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Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Economics Archives

Bad economy! Bad, bad economy!

posted by Rod Dreher

Take this tour through some recent economic charts from the Federal Reserve to get a picture of how terrible our economy really is. Seriously, it’s staggering stuff.

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An amazing teen gardener

posted by Rod Dreher

Alexandra Reau is not yet old enough to drive, and just look: Lawn mowing and baby-sitting are standard summer jobs for the enterprising teenager. Alexandra Reau, who is 14, combines a little bit of each: last year, she asked her […]

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How bad is unemployment? Duck!

posted by Rod Dreher

Given those gruesome numers, why are we even arguing about whether or not to extend unemployment benefits? Via Scott Winship, who said looking at this chart made him “much more sympathetic” to the idea of extending unemployment benefits.

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What if we don’t grow economically?

posted by Rod Dreher

People like me, who chafe at the “no limits” ideology that characterizes contemporary America, rarely if ever think about what life would be like if we ceased to have economic growth. Well, Nate Hagens over at the Oil Drum has […]

Wine and the value of Value

posted by Rod Dreher

I invite you to go into the comboxes in the latest PA wine thread, in which I’m arguing with commenter Andrew about the crazy Pennsylvania wine laws. The whole thread is worth reading, I think, for full context. Here’s something […]

PA state wine commissars tech FAIL

posted by Rod Dreher

Just look at this thing. It’s a vending machine for wine, now being tried out in Philadelphia. As regular readers and/or PA residents know, this state has a Soviet-style liquor-purchasing system in which you have to buy all wine from […]

‘The rich are different: they are more ruthless.’

posted by Rod Dreher

Data suggest that the rich are different from you and me: Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the […]

Tierney to win peak oil bet

posted by Rod Dreher

In 2005, NYT columnist John Tierney bet a large sum of money with Houston oil guru Matt Simmons, on the future of peak oil. Tierney, a peak oil doubter, bet that the average price of a barrel of oil for […]

Who cares where LeBron James goes?

posted by Rod Dreher

As I type this, a nation of basketball fans are watching an ESPN program devoted to where man-child LeBron James, who is extraordinarily gifted at throwing balls through elevated circles, will choose to work for the next few years, during […]

Whole Foods vs. Mom

posted by Rod Dreher

A Chicago mom who is a university teacher and regular Whole Foods shopper got confused trying to leave the store one day with kids in tow, and says she accidentally forgot to pay for a jar of vitamins — this, […]

Moynihan, decline of family, social chaos

posted by Rod Dreher

Reihan Salam’s piece on the future of American family structure put me in mind of an episode of the Diane Rehm show I listened to yesterday. Diane’s guest was historian James Patterson, discussing his book “Freedom Is Not Enough,” a […]

Dave, the face of unemployment in my neighborhood

posted by Rod Dreher

I live in a fairly prosperous part of the Philadelphia area. It’s not obvious at all here who is suffering from unemployment. In fact, I wouldn’t even know the man I’ll call Dave is part of the long-term unemployed if […]

Crunchy cons as Mensheviks, not Bolsheviks

posted by Rod Dreher

First Things’ David Mills comments on the failed Radical Homemaker essay that we talked about here the other day. Excerpt: Living something like the life Hayes describes has its attractions, in theory, at least for someone brought up as I […]

Coming: Dow 1,000?

posted by Rod Dreher

With his column saying that we may be inside a pessimism bubble destined to burst, Ross Douthat was trying to cheer me and my gloomer tribe up. Douthat FAIL! He introduced me to this recent NYT profile on stock forecaster […]

In praise of small houses

posted by Rod Dreher

As readers of my book “Crunchy Cons” know, I’m a big fan of small houses. Architectural historian Jayne Merkel thinks we Age of Austerity folks have a lot to re-learn about the virtues of small houses. Excerpt: In an era […]

The Great Recession resetting American life

posted by Rod Dreher

That’s what Richard Florida calls this current economic period, compared to those in the past. Excerpt: While some do not want to face the looming reality, it is becoming clearer every single day that what we face is not any […]

The death of the Western middle class

posted by Rod Dreher

John Robb says that’s the real social and economic story now. The postwar creation of a broad middle class in America allowed for stability because it provided a broad base for prosperity and creativity. But that’s going away, he believes. […]

Greece: Broken economy, broken culture

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a long, informative report from Greece, painting an unsettling portrait of a country at the beginning of harsh austerity. What’s particularly interesting is the story’s look at how Greek cultural and political habits caused the country’s economic troubles — […]

