTA was explained by those “so-called ‘women’s choices,’” which Hartmann and Rose so easily dismissed.

“The gap of $0.89 in our setting,” the authors concluded, “can be explained entirely by the fact that, while having the same choice sets in the workplace, women and men make different choices.”

The “gender wage gap” is as real as unicorns and has been killed more times than Michael Myers. Yet politicians feel the need to genuflect before this phantom figure. President Obama’s White House was obsessed with that ridiculous 80-cent number. Let us substitute the quest for phantoms with serious research into the causes of relative incomes.

COLUMN BY

John Phelan

John Phelan

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment and fellow of The Cobden Centre.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

60 Stats & Trends That Will Define The Future of E-Commerce [Infographic]

Electronic shopping was introduced back in 1979 when English inventor Michael Aldrich connected a modified TV to a transaction-processing computer via telephone line and opened the information systems for secure data transmission. This technology became the foundation on which the eCommerce as we know it was built.

Today, eCommerce is used on a daily basis and living without it seems just complicated and inconvenient. The new technologies and innovations are continuously changing and exponentially improving the user experience and safety which, on the other hand, results in staggering eCommerce growth.

In fact, by the end of 2018, the global eCommerce sales will reach approximately $2.8 trillion and in 2021 they will hit $4.5 trillion. With eCommerce evolving at a rapid pace, it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends. We here at Subscriptionly, keep a close eye on all things related to online sales and thought we’d share some 60 odd e-commerce stats and trends to get you ready for 2018/19.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

Liberals Say Lower Divorce Rate Is Bad Because It Causes … Income Inequality

In the you-can’t-make-this-up category — which granted, is pretty gigantic right now — a new study and some media reporting on it is making the case that the decline in the American divorce rate, which normal Americans instinctively think is a good thing, is actually a very bad thing.

Why? Because inequality. Specifically, the cause of the lower divorce rate seems to be young people particularly with college degrees are waiting until their careers and finances are on track to marry, while poorer people with less education are not getting married at all, but instead just living together and having kids.

Married people are generally wealthier in the first place (at the very least, their income is combined into one household, not split into two.) This combined with the college-degree income earning means more wealth among married people. Those who live together are in a more unstable relationship, often resulting in rotating men with a woman and children in a household. That is leaving them even poorer than their married brethren.

See, it’s not about the choices of shacking up and having children with men to whom the mothers are not married, and all the attendant misery that results. It’s that the result is income inequality. Those married people and their choices are becoming more wealthy.

As Bloomberg puts it in a report on the study:

Fewer divorces, therefore, aren’t only bad news for matrimonial lawyers but a sign of America’s widening chasm of inequality. Marriage is becoming a more durable, but far more exclusive, institution.”

Well that’s a big, fat problem, as inequality in our time of growing socialism and identity politics is an altar at which much of the left and media worship. It must not be defiled.

Here’s what we know.

The latest data shows younger American couples are approaching coupling differently from baby boomers, who tended to marry young like previous generations but then divorce and re-marry, set on repeat, unlike previous generations. Generation X has been slower to marry and millennials much slower, tending to enter into marriage older, once they have obtained a college degree and/or a stable career and their finances are set.

The result is that the U.S. divorce rate dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to the study by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.

Cohen calculated the divorce rate as a ratio of divorces to the total number of married women. So, the divorce rate’s decline isn’t a reflection of a decline in marriages — which has been happening — as it was only among those married. Rather, he believes, it’s evidence that marriages today actually have a greater chance of lasting than marriages did 20 years ago.

Young people’s improvement in the divorce rate is largely because boomers have continued to divorce at historically high rates, continuing to do so into their 60s and 70s. From 1990 to 2015, the divorce rate doubled for people between 55 to 64, and tripled for Americans 65 and older. This “grey divorce” phenomenon is helping the succeeding generation stand out.

