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Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves: Applying Christian Ethics in Economics [Paperback]

By John E. Stapleford (Author) & Francis X. Tannian (Foreword by)
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Item description for Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves: Applying Christian Ethics in Economics by John E. Stapleford & Francis X. Tannian...

John Stapleford interacts with seven standard introductory economics texts to show how ethics are inextricably intertwined with economic life and analysis.

Publishers Description
Self-interest, economic efficiency and private property rights are among the most basic assumptions of market economics. But can an economic theory built on these assumptions alone provide adequate insight into human nature, motivation and ultimate goals to guide our economic life? John Stapleford says no, along with those economists who recognize the limits of their discipline. He insightfully shows us in detail how ethics are inextricably intertwined with economic life and analysis. Writing from a Christian ethical perspective, he interacts with seven standard introductory economics texts, exploring the moral challenges embedded in various macro-, micro- and international economic theories and outlining a faithful response to them. Keyed to seven of the most widely used introductory economics texts--Gwartney, Stroup & Sobel; Mankiw; Mansfield & Behravesh; McConnell & Brue; Miller; Samuelson & Nordhaus; and Stiglitz--this book will be especially useful for introductory courses in economics. This revised and expanded edition includes updated charts and graphs and three new chapters covering executive compensation, the effects of corruption and rural development.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Academic
Pages   282
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.06 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2009
Publisher   IVP Academic
ISBN  0830827242  
ISBN13  9780830827244  

Availability  0 units.

More About John E. Stapleford & Francis X. Tannian

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Reference > Ethics

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves: Applying Christian Ethics in Economics?

A Good Place to Start  Feb 5, 2010
In this second edition, additional chapters on executive compensation, corruption, and transformation development, as well as updating figures and arguments in each section enhanced the value of book, which ranges from basic foundations and assumptions to macroeconomic, microeconomic, and international issues.

There are several reasons why this book is an excellent introduction to a Christian ethics of economics. First, the range of issues covered is enormous, giving the reader ample subjects on which to ruminate and generating desire to dig deeper. Second, Stapleford covers general foundations, assumption, and principles of economics while also exploring specific issues such as interest, immigration, and gambling. Third, there is an effort to place these general principles and specific issues within the overarching biblical story of creation-fall-redemption-consummation, rather than simply proof-texting verses in support of economic positions. Fourth, a unique aspect of this book is that almost every chapter contains valuable historical perspective on the issue being discussed. Rather than diving directly into theory, Stapleford gives relevant background information inevitably shaping the contemporary discussion. Fifth, Stapleford steers clear of false dilemmas such as either wealth or distributive justice, and does not fall prey to toting the conservative or liberal platform. Stapleford charts a level-headed approach that will challenge and enrich both conservatives and liberals.

Despite these strengths, certain weaknesses emerged as I read through Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves. First, even though the first chapter lays an excellent foundation in the story of Scripture, it seems that frequently the modus operandi for determining the Christian perspective is proof-texting and principlizing rather than plotting our place within this story. Stapleford admits that some truths persist over time and others change according to cultural context (Cf. 128), but he does not maintain a consistent methodology to help us discern the difference. Second, although this is an introduction to a Christian ethics of economics, it seems to me that Stapleford is trying to cover too much. As a result, he can mention general suggestions for Christian economic life in a capitalist culture (e.g: "fight against the personal pull toward materialism, follow Biblical priorities and principles with respect to worship, family, work and charity, and participate actively in Christian community where the emotional and material needs of other are met," 67), but we are left longing for more practical suggestions. The discussion questions, however, do point toward more practical applicability and would enhance the experience of reading this material.

