Category : Economy

(NYT) A Dying Southern Town, Cotton Plant, Arkansas, Needed a Miracle. Then Marijuana Came Calling

 Mayor Willard C. Ryland looked everywhere for salvation for his dying town. He tried luring a vegetable packing company. An Asian carp processor. A Dollar General store. But he struck out again and again.

Then came marijuana — and hope.

Arkansas voters decided in 2016 to legalize the plant for medical use, giving the state an opportunity both to develop a new industry and to address nagging social problems. The state’s licensing program encourages legal marijuana growers to set up shop where the new jobs are needed most, in perennially poor communities.

Mr. Ryland, 63, is a teetotaler and regular churchgoer who was raised on a farm and never got caught up in the wilder side of the 1960s. But when a start-up company called Bold Team approached him about investing in his town, it hardly bothered him that they wanted to grow what President Ronald Reagan once declared to be “probably the most dangerous drug in the United States.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Rural/Town Life

(Wash Post) Robert Samuelson–Don’t deny the link between poverty and single parenthood

What’s less worthy is basing any debate on misleading analysis. That’s my complaint against the Times essay. Its hypothetical and admittedly unrealistic thought experiment that eliminating poverty among single mothers wouldn’t have much effect on overall poverty is wrong, according to the government’s own figures from the Census Bureau.

Let’s look at the census figures.

In 2016, 40.6 million Americans had incomes below the government’s official poverty line, which was $24,339 for a family of four, including two children. Of those below the poverty line — 12.7 percent of the population — nearly 5 million were moms or dads heading single-parent families; 8.7 million were children under 18 in these single-parent homes.

Do the arithmetic. Together, single-parent families and their children totaled almost 14 million people, which is roughly a third of all people in poverty. If, magically, a third of America’s poor escaped poverty, the change would (justifiably) be hailed as a triumph of social policy. If we included the children in poverty in two-parent families, that would add more than 7 million to the total (3 million parents and 4 million children). The total of 21 million would equal about half of all people in poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in Census/Census Data, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing, Poverty

FT talks with the steward of the Church of England’s investment portfolio, Loretta Minghella, on god, guns, gender and her brother’s death

In the months since her arrival at Church House next door to Westminster Abbey, Ms Minghella has added to Sir Andreas’s legacy. Observers say she is hard-nosed when it comes to numbers, has a low tolerance for bad corporate behaviour and is uncompromising on issues such as gender diversity.

“We are looking for companies to have 30 per cent gender diversity on their boards. If they haven’t, we will be looking at chairs of nominations committees and actually not approving one or two of them,” she says.

“It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do when it comes to investments.”

Our meeting takes place as the debate rages about investments in gun companies after the Florida school shooting.

Unsurprisingly, the fund already screens out “sin” stocks — arms, gambling, pornography, alcohol, tobacco — and it is taking a much tougher line on mining and energy companies.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

A Reflection on Saint Joseph the Worker for his Feast Day

ZENIT spoke with Father Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare of the Congregation of Oblates of Saint Joseph, director of the Josephite Movement, about Tuesday’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker….

ZENIT: What does “Gospel of work” mean?

Father Stramare: “Gospel” is the Good News that refers to Jesus, the Savior of humanity. Well, despite the fact that in general we see Jesus as someone who teaches and does miracles, he was so identified with work that in his time he was regarded as “the son of the carpenter,” namely, an artisan himself. Among many possible activities, the Wisdom of God chose for Jesus manual work, entrusted the education of his Son not to the school of the learned but to a humble artisan, namely, St. Joseph.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Belfast Telegraph) Church of England investment arm steeled for weaker returns in 2017

The head of the Church of England’s investment arm has flagged that its £7.9 billion fund will fail to match the stellar returns logged in 2016, but said ethical policies were not to blame.

While the fund managed to rake in a bumper 17.1% return on the back of a strong performance in equities in 2016, it sold down its stock holdings by around 17% or £500 million to help re-balance the portfolio during the same year, meaning a smaller boost from a further rise in stock prices is expected from 2017.

Andrew Brown, secretary and chief executive of the Church Commissioners, said: “Like all investors we were faced in 2017 with a number of headwinds and we’ve seen it with sterling, we’ve seen it with inflation and global markets have slowed.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

(Christian Today) Holy Sepulchre closed because Israel’s Christians believe they are under threat, says Bishop of Southwark

The Bishop of Southwark has called on Christians around the world to show ‘solidarity’ over the indefinite closure of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre in protest at a bill affecting church lands and new taxes on churches that are ‘unfair, inappropriate and arbitrary’.

Speaking to Christian Today from Galilee on the final day of a pilgrimage with 84 people from the south London Anglican diocese, Bishop Christopher Chessun also expressed his disapproval of a bill in the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, supported by Israeli settlers, that would allow the state to expropriate land in Jerusalem sold by churches to private real estate firms in recent years.

‘The bill going through the Knesset is of course at the instigation of particular groups and it is very important that the powers that be recognise the significance of the status quo which governs the relationship formally between the church and the state,’ Chessun said.

‘So if there are actions taken by different groups of settlers or whatever else and that leads to poor leadership by the powers that be then there will be massive consequences.’

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Israel, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Taxes

(eNCA) South African Anglican bishops slam VAT increase

In a terse statement, the Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said the Anglican Church of Southern Africa was very concerned about the one percent VAT increase, announced by finance minister Malusi Gigaba in his budget speech on Wednesday.

“It is distressing to us that the ordinary citizens of South Africa are being called upon through increased VAT to fill the gaps in government finances which are partly a result of massive maladministration and corruption, especially in state-owned enterprises,” said the statement….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, South Africa, Taxes

A picture is Worth 100 Words–The Fading Western Dream

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, England / UK, Europe, History, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance

(The Hill) Lawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology

Lawmakers are concerned that advances in video manipulation technology could set off a new era of fake news. Now legislators say they want to start working on fixes to the problem before it’s too late.

Technology experts have begun to sound the alarm on the new software, which lets users take existing videos and make high-quality altered video and audio that appears real. The emergence of the technology opens up a new world of hoaxes driven by doctored audio or video, and threatens to shake faith in the media even further.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the most vocal members of Congress on tech issues, painted a grim picture about what the advances could mean for the future of discerning truth in media.

“Since we can’t rely on the responsibility of individual actors or the platforms they use, I fully expect there will be a proliferation of these sorts of fictions to a degree that nearly drowns out actual facts,” Wyden told The Hill.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

(BBC) Church of England’s Sports Direct criticism praised

The Church of England still holds a minority stake in tycoon Mike Ashley’s chain, the BBC understands, but continues to engage over key areas of concern.

A spokesman confirmed it sent letters to Sports Direct attacking executive pay and working conditions.

The letters were sent over the last two years, when Sports Direct was dealing with union claims of not treating workers as humans at the Shirebrook headquarters, according to the Press Association.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Stock Market

(GN) For $12M, you can own St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Vancouver’s Kitsilano area

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, a 100-year-old facility in Kitsilano, one of B.C.’s most upscale areas, is up for sale at the steep price of $11,998,000.

[The] Rev. Richard Leggett said Anglican churches in the Vancouver area are moving elsewhere due to, in part, the steep cost of housing.

Other Anglican properties up for sale include St. Margaret of Scotland in Burnaby and St. Monica’s in Horseshoe Bay.

“Housing prices in Vancouver have grown so rapidly and so high that the grandchildren of the grandparents who built the church are no longer living nearby,” said Leggett.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture

A graphic of U.S. young adults living with their parents by age, 1980 vs. 2016

Posted in America/U.S.A., Census/Census Data, Young Adults

(C of E) Church Investors group announces a harder line on Annual General Meeting voting policy

The CIG has tightened its voting policy in three main areas:

Executive pay

The CIG will review fairness in the workplace and will withdraw support for remuneration reports where pay ratios are not disclosed, Chief Executive pensions are excessive, or where financial services or pharmaceutical companies do not pay the living wage.

Gender diversity

CIG members will now vote against the re-election of nomination committee chairs where the board has less than 33% women and it will vote against all directors on the nomination committee where less than 25% of board directors are women.

Climate change

CIG members now vote against the re-election of the company chair when a company is making little progress to transition to a low carbon world….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Stewardship, Stock Market, Theology

(NBC) A brief video that will brighten your day–Meet 18-month-old Lucas, The First Gerber Baby With Down Syndrome

Posted in Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Media

(NYT) Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built

Mr. [Roger] McNamee said he had joined the Center for Humane Technology because he was horrified by what he had helped enable as an early Facebook investor.

“Facebook appeals to your lizard brain — primarily fear and anger,” he said. “And with smartphones, they’ve got you for every waking moment.”

He said the people who made these products could stop them before they did more harm.

“This is an opportunity for me to correct a wrong,” Mr. McNamee said.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Science & Technology