“The change among young people is particularly striking,” Susan Brown, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University, said of Cohen’s results to Bloomberg. “The characteristics of young married couples today signal a sustained decline [in divorce rates] in the coming years.”

And that will result in more inequality as those married stay wealthier as a cohort, and those cohabitating or divorced remain poorer. And that is the problem liberals and the media see.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. The featured photo is by Benita Elizabeth Vivin on Unsplash.

Our Ignorance of Socialism Is Dangerous

A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey found that 51 percent of American millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. Only 42 percent prefer the latter.

Twenty-five percent of millennials who know who Vladimir Lenin was view him favorably. Lenin was the first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Half of millennials have never heard of communist Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1959 and was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese people.

The number of people who died at the hands of Josef Stalin may be as high as 62 million. However, almost one-third of millennials think former President George W. Bush is responsible for more killings than Stalin.

By the way, Adolf Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people. The Nazis come in as a poor third in terms of history’s most prolific mass murderers. According to professor Rudolph Rummel’s research, the 20th century, mankind’s most brutal century, saw 262 million people’s lives destroyed at the hands of their own governments.

Young people who weren’t alive during World War II and its Cold War aftermath might be forgiven for not knowing the horrors of socialism. Some of their beliefs represent their having been indoctrinated by their K-12 teachers and college professors.

There was such leftist hate for Bush that it’s not out of the question that those 32 percent of millennials were taught by their teachers and professors that Bush murdered more people than Stalin.

America’s communists, socialists, and Marxists have little knowledge of socialist history. Bradley Birzer, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, explains this in an article for The American Conservative titled “Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins.”

Joseph Goebbels wrote in 1925, “It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism.” This Nazi sentiment might be shared by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his comrade Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Goebbels added, “I think it is terrible that we and the communists are bashing in each other’s heads.”

When the tragedies of socialist regimes—such as those in Venezuela, the USSR, China, Cuba, and many others—are pointed out to America’s leftists, they hold up Sweden as their socialist role model. But they are absolutely wrong about Sweden.

Johan Norberg points this out in his documentary “Sweden: Lessons for America?” Americans might be surprised to learn that Sweden’s experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform.

Reason magazine reports:

Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it’s also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws.

School vouchers, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws are practices deeply offensive to America’s leftists.

Our young people are not the first Americans to admire tyrants and cutthroats. W.E.B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian in 1953, said, “Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature.” Walter Duranty called Stalin “the greatest living statesman” and “a quiet, unobtrusive man.”

There was even leftist admiration for Hitler and fellow fascist Benito Mussolini. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, George Bernard Shaw described him as “a very remarkable man, a very able man.” President Franklin Roosevelt called Mussolini “admirable,” and he was “deeply impressed by what he [had] accomplished.”

In 1972, John Kenneth Galbraith visited communist China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system. His Harvard University colleague John K. Fairbank believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution, saying, “Americans may find in China’s collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one’s neighbor that has a lesson for us all.”

Are Americans who admire the world’s most brutal regimes miseducated or stupid? Or do they have some kind of devious agenda?

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Sweden’s Ugly Ultraliberalism and the Jews


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Erik McGregor/Sipa USA/Newscom.

The Best Argument Against Minimum Wage Laws: You Don’t Own Other People

Like anything else, the seller—the prospective employee—owns what is offered for sale.


With Democrats about to take control of the House, it is likely we will see an increase in the federal minimum wage pass the lower chamber, even if it has no chance of becoming a law. We will just as surely hear opponents making completely sound economic arguments against minimum wage laws.

Minimum wage laws cause unemployment, these opponents say, because they price those workers whose skills don’t justify the minimum wage out of the market completely. If a worker only has the skills to produce $14/hour worth of benefits to an employer, the employer is better off not employing that person rather than losing $1 dollar/hour doing so, if the minimum wage is $15/hour. And regardless of where the minimum wage is presently, any increase in the price of labor will result in less demand for labor, all other things being equal.