When austerity is the lesser evil

posted by Rod Dreher

Megan McArdle, referencing the NYT piece on how hard fiscal austerity has been on Ireland, makes an important point: Austerity is an expensive form of insurance against a true fiscal crisis. And though it doesn’t necessarily seem like it when […]

Krugman: Here’s the next Great Depression

posted by Rod Dreher

What I know about economics is next to nothing; no economics Cult of the Amateur here! But I cannot wrap my mind around the argument Paul Krugman has been making, namely that we are dead wrong to cut spending in […]

A world of debt

posted by Rod Dreher

Here’s a pretty sobering interactive map of the overall debt (public + private) of many industrialized countries, coming out of the financial crash. As bad off as you think America is, we’re in much better shape than Britain and Japan. […]

Going broke as an op-ed writer

posted by Rod Dreher

The great libertarian thinker Charles Murray was paid $75 for an NYT op-ed piece. He writes: Not that anyone has ever paid the mortgage by writing op-eds, but $75 for 800 words written for The Greatest Newspaper In the World […]

Marx rising in China?

posted by Rod Dreher

Walter Russell Mead takes note of tectonic, and potentially terrifying, changes in China as that nation rushes from an agricultural society to an industrial one. Excerpts: Bewildered by urban life, desperate to win some kind of a foothold, living from […]

John Robb doesn’t like your future

posted by Rod Dreher

It’s been days since a gloomy, doomy post from me, so I’ve got to make up for it by going a little nutsy referencing stuff from warfare theorist John Robb’s blog, Global Guerrillas. For starters, here’s an interview Robb did […]

Sorry, but you will not retire

posted by Rod Dreher

Me neither. We’ll all be working at least till age 70. Michael Schrage at the Harvard Business Review has something he’d like us all to do to assess our future prospects: Everyone reading this should take 15 hard minutes to […]

Oil spill: Do we need another hero?

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve decided not to comment on Obama’s oil spill speech, because I haven’t been able to figure out how to appraise it without slip-sliding into a political analysis, and I don’t want to do that on this blog. But I […]

Life according to Seventeen magazine

posted by Rod Dreher

From The Seventeen Magazine Project, by small-town Pennsylvania high school senior Jamie Keiles, who is living for one month according to the teen mag’s prescription of how girls her age should live. It’s a kind of brilliant analysis of how […]

A trillion here, a trillion there…

posted by Rod Dreher

Now it might cost up to $1 trillion to rescue Fannie and Freddie, in what one insider calls “the mother of all bailouts.” James Poulos says: It’s one thing for a government to spend more money than we have. It’s […]

Dear Britons, kindly shut up about BP

posted by Rod Dreher

Clive Crook is a Washington-based British journalist who is none too fond of the way President Obama has handled the oil disaster. But he is advising his countrymen to shut up their whining whinging about how mean angry Americans are […]

Unobtanium discovered in Afghanistan!

posted by Rod Dreher

I told a friend the news that the U.S. has discovered vast mineral wealth in Afghanistan. She said sarcastically, “Oh great, now we get to ‘Avatar’ those people” — by which she meant that the U.S. stands to economically colonize […]

Gold as safe haven: do you believe?

posted by Rod Dreher

The New York Times reports that scary times are turning people into goldbugs. Excerpt: And gold bugs, often dismissed as crackpots who hoard gold bars in the basement, are finally having their day. “I just think you’re in a world […]

Britons, has BP oil occluded your minds?

posted by Rod Dreher

I am truly amazed that so many Brits actually think American anger at BP is rooted in anti-British prejudice. But here’s the otherwise intelligent Geoffrey Wheatcroft going off like a tabloid loony in a loony tabloid: Has the worm turned […]

Maybe you shouldn’t own a house

posted by Rod Dreher

Joe Nocera says the American dream of home ownership is one from which we ought to wake up. Excerpt: [FDIC chair Sheila Bair] also pointed out that during the bubble, when anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage, the […]

Taleb: ‘World, prepare for austerity’

posted by Rod Dreher

‘Black Swan’ author Nassim Nicholas Taleb tells CNBC that the big hangover from debt binging is upon us. Excerpt: The economic situation today is drastically worse than a couple years ago, and the euro is doomed as a concept, Nassim […]

