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

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

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 imbedded in various macro-, micro- and international economic theories and outlining a faithful response to them. Among the important ethical issues addressed are
  • possibilities and perils of economic growth
  • the role of government in the economy
  • the growth of work and loss of leisure
  • lending and borrowing
  • poverty and distributive justice
  • environmental stewardship
  • business and social responsibility
  • legalized gambling
  • the pornography industry
  • debt relief for less developed countries
  • the economics of immigration
  • population control
Keyed to seven of the most widely used introductory economics texts--Gwartney, Stroup and Sobel; Mankiw; Mansfield and Behravesh; McConnell and Brue; Miller; Samuelson and Nordhaus; and Stiglitz--this book will be especially useful for introductory courses in economics.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 6" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2002
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830826807  
ISBN13  9780830826803  

Availability  0 units.

More About John E. Stapleford

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Theory
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Business

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > Contemporary Issues

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

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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