That’s basic economic reasoning and wasn’t even controversial until recently when, for political reasons, economists like Paul Krugman began contradictingtheir own earlier writing on the same subject. But as economically sound as the unemployment argument against minimum wages may be, it ignores a previous and much more important one: you don’t own other people.

We think of the basis of what used to be called “the liberal tradition” as being the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Governments are ostensibly instituted among men “to secure these rights.” But these rights are pillars, not the foundation of a free society, according to the essay Jefferson himself said established the “general principles of liberty and the rights of man, in nature, and in society,” as Americans of his time understood them.

Rather, these rights proceed, said John Locke, from the self-evident, inherent human condition of self-ownership. In Chapter V of his second treatise on civil government, he wrote,

Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.

Proponents of minimum wage laws focus all the attention on the buyers of labor services and none on the sellers. In their zeal to curtail the rights of the former, they run roughshod over those of the latter, never asking themselves who owns the labor in question.

Like anything else, the seller—the prospective employee—owns what is offered for sale. It is he or she alone who has a right to determine what the minimum price will be, but only for his or her own labor. No one needs minimum wage laws to exercise this right of ownership. One can set one’s own minimum wage without them. One only needs minimum wage laws to keep others from offering lower wages, something they have every right to do as the owners of their own labor.

It never occurs to minimum wage zealots that there are people whose lives might improve if they were allowedto sell their labor at a price below the legal minimum. Not only is this the difference between having a job and not having one for millions of people, it might also allow people working for wages above the minimum at one job to take a second job at a lower wage, where they might learn new skills and eventually transition to a different line of work they like better or pays more or both. That’s called the pursuit of happiness, something people truly are entitled to.

Somehow, the rather crazy idea that every job must support an entire household has become accepted as an immutable law of nature. What happened to roommates? I had four of them in my first apartment and didn’t have a whole living space to myself until my late twenties. I shudder to think what would have become of me if I didn’t have the opportunity to work for the wages my skills warranted until I acquired more and could demand wages sufficient to pay for my own apartment or house.

As Locke observed, ownership of one’s labor is inextricably linked to ownership of oneself. In very practical terms, labor is the means of survival. To claim ownership over another person’s labor is to claim ownership over his life. It is the principle that underpins slavery. That is not to say living under minimum wage laws is as bad as chattel slavery. But, as the immortal Vincent Vega would say, it’s the same ballpark.

COLUMN BY

Tom Mullen

Tom Mullen

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? and A Return to Common  Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. For more information and more of Tom’s writing, visit www.tommullen.net.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Facts Don’t Care About Socialism’s Feelings: Mississippi More Prosperous Than Europe

There are a lot of ways to dice numbers, particularly economic numbers. But almost any way you cut it, America is far wealthier, more productive, more prosperous and more consumptive than Europe or almost anywhere else on earth.

In fact, according to an apples to apples comparison by the American Enterprise Institute, most Europeans, including wealthier Western Europeans, would have a higher living standard if they were living in Mississippi — America’s poorest state. This goes for Sweden, Denmark and Belgium — mentioned because the growing cadre of Americans extolling socialism like using them as examples.

Pretty sure they don’t like using Mississippi as an example.

In a chart put together by Mark Perry, a scholar at AEI and professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, the GDP per capita of America’s 50 states in 2014 — based on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis — is compared to the GDP per capita of countries in Europe and Asia on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis.

The PPP, according to the World Bank, is “Gross Domestic Product (GDP) converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as the U.S. dollar has in the United States.”

Using this measurement makes the comparisons more accurate in real life by adjusting for the differences in prices in each country. So the United Kingdom’s unadjusted GDP per capita was $45,729 in 2014, but because prices for goods are higher on average than in the U.S., for everything from food and clothing to energy and transportation, the adjustment lowers per capita GDP in the U.K. to below $40,000. Conversely, prices in South Korea are generally lower than in the U.S., which means that its GDP per capita goes from below $28,000 on an unadjusted basis to above $34,000 on a PPP basis.