Tim the Tesco Tory

posted by Rod Dreher

My British friend Tim Montgomerie sticks up for the UK supermarket chain Tesco. Excerpts: If I was to draw up a list of ten people who had most helped the poor in the past few decades, near the top of […]

Ending the Too Big To Fail threat

posted by Rod Dreher

Richard Fisher, a former commercial banker who is now head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, has delivered a powerful speech denouncing the financial reform bill soon to be sent to the president’s desk as toothless. He also attacks […]

Cameron: UK faces ‘decades’ of austerity

posted by Rod Dreher

The Prime Minister today gave a deeply gloomy speech laying out what Britons now face. Excerpt: Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that Britain’s financial situation was “even worse than we thought” and that the country would have to make […]

For Louisiana, BP oil spill is rolling apocalypse

posted by Rod Dreher

Right now, the oil spill focus is on the junk moving through Louisiana’s marshes and estuaries, and on the gut-wrenching images of oil-soaked pelicans struggling to survive. But it’s worth thinking about how the BP oil spill is going to […]

Oil spill: This is Louisiana

posted by Rod Dreher

I, for one, would like to thank BP and U.S. government regulators for making possible the following image from coastal Louisiana: See all the photos in AP photographer Charlie Riedel’s heart-rending series. And think of Louisiana. UPDATE: You really should […]

US Gov’t: Surprise! Peak oil is here

posted by Rod Dreher

From Econbrowser, these remarks by Steven Kopits, a New York energy consultant: The EIA, the statistics arm of the US Department of Energy, recently released its International Energy Outlook (IEO) for 2010. This is an important document for forecasters, as […]

The limits of prediction and action

posted by Rod Dreher

I sometimes wonder why people live in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. Not that they aren’t lovely places (San Francisco much more so than L.A., but I like both), but surely the knowledge that a massive earthquake could strike […]

Global warming and the dim fate of wine

posted by Rod Dreher

Yes, there are far more serious things to be concerned about re: global warming than the fate of the wine industry, says Steven Kolpan — but it’s not nothing. Kolpan writes that we’re already seeing big and deleterious changes in […]

Louisiana, oil spill is your fault too

posted by Rod Dreher

So says columnist James Gill in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, citing the way the state has been governed for years not with the public’s interest in mind, but with the interests of the oil companies. Excerpt: We have so much […]

Food! Summer! Farmers! Greens!

posted by Rod Dreher

Just back from our neighborhood farmer’s market, carrying three sacks full of kale, chard, lettuce and turnip greens. Also bought two tomatoes — it’s early for them yet, but I’m dying for some fresh tomato — and a jar of […]

Crushing burden of student loan debt

posted by Rod Dreher

Parents of Earth, read this New York Times column! Excerpt: Like many middle-class families, Cortney Munna and her mother began the college selection process with a grim determination. They would do whatever they could to get Cortney into the best […]

Adventures with Britain’s undeserving poor

posted by Rod Dreher

When I posted something earlier about the anonymous UK social worker blogger Winston Smith, several of you thought his blog sounded like a sham. Well, here’s a report in The Guardian about him and his work. Excerpt: What inspired you […]

Shame on these stupid, selfish poor people

posted by Rod Dreher

Nicholas Kristof: There’s an ugly secret of global poverty, one rarely acknowledged by aid groups or U.N. reports. It’s a blunt truth that is politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating and ubiquitous: It’s that if the poorest families spent as much money […]

Stock market: Seems like old times

posted by Rod Dreher

A short, scary video by Karl Denninger:UPDATE: More cheery economic analysis from the Daily Telegraph’s Edmund Conway: Mervyn King, the Bank of England Governor, summed it up best: “Dealing with a banking crisis was difficult enough,” he said the other […]

Did top-kill get the real oil spill hole?

posted by Rod Dreher

Oil industry expert Matt Simmons makes a pretty disturbing case for why the leak BP is showing on its video could not be the real leak — which he argues from the evidence is far worse than what they’re letting […]

What if there is no oil spill fix?

posted by Rod Dreher

The other night I took the train home from Washington. I found it frustrating that there was only one train to Philadelphia within a large-ish swath of time, and frustrating that I had to wait on a train at 30th […]

The Grasshoppers and the Ants

posted by Rod Dreher

FT’s Martin Wolf analyzes the international debt crisis among nations by creating a modern fable: “The Grasshoppers and the Ants”

Ask yourself: Is this economic recovery real?