In sum, I recommend Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves as an interesting introduction to the task of applying Christian ethics in economics. Even though I would choose a different method and disagree with certain conclusions Stapleford articulates, it still provides a valuable foundation for a Christian approach to economics and a unique perspective on several critical issues on which Christians should not be silent.
Amazingly Accurate  Mar 26, 2008
Bulls, Bears, and Golden Calves is an amazing text. I read this book while in Macroeconomics class and I have to say that it is amazing. This book really applies biblical principles to economics in today's world. It is scripturally sound and has some excellent advice on how Christians are to conduct themselves in economic and financial ways. It also discusses how the economy is affected by our choices, which in turn are affected by our relationship (or the lack thereof) with Christ. It is really astonishing how much the Bible actually discusses economic standards with truth. This book points those facts out.

This book is brilliant and highly recommended for everyone, especially business students, economists, and Christians.

Christian Fobian, Author of "Why Christ?"
Powerful Biblical Wisdom  Feb 1, 2008
This book is a rich and comprehensive source of solid biblical wisdom on the challenging economic issues facing human society. I use "Bulls, Bears & Golden Calves" to complement our standard secular textbook in the introductory economics course I teach at a Christian college. My students seem to connect very well with Professor Stapleford's presentation of the issues.

In this life, Christians will never be immune from the human struggle for daily bread. But Professor Stapleford demonstrates that we can live out our faith with compassion and mercy, even in a world driven by economics. And he demonstrates that free market capitalism, while far from perfect, is nonetheless the most powerful and effective system yet devised to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people.

While I might not personally agree with Professor Stapleford on every issue he addresses, I commend the thoroughness of his scholarship and the clarity of his thinking. This book is a powerful tool for the Christian seeking to reconcile faith with economic reality in an integrated, biblical, Christ-honoring manner.
Is Christianity really interested in an equitable economy? (2.5*s)  Nov 8, 2006
Ethics - that is, right and wrong - are not ordinarily considerations for economists when analyzing current economic functioning or in proposing measures for the future, although legal standards must be adhered to. This book is a rather uncertain effort to suggest the position that Christians should take concerning some of the aspects of economic life that are contrary to Christian ideals.

The author basically accepts a capitalist, free-market economy based on private property and control and geared to constant growth with highly unequal outcomes as the only legitimate economic form. But it becomes immediately evident that an economy based on self-interest produces outcomes and side-effects that do not comport well with Christian ideals. Laissez-faire capitalist economies cannot produce any where near enough dignified jobs that permit all who can work to be lifted out of poverty and become full members of Christian society - a significant concern of Jesus. At this point the author is unsure where to turn. He suggests that Christians should personally give voluntarily sufficient resources to alleviate poverty, yet he also seems to lend vague support to government initiatives despite an expressed reluctance for governmental intervention in the economy.

In addition to the goods and services produced that make for a viable society, capitalistic enterprise also can degrade the environment and create hugely profitable businesses based on pornography and gambling with deplorable social consequences.

The book leaves much doubt as to whether Christians should be that concerned about the state of capitalistic economies and their impacts on people. In the first place, Christianity eschews materialism, preferring to focus on a greater end. If Christians are "aliens and strangers on earth," as the author suggests, where is the incentive for remedial efforts? Furthermore, any efforts to plan for a better outcome are criticized as arrogant for failing to note that mankind consists of self-centered sinners. Perhaps the otherworldliness of Christianity and the rejection of empowered reasonable men is why the author does not really assess whether Christians are now addressing the deleterious consequences of capitalistic economies or make any concrete proposals as to how a Christian perspective can become ingrained in an economic system that focuses almost exclusively on profits.

Curiously, the author actually analyzes the ramifications of laissez-faire capitalism quite well. The Structural Adjustment Policies that the IMF and the World Bank forced on developing nations that got into debt trouble in the 1970s and later are disgraceful. The huge inequalities resulting in very widespread poverty that are a part of the US economy are plainly laid out. However, in the face of all of this evidence concerning the dark side of capitalism, the author's reluctance to recommend more vigorous actions, even major revamping of our economic system, is not really understandable. Apparently, Christianity is not really meant to help mankind while on earth.

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