So, apples to apples.

AEI’s Perry writes: “Most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country.”

Here is the chart:

The chart above demonstrates clearly that the U.S. average per capita GDP of $54,629 is higher than European nations. The big difference? America’s robust capitalism compared to Europes’ burdensome socialism.

More data making this very same point comes via the consumption side as opposed to the production side.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, showing “average individual consumption” for various member nations, creates a baseline average of 100 — again to make apples and apples comparisons.

So the averaged score for all OECD nations is 100. The score among its European member nations is 96. But the U.S. score is 147 — clearly indicating that Americans are far more prosperous than Europeans and other First World countries.

This OECD data is two years older, but as you can see this is just a long-term truth. By both production and consumption measurements, the U.S. is far stronger than Europe.

All of this should make the point clearly that for the United States to continue to prosper — and carry other nations along in our wake — we must reject the burgeoning socialism that is revealing itself.

A few examples to complement the data.

Hong Kong and Singapore were small, poor Asian locales at the end of World War II. But both instituted free markets, limited government, robust capitalism, and a rule of law supporting those. Doing so, the pair have becoming two of the richest locations on the planet. Their citizens are thriving and prosperous.

Conversely, Cuba and Venezuela were at one point growing economies. Cuba was a thriving little island, albeit with divided wealth, that for generations now has been locked in poverty under the boot of Communist dictators where there is almost no wealth left at all. Venezuela has immense oil reserves and was building some economic momentum. But they turned to socialism and the people are now literally starving, eating stray animals to stay alive.

These four examples are the extremes, but they solidly back the hard data.

Our European friends would be much better off if they had not travelled down the social democrat road, as their economies continue to fall behind the United States’ economy, and their people’s standard of living stagnates or declines.

Free stuff from the government is not free. It brings a big, costly government that restricts rights and prosperity. We would be foolish to emulate the socialistic parts of Europe.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. The featured photo is by Tom Grimbert on Unsplash.

Post Office Has Boom Year, Loses More Money Than Ever

Is it time to privatize the US Postal Service?


For the US government’s 2018 fiscal year, the US Postal Service reports that it successfully boosted its annual revenue by $1 billion over the previous year to $70.7 billion, marking a boom year for its mail and package delivery services. Unfortunately, it also spent about $3.9 billion more to provide those services than it took in during the year, a $1.2 billion increase over the loss it recorded in its 2017 fiscal year.

If that doesn’t sound like a success, that’s because it isn’t, which is why the editors of Investor’s Business Daily are calling for the nation’s postal service to be privatized:

By its own admission, the post office is doomed. Buried deep in its 10-k government filing is this bleak statement: “Existing laws and regulations limit our ability to introduce new products or services, enter new markets, generate new revenue streams or manage our cost structure,” it said. Imagine a private company telling its investors that.

This can’t go on. Privatization is the only viable option. The White House last summer proposed to do just that, by either selling off the post office or bringing in private managers to run it. At least a profitable postal company that can sell its shares to investors, manage costs, hire and fire workers, and expand and close lines of business would have a chance. Today’s US Postal Service doesn’t.

How bad is it? The IBD‘s editors cited reporting by Reason‘s Eric Boehm to justify its call:

Far from being an aberration, fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, is a sign of things to come. Without changes to how it operates, the USPS will continue to post losses at “an accelerating rate,” Postmaster General Megan Brennan tells Government Executive.

“Simply put, we cannot generate revenue or cut enough costs to pay our bills,” she says.

What’s really stunning is that the USPS managed to lose so much money in a year when income from shipping packages jumped by 10 percent and overall revenue increased by 1.5 percent. That wasn’t enough to make up for an increase of $896 million in personnel costs.

What’s driving that increase in personnel costs at the post office? The same factor that’s driven dozens of cities and counties into bankruptcy proceedings when they can no longer count on being able to tax their way into the black: the pension and health benefits it provides to each of its retired government employees.