posted by Rod Dreher

Consumer confidence and spending is up, as are new home sales. Good news, right? Clusterstock has 25 questions to put to people who think the economic recovery is real. Among them: In what universe is an economy with 39.68 million […]

That Weimar feeling

posted by Rod Dreher

Another bad day at the market: As investors had feared for months, the uncertainty broadened Tuesday from Greece’s fiscal troubles to those in other European countries and exacerbated concerns about the health of the global economy. “If there was a […]

Gulf of Mexico as BP’s slop bucket

posted by Rod Dreher

I sat in the car in the parking garage of my office this morning, listening to an LSU scientist talk about the oil spill on a radio show. He said that before this is over, we could see oil onshore […]

Top 10 economic meltdown lessons

posted by Rod Dreher

Sorry for yesterday’s light posting, and this morning’s. I was traveling in Washington yesterday, and had no access to the laptop. And I didn’t get home till midnight. Have mercy! Anyway, via The Browser, which you should be checking at […]

Fun with Pennsylvania Soviet wine shopping

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m going to spare you all another rant about the idiotic system of state-run wine and spirits stores in Pennsylvania. You know the drill: the state holds a monopoly on wine and spirits sales, making all clerks in the state-run […]

The economy and revolution

posted by Rod Dreher

John Robb believes that the second Great Depression is already upon us, but is playing out in different ways, owing to globalization. He sees political instability rising as sovereign governments cannot provide for their own people, and/or protect them from […]

What would you pay at pay-what-you-want?

posted by Rod Dreher

Heard about these pay-what-you-want restaurants? No prices, just pay what you think you should. It’s a fascinating experiment in psychology. According to the AP report about an outlet of the Panera Bread Co. restaurant operating under this model: The pilot […]

Great Depression II? Or another lost decade?

posted by Rod Dreher

The stock market continues its dramatic slide today. Sounds like folks are getting spooked: Bill Gross of bond fund Pimco said that hedge funds were starting to liquidate their positions in a bid to preserve their capital – a worrying […]

Niall Ferguson: The metrics of doom

posted by Rod Dreher

If you have some time, you really need to watch the Niarchos lecture that Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson just delivered, on the economic crisis. If really pressed for time, start watching at about the 29 minute point, through to […]

The Current Crisis Theory of Everything

posted by Rod Dreher

You regular readers know that I have said here that I see a connection between the obesity crisis and the indebtedness crisis in the US — and that that connection is a moral refusal, conscious or unconscious, to live within […]

While populists fiddle, Rome consolidates power

posted by Rod Dreher

Ross Douthat writes a very important column observing that for all the populist anxiety about the consolidation of power in the hands of governmental and financial elites and the accompanying theatrics, power is inexorably moving toward the top and the […]

So much for the European dream

posted by Rod Dreher

Urbanist Joel Kotkin is not bullish on Europe’s future, especially southern Europe. Excerpt: In stating the case for European superiority, much has been made by boosters of Europe’s different institutional framework, tax or regulatory structure. No question these have advantages […]

Globalization, false gods and freedom

posted by Rod Dreher

I’ve been reading around in this great new book just out from Templeton Press, “New Threats to Freedom,” a compendium of essays from noted writers across the political spectrum who write about things they identify as a danger to liberty. […]

David Cameron, the Generation X world leader

posted by Rod Dreher

The new British prime minister is the first major world leader who comes from my generation. He is 43. I am 43. Anybody care to venture how a Gen X world leader will be different, both in style and substance, […]

No easy villains in Gulf oil spill

posted by Rod Dreher

Lisa Margonelli delivers the discomfiting truth that there are probably no easy villains in the Gulf oil spill disaster — and what that means for our reliance on “easy” oil. Excerpt: Where did that oil spill go? We’ve got millions […]

World War IV & the end of globalization

posted by Rod Dreher

I mentioned in the previous post that a foreign correspondent friend had e-mailed to say, worryingly, that the extreme left was gaining credibility in Greece right now, as a result of economic turmoil. Michael Lind now has a piece up […]

Greece and the coming Eurostate

posted by Rod Dreher

Anne Applebaum is rattled by what’s just gone down in Greece. Excerpts: Here in front of me, I have a draft version of the Council of the European Union’s most recent “decision” on Greece. It isn’t a classified document. Bits […]

Here comes the European superstate

posted by Rod Dreher

A chilling but plausible (to my untrained eye) account of how the stricken markets are forcing the erosion of national sovereignty in Europe. Paul Mason interprets the European Central Bank and its creation of the massive bailout package over the […]

How the nation-state ends

posted by Rod Dreher

John Robb believes we’re witnessing not merely an economic crisis, but also a tectonic shift in human history. Excerpt: Instead, the current sovereign debt crisis is about something much more interesting: it’s another battle in a war for dominance between […]

This troubling Eurozone weekend

posted by Rod Dreher

While I’m busy freebasing Claritin and you’re doing that thing you do on the weekend, some very, very important things are happening in Europe that will likely bear on our immediate future in the US. Today in the German state […]

Greece & the global sovereign debt black hole

posted by Rod Dreher

Der Spiegel on the stakes now unfolding in Greece and the Eurozone: The banking crisis has turned into a crisis of entire nations, and the subprime mortgage bubble into a government debt bubble. This is why precisely the same questions […]

More U.S. unwed mothers than ever

posted by Rod Dreher

New Pew research reveals the changing state of American motherhood. A record 41 percent of all U.S. births are now to unmarried women — this, up from 28 percent in 1990. Half the children born to Hispanics are to single […]

Newsweek is dying; what’s being born?

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m sorry to see that Newsweek is for sale, because I hate to see journalists lose their jobs — and yes, I know that it’s only for sale, not shutting down, but come on, I think we all know where […]

Hung UK parliament today, market hangs tomorrow?

posted by Rod Dreher

UK exit polling says the British are headed for a hung parliament. The Tories will have a heavy plurality of seats, but not enough for an outright majority. This is bad news economically; the fiscal situation in Britain requires strong […]

Greece today, America tomorrow?

posted by Rod Dreher

Greece is exploding over the harsh austerity plan they’re going to have to accept as a condition of their bailout. The general strike marks the broadest challenge to date to the government of Mr. Papandreou, which is pressed to pass […]

Cutting the cable/satellite TV cord

posted by Rod Dreher

The next big thing, reports CNN: Despite rising cable and satellite TV prices and easy access to streaming TV and movies on the Internet, few consumers have cut the cord. But that looks like it’s about to change. One in […]

Niall Ferguson has bad news for Brits, non-Chinese

posted by Rod Dreher

The Harvard historian and scholar will ruin your day with this interview he did with the Vancouver Sun. Excerpts: Q What are your thoughts on the U.K. economic situation as it relates to the election? A The situation of the […]

How BP greenwashes me and thee

posted by Rod Dreher

I passed a British Petroleum gas station today, for the first time since the Gulf oil spill. I took special notice of the sunny, green and green-friendly logo on the big plastic sign out front, and thought once again about […]

Zorba the Tax Cheat

posted by Rod Dreher

Once again, the German taxpayer is to be greatly pitied for having to bail out Greece, which deserves to be taken the the woodshed. Check out this NYT story: ATHENS — In the wealthy, northern suburbs of this city, where […]

Last train out of Venice

posted by Rod Dreher

A report from Venice, La, a fishing center and ground zero for the fight to save the coast from the oil slick. Meanwhile, a friend in south Mississippi just e-mailed: I just finished my lunch of boiled crabs and beer, […]

Steve Jobs hates Flash. Here’s the secret why.

posted by Rod Dreher

Did you read Steve Jobs’ letter explaining why he’s down on Adobe’s Flash? I got bogged down and bored by it. But this analysis by Charlie Stross is anything but boring. Excerpt: If you’re using an iPad in 2015, my […]

Oil spill catastrophe a game changer?

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Andy Revkin’s blog, a Drexel University professor speculates as to how the rolling disaster unfolding in the Gulf will play out: This could have an enormous political impact. That type of spill size will eventually reach recreational areas, and […]

Hey Aspie, you might get rich!

posted by Rod Dreher

Via Jonah Lehrer, here’s a Vanity Fair excerpt from Michael Lewis’s new book, in which a one-eyed California man who always thought his social awkwardness was due to his partial blindness, and who stumbled into becoming a very rich investor. […]

Culture and epistemic closure

posted by Rod Dreher

Tired of the epistemic closure discussion? Me neither. A Texas reader sends along this post from the excellent science writer/blogger Jonah Lehrer, who discusses how becoming enculturated within a particular group involves epistemic closure. Excerpt: The process of enculturation doesn’t […]

Elites and their private contempt

posted by Rod Dreher

John O’Sullivan, commenting on Gordon Brown’s gaffe: What makes this much more than simply embarrassing for Labour is that it illustrates the private contempt of Left elites for ordinary Labour voters, with their old-fashioned patriotic and conservative social prejudices on […]

Gulf catastrophe perhaps worst oil spill ever

posted by Rod Dreher

A Canadian oil spill expert tells the BBC today that the Louisiana oil spill is going to dwarf the Exxon Valdez disaster, and with the possible exception of the Kuwait oil field fires following the first Gulf War, will be […]

Greece and moral hazard

posted by Rod Dreher

The Greek economic crisis is quickly spreading. Today, Spain’s debt was downgraded, which is a much bigger deal than Greece’s woes. But Greece is loping steadily toward sovereign default. A Greece rescue plan is said to cost a staggering 100 […]

Too big to fail? Or too big to succeed?

posted by Rod Dreher

I finally got around last weekend to listening to a recent This American Life broadcast about the NUMMI plant. Here’s the promo text: Host Ira Glass introduces the story of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., aka NUMMI. In 1984, […]

Is the Greek family wrecking Greece’s economy?

posted by Rod Dreher

Yes, says a Greek economic exile. Excerpt: Upward of 75 percent of Greek businesses are family-owned. Most are small and rely on family labor, which is as flexible as it gets — in practice, no minimum-wage or maximum-hour laws apply. […]

Who in power will speak the truth?

posted by Rod Dreher

David Rieff was in Dublin for the Easter 1916 commemoration, and listened to a military chaplain speak at the official ceremony, delivering what David calls a “brave homily” addressing the ethical collapse of the nation during its recent economic boom, […]

SEC: Goldman Sachs are fraudsters

posted by Rod Dreher

O happy day: Goldman Sachs, which emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis, was accused of securities fraud in a civil suit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment […]

The evolution of TV watching

posted by Rod Dreher

Niraj Chokshi: Almost one fourth of people under 25 now watch most of their TV online. The authors of a new survey estimate that 800,000 U.S. households got rid of their cable subscriptions last year, and expect the number to […]

Why are inner-city Americans poor?

posted by Rod Dreher

Heather Mac Donald, writing in City Journal, criticizes a New York City program to help the poor by giving them cash rewards for constructive behavior, saying it’s built on a misunderstanding of why inner-city Americans (versus, say, Mexicans) are poor. […]

Sex-mad society scapegoats the Catholic Church

posted by Rod Dreher

News from the world of sexualizing children: PRIMARK have today stopped selling padded bikinis for seven-year-olds in a victory for The Sun. The discount fashion chain began clearing the shelves of the £4 bikini sets after shocked parents slammed the […]

Accountability and its conspicuous lack

posted by Rod Dreher

Father Tom Reese, S.J., has a good column in America suggesting how the European bishops can and should learn from the painful experience of the American bishops in our Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis. Excerpt: Finally, the American bishops excused […]

Tiger Woods: Integrity for sale, cheap

posted by Rod Dreher

Tiger Woods hits bottom, digs:Preach it, Favog: Tiger Woods is a wreck. His family is a bigger wreck because of Tiger’s appetite for fresh meat. And now Nike gets the perpetrator in a tabloid tragedy to trade on his sins […]

Consumers are more confident — why not you?

posted by Rod Dreher

Floyd Norris discusses why many people are still bearish despite improving economic numbers. Who dares to be truly confident in the recovery with all that public debt piled up like snow on the side of a steep mountain, just waiting […]

John Gray: Red Toryism won’t work

posted by Rod Dreher

The English conservative philosopher John Gray reviews Philip Blond’s “Red Tory,” and finds it wanting. He judges that Blond’s economic prescriptions would require a level of protectionism that is completely unrealistic. Plus: The real objections to the programme set out […]

Lithuanians more grown up than Americans?

posted by Rod Dreher

Will at the League reflects on the painful austerity measures the government of Lithuania undertook to balance its books, and how the Lithuanian people, who remember how hard life was under Soviet occupation, are bearing up stoically. Excerpt: Are we […]

Your age = your views on market, morals

posted by Rod Dreher

…because, says this surprisingly detailed analysis from the dating site (!) OkCupid, people swing wildly in their economic and social views depending on age. Excerpt: » Both socially and economically, teenagers prefer an anything-goes type situation. » But as these […]

Stewart Brand: Underpopulation hurts the environment

posted by Rod Dreher

A Chicago area reader passes along a Boston Globe Ideas section Q&A in which Stewart Brand, pioneering environmentalist and author of “The Whole Earth Catalog,” sounds the alarm about the dangers of underpopulation. Excerpt: IDEAS: So as people start to […]

A foodie paradox: It’s expensive to eat poor

posted by Rod Dreher

Lovely story from today’s NYT food section about Darina Allen, an Irish woman who has worked hard to bring back traditional Irish cooking. Excerpt: “Using elements of native cuisine in a white-tablecloth setting was totally new in Ireland at the […]

Broken arm, broken health care system

posted by Rod Dreher

Lucas, my six-year-old, broke his arm running down the sidewalk a couple of weeks back. He had to go get a cast the next day at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but that afternoon, he was treated by a hospital closer […]

Getting good, healthy food cheap

posted by Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan links to a post in which the writer discloses the secret of eating exotically and well for cheap. Excerpt: People are always railing, of course, about how people on food stamps don’t buy enough healthy food. But heaven […]

Economics as if people existed

posted by Rod Dreher

David Brooks writes today about how economists failed to understand the behavior leading up to the crash — and why. Excerpt: In Act IV, in other words, economists are taking baby steps into the world of emotion, social relationships, imagination, […]

Farmers markets should be consumer-friendly

posted by Rod Dreher

So says food guru Joel Salatin, who argues that farmers markets have a lot to learn from supermarkets. Excerpt: The one-stop shop model works. We just need to figure out what a truly transparent, localized one-stop shop looks like. Once […]

Food stamps at … Whole Foods?!

posted by Rod Dreher

And you thought people on food stamps only bought buckets o’ crap: “I’m sort of a foodie, and I’m not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing,” he said, fondly remembering a recent meal he’d prepared of roasted rabbit […]

Social Security going broke faster

posted by Rod Dreher

For the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits this year than it will have taken in — a threshold on the way to the system’s insolvency that Social Security wasn’t expected to reach till 2016. […]

Dhimmitude at the drive-thru?

posted by Rod Dreher

A British customer of KFC is irate because his local KFC wouldn’t serve him a sandwich with bacon on it. Excerpt: The company has taken the burger off the menu because Islamic dietary law forbids Muslims to eat anything which […]

If lovin’ Walmart is wrong, he don’t wanna be right

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in the (liberal) Texas Observer, Joe Lansdale, who lives in a small Texas town, says he used to think badly of Walmart, but now has changed his mind. Excerpt: Why am I defensive about Walmart? Let me tell you […]

Two cheers for Red Toryism

posted by Rod Dreher

Phillip Blond played to a packed house at Villanova last night. In the audience was our longtime blog friend Franklin Evans, who turned me into a newt, then joshingly relented. A good time was had by all, I think. Having […]

Is the health care light an oncoming train?

posted by Rod Dreher

I don’t have a strong opinion about the health care debate, which has now been resolved in the Democrats’ favor. Sorry. I think we have a lousy system now, but I have serious doubts about this reform, especially coming as […]

Red Toryism lands in America

posted by Rod Dreher

Greetings from Georgetown, where we heard tonight the English public intellectual Philip Blond introduce Red Toryism to an American audience. Blond is an engaging speaker and and real optimist about the possibility of positive political change (at dinner tonight after […]

USA: Broke and in dangerous decline

posted by Rod Dreher

So foresees the Joint Operating Environment 2010 report released this week by the U.S. military, at least absent urgent and massive change. The JOE sees American government indebtedness, which is going to get far worse with the entitlements crisis on […]

Red Tory Philip Blond at Georgetown

posted by Rod Dreher

Longtime readers may recall my blogging last year about the work of Philip Blond, the English theologian and political economist who advocates “Red Toryism,” a conservative middle way advocating for a strong civil society to mediate between the excesses of […]

UK economy to hit bottom, dig

posted by Rod Dreher

So says John Lanchester in this compulsively readable London Review of Books piece, which you might not be able to put down (so to speak) even if you know diddly-squat about the British economy. The passage about the coming cuts […]

The Decline and Fall of Basicland

posted by Rod Dreher

In a brief about the religion of capitalism, David Rieff points us to this parable from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s longtime investment partner, who imagines Basicland, a spendthrift nation that ignored the wisdom of self-discipline and thus could not arrest […]

Mexican stoicism, American optimism

posted by Rod Dreher

In a melancholy meditation on the deeply flawed character of Cesar Chavez, Richard Rodriguez offