Faith and Economics

Faith and Economics
In Faith and Economics, economics professors Dr. Russ McCullough and Dr. Levi Russell discuss big issues that impact economic freedom and human flourishing from a Christian perspective. This podcast is an initiative of the Gwartney Institute at Ottawa University. For more information, contact us at [email protected]

On Jobs and Automation | #39
Jul 15 • 37 min
The whole crew discusses automation and technological change and how economic policy should address these issues. Tucker Carlson on Ben Shapiro’s Sunday Special
Working & Resting on Sunday | #38
Jul 8 • 37 min
Russ, Levi, and Jacyn discuss the prohibition of work on the Sabbath and how we can apply it to our lives. What types of work are prohibited? How should we set economic policy consistent with this commandment? The Sunday Rest video
Reggies Wenyika on His Faith and Zimbabwe’s Economy | #37
Jul 1 • 46 min
Russ and Levi interview the President of Ottawa University’s home campus on his faith, work, and the history of Zimbabwe. Reggies’ charisma and experience as an academic, pastor, and administrator shine through the interview. You will love this one!
Dave Ramsey’s Personal Finance | #36
Jun 25 • 42 min
The whole team has an informative conversation on Dave Ramsey’s personal finance philosophy and tactics. Russ, who teaches a personal finance course here at Ottawa University, explains Ramsey’s system and the rest of the crew ask questions.
Trump’s Trade War with China | #35
Jun 17 • 29 min
Note: This episode was recorded on June 3, 2019 Russ and Levi discuss the trade war between President Trump and the Chinese government over the past 9 months. Are tariffs a good idea from a financial and economic perspective? How should we think about the…
Randall Holcombe on Political Capitalism | #34
Jun 10 • 42 min
Russ and Levi interview Dr. Randall Holcombe of Florida State University. Dr. Holcombe discusses the concepts in his recent book Political Capitalism. Do we live in a free market economy? How does the government interact with the profitability of…
Jim Gwartney on His Faith and Economics | #33
Jun 2 • 41 min
Russ and Levi interview Dr. Jim Gwartney, our institute’s namesake. This is a wide-ranging discussion on Jim’s life, experience at Ottawa University, and his opinions on the state of the world economy. Common Sense Economics book
Vernon Smith on Adam Smith | #32
May 27 • 40 min
Russ and Levi interview Dr. Vernon Smith, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. Dr. Smith discusses his faith and its impact on his views on economics and social behavior.
Dr. Anne Bradley on Income Inequality | #31
May 20 • 27 min
Dr. Anne Bradley of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics joins us to discuss income inequality. What should Christians think about income inequality? Is it a pernicious threat or an inevitable and benign characteristic of a free society?
Why Not Federalism? | #30
May 13 • 34 min
Russ and Levi discuss the economic and political costs and benefits of federalism in our own time. We draw on the Christian concept of subsidiarity to examine the ethical implications of devolving Federal power to the states!
Christian Ethics of Tariffs | #29
Apr 29 • 33 min
Russ and Levi discuss tariff policy and the costs associated with recent tariffs designed to protect American jobs. How should we evaluate the costs and benefits of tariffs?
The Universal Destination of Goods | #28
Apr 29 • 30 min
Levi and Russ discuss the concept of the universal destination of goods. What are the limits of property rights? How do we understand moral obligations to help others financially? Show Notes Faith and Economics - Federal Food Programs: Efficiency and…
Creighton University Humanomics Event: Adam Smith - Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations | #27
Apr 22 • 38 min
Drs. Maria Pia Paganelli, Derek Yonai, and Michael Thomas join us to discuss Adam Smith’s body of work and its implications for the place of economics in social science today.
Government Debt | #26
Apr 15 • 35 min
We dig into the mailbag for this episode! How do economists understand government debt? Can this understanding inform our ethical views of debt? Show Notes: US Debt Clock Dr. Bob Murphy on Intergenerational Debt Burdens
YangBucks | #25
Apr 8 • 30 min
Russ, Levi, and Jacob discuss one of the most popular proposals for a Universal Basic Income. Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s proposed “Freedom Dividend” was recently criticized by the Acton Institute. We provide important commentary on his…
Monasticism, Care for the Poor, and Capitalism | #24
Apr 1 • 31 min
We discuss the origins of capitalism in the west. What did early monasteries have to do with it? Were they early entrepreneurs? Show notes: How Caring for the Poor Led to the Beginnings of Capitalism How Progressive is the US Tax Code?
Inflation and Middle Class Life | #23
Mar 25 • 35 min
We discuss an interesting graph of changes in the cost of products and services over the past few decades. Does the increasing cost of health care and education make a normal, prosperous middle class life more difficult? Does the reduction in cost of…
Democratic Socialism and AOC
Mar 18 • 28 min
We discuss the notion of Democratic Socialism and its relationship to Christianity. Should Christians embrace Democratic Socialism? Is this political philosophy, advocated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex and Bernie Sanders, a coherent way forward?
Economic Freedom and Happiness
Mar 11 • 33 min
This week we talk with Professor Jeremy Jackson of North Dakota State University about his research on the relationship between economic freedom in the U.S., happiness, and social capital. Are residents of more economically free states happier? Do they…
When is Coveting Legal Plunder?
Mar 4 • 39 min
We discuss the concept of legal plunder, first proposed by French philosopher and economist Frederic Bastiat in his tract “The Law.” Is there a way to tie this concept to coveting?