Could US taxpayers be protected from having to pay the full cost of the financial failure of the US Postal Service? Reason‘s Eric Bloem considers an interesting possibility:

As Reason has been arguing for literally 50 years, the postal service should be privatized and subjected to competition.

There’s a chance that might actually finally happen. A White House report released in June that highlighted the possible privatization of government services included two options for reforming the USPS. One idea would have private managers take over running the USPS with the government maintaining oversight responsibility. The second proposal would have the post office sold in its entirety.

A sale would likely require changes and restructuring to first net a profit, and would probably require the federal government to absorb the current debts. Still, it could net a windfall to help pay off the service’s massive liabilities—the Cornell economist Richard Geddes has found that a USPS IPO could raise $40 billion.

Just imagine how much the US government’s financial situation might improve if it returned its $1.2 trillion student loan portfolio back to the private sector.

This article was reprinted from the Independent Institute.

COLUMN BY

Landowners Hail Property Rights Victory At Supreme Court In Frog Habitat Dispute

  • The Supreme Court sided with landowners Tuesday in a dispute over the reach of the Endangered Species Act.
  • A large parcel of private land was designated as “critical habitat” for an endangered frog, though the species has not lived in the area for decades.
  • The justices said that designation was incorrect, but sent two questions back to the lower court. 

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong to designate a 1,500 acre tract of land in Louisiana as a “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog, even though the species has not lived there for decades.

“I am really overjoyed that an eight to nothing court agreed with me that the service’s decision was absurd and nightmarish for property rights in the United States,” landowner Edward Poitevent told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a Tuesday interview.

“We all actually thought something like this would happen, but what’s really stunning is this is an eight to nothing decision,” Poitevent said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service told Poitevent in 2011 his land, which has been in his family for generations, would be listed as backup critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog, which hasn’t been seen there since 1965. The only known domain of the frogs was a single pond in southern Mississippi as of 2001, but the government said the Louisiana zone was the only other possible habitat it could identify.

The government conceded drastic alteration to the land would be needed in order for the gopher frog to survive, including replacing thousands of trees and conducting controlled burns to kill off underbrush.

The government also said designating Poitevent’s land as critical habitat could cost his family as much as $34 million, which doesn’t include the cost to alter the landscape.

Poitevent and others sued, arguing the government could not designate land the frogs do not inhabit as “critical habitat.” They also said the service wrongly ignored the significant economic costs its decision imposed on them.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the federal agency, finding the government was entitled to deference on both points. An appeal to the Supreme Court followed.

Federal officials listed the dusky gopher frog as endangered in 2001 in response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an environmental group. The group also worked with the government to oppose Poitevent’s lawsuit.

The Trump administration supported the agency before the high court.

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen as the court nears the end of its term in Washington, June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Erin Schaff

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen as the court nears the end of its term in Washington, June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Erin Schaff

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Tuesday’s unanimous decision, which largely sides with the landowners.

“Only the ‘habitat’ of the endangered species is eligible for designation as ‘critical habitat,’” Roberts wrote. However, he noted the 5th Circuit did not define the term “habitat” in its decision, and sent the case back to the appeals court with instructions to do so.

As such, the crux of Tuesday’s ruling provides that only land that qualifies as “habitat” may be designated “critical habitat,” but the exact definition of “habitat” remains unresolved.

The high court also agreed that the 5th Circuit should consider whether the Fish and Wildlife Service properly evaluated the burdens imposed on the landowners before marking the area “critical habitat.”

“The message here is that the unanimous Supreme Court considered the lower court decisions to be incorrect, though they don’t ever say that,” Poitevent told TheDCNF. “The whole tone and tenor of the decision is there’s something very wrong with [the 5th Circuit] decisions.”

Poitevent is confident he and his attorneys at the Pacific Legal Foundation will prevail on remand in the 5th Circuit.

“While we’re disappointed, the ruling doesn’t weaken the mandate to protect habitat for endangered wildlife,” Collette Adkins, a CBD attorney who defended the frog’s protections before the Supreme Court, said in a statement. “The dusky gopher frog’s habitat protections remain in place for now, and we’re hopeful the 5th Circuit will recognize the importance of protecting and restoring habitats for endangered wildlife to live.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not participate in the case because it was argued prior to his Oct. 6 confirmation.

COLUMN BY

Michael Bastasch and Kevin Daley

Follow Kevin on TwitterSend tips to kevin@dailycallernewsfoundation.org

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Why Spiritual People Are More Inclined to Embrace Free Markets Than Materialists

Capitalism, after all, is a system that requires a level of comfort with inequalities in material outcomes.


In his 1993 book The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, the late Christian philosopher Michael Novak wrote that certain cultures are more likely to favor capitalism. Among them were the following: Confucian, Jewish, Protestant, and Northern European Catholic.

These cultures, Novak argued, possessed certain commonalities that made them more likely to engage in capitalism successfully and responsibly. Among the commonalities cited by Novak were “a certain rigor and austerity, an almost Stoic sense of sobriety and responsibility, and a certain disdain for corruption.”

Capitalism vs. Materialism

The idea that some cultures might engage in capitalism differently than other cultures sounds a bit presumptive to modern ears, but it’s also very capitalistic. Capitalism, after all, is a system that requires a level of comfort with inequalities in material outcomes.

People with skills and services that are scarce, valuable, and in high demand will naturally thrive more than people who lack such skills. The capitalist finds this arrangement perfectly natural, whereas the materialist finds it abhorrent.

Perhaps this is why Novak believed that capitalism, paradoxically, was a system suited for spiritual societies, not materialistic ones. “The only long-lasting foundation for a capitalist society is a moral, spiritual, and religious one,” he wrote.

This idea might sound paradoxical, but Novak was not the only adherent to this view. In their book Common Sense Business, authors Theodore Roosevelt Malloch and Whitney MacMillan write that the idea of work as a higher “calling” is very much ingrained in the Western mind.

A concept introduced by Reformation leader Martin Luther and popularized by German philosopher Max Weber in his famous 1905 work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, the idea of work as a calling is a stark contrast to that proposed by Marx, who called work an “unfree, unhuman, unsocial activity.”

Malloch and MacMillan argue that the view of work as a noble, spiritual calling is held at some of the most successful corporations in the world—such as Germany’s Miele, a domestic appliance company headquartered in Gütersloh—and is crucial to a healthy capitalist ecosystem.

“This idea gives powerful legitimations to the conduct of business,” Malloch and MacMillan write. “It’s not only the priest, nun, or preacher who has a religious ‘calling’ to fulfill. It’s everyone in all walks of life. Such a spiritual understanding encourages a deeply serious and conscientious attitude toward work.”

Malloch and MacMillan’s point would seem to buttress Novak’s argument that some cultures will favor capitalism and practice it better than others. A spiritual culture—Confucian, Protestant, etc.—is more likely to favor capitalism because it finds deep and lasting value in work, a value that goes beyond the material fruit it yields.

A materialist culture, on the other hand, will be more likely to reject capitalism because it will be more likely to ignore or reject the spiritual fruit work offers and instead focus on inequalities in material outcome.

To sum it up (and to paraphrase Malloch and MacMillan), spiritual cultures will thrive under capitalism because they will embrace a powerful idea: work is spiritual.

This article was reprinted from Intellectual Takeout.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. Serving previously as Director of Digital Media at Intellectual Takeout, Jon was responsible for daily editorial content, web strategy, and social media operations. Before that, he was the Senior Editor of The History Channel Magazine, Managing Editor at Scout.com, and general assignment reporter for the Panama City News Herald. Jon also served as an intern in the speech writing department under George W. Bush.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.