Moral Hazard
Feb 25 • 34 min
In this episode, Russ, Jacyn, and Jacob discuss biblical and financial instances of moral hazard, asymmetric information, and “Too Big to Fail.” Show notes: Malcolm Gladwell’s TED Talk on David and Goliath David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Is the U.S. a Christian Nation?
Feb 18 • 37 min
This week we discuss the U.S.’s status as a Christian nation. Russ and Levi agree that it currently isn’t but arrive at that conclusion from two different angles. The relationship between economic prosperity and religion is a key component of the…
Economics of David and Goliath
Feb 11 • 35 min
We discuss Malcolm Gladwell’s unique take on the story of David and Goliath. What can we learn about markets from Gladwell’s perspective on this famous story? Show notes Malcolm Gladwell’s TED Talk on David and Goliath David and Goliath by Malcolm…
Universal Basic Income
Feb 4 • 39 min
In this episode we discuss the economics and morality of the Universal Basic Income. A Universal Basic Income would guarantee a minimum income to every individual over the age of 21 in the U.S. If you’re looking for a brief primer on the subject, listen…
Economic Freedom Abroad
Jan 28 • 28 min
Jacyn and Dr. McCullough discuss their recent trips abroad to South America and India. Both talk about their experiences in light of the economic freedom (or lack thereof) in the countries they visited!
Kingdom Theology and the Liberal Order
Jan 21 • 58 min
In this episode we discuss the implications of the Kingdom of God on politics. Dr. Rachel Ferguson, a philosopher at Lindenwood University, joins us to help us understand the link between Christianity and liberalism. Show notes: Dr. Rachel Ferguson’s…
Economic and Moral Considerations for Community Development
Jan 14 • 35 min
In this episode we discuss community development and the roles of individuals and governments with Dr. Rebekka Dudensing of Texas A&M University. Show Notes Dr. Dudensing’s Website The Little Pink House Documentary What is Community Development? People vs…
Piety as a Barrier to Entry
Jan 7 • 41 min
In this episode we discuss the idea that piety - the activities and procedures often practiced by Christians - might be a barrier to entry to Christianity. Some might be put off by these practices and may not want to become Christian because of that. As…
Opportunity Cost of Keeping the Sabbath Holy
Dec 31, 2018 • 34 min
Dr. Terry Griffin of Kansas State University talks about his research on the cost farmers incur to attend weekly church services. Dr. McCullough challenges the group to think about physical labor as a way of giving glory to God. Show Notes: The Cost of…
Consumerism, Santa, and Christmas
Dec 24, 2018 • 30 min
In this episode we discuss the origins of Santa Claus and the consumerism of the holidays and how we can address it as Christians informed by sound economics. Show notes: Veggie Tales - St. Nicholas, A Story of Joyful Giving…
Nutritional Insecurity and Poverty
Dec 17, 2018 • 33 min
In this episode we discuss nutritional insecurity and access to food. Our guest, Dr. Brandon McFadden, discusses the state of our knowledge of these issues and how they relate to poverty in the US and abroad. Dr. McFadden fills us in on how we as…
Christianity’s Cultural Influence
Dec 10, 2018 • 25 min
We discuss Hugh Whelchel’s book “How Then Should We Work” focusing on Whelchel’s notion of a “cultural mandate.” Should Christians attempt to influence culture? Should we attempt to use the government to influence culture in Christian ways? Hillbilly…
Christianity and Capitalism
Dec 3, 2018 • 34 min
Russ, Levi, and Jacyn discuss Russ’s recent appearance on the Virtue in the Wasteland podcast. Is capitalism compatible with Christianity? What do Millennials and iGen think about this? Can markets be relied on to deliver moral results? Virtue in the…
Economics of a Call To Work: Be Fruitful and Multiply
Nov 26, 2018 • 39 min
In this episode we continue our discussion of “How Then Should We Work” by Hugh Whelchel of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. You can purchase Hugh’s book at the link below. Contact us: [email protected] Note: This is…
Federal Food Programs: Efficiency and Ethics
Nov 19, 2018 • 35 min
In this episode we discuss federal food programs and non-profit efforts to alleviate hunger in the U.S. Our guest, Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, helps us understand the most recent data on the effectiveness of federal food programs. Show notes: Follow our guest on…
Biblical Success, Economics, and the Culture
Nov 12, 2018 • 30 min
We discuss the definitions of a successful life and how economics can inform those definitions. We also discuss Christianity’s appropriate role in defining the culture. Show notes: Lenore Skenazy’s Website How Then Should We…
Poverty vs Poverty of Spirit
Nov 5, 2018 • 31 min
As we are fond of saying here at the Gwartney Institute, Poverty Sucks!. It sucks the life and dignity out of people keeping them from being able to lead lives that flourish. We also have to keep in mind, though, that we are called to poverty of spirit.…
The Economics of Common Grace vs Saving Grace
Oct 31, 2018 • 32 min
In this episode we continue our discussion of “How Then Should We Work” by Hugh Whelchel of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. You can purchase Hugh’s book at the link below. Contact us: [email protected]
Shopping Religions? Economics of Checking Out Christianity First
Oct 29, 2018 • 40 min
In this episode we discuss the first part of “How Then Should We Work” by Hugh Whelchel of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. You can purchase Hugh’s book at the link below. Contact us: [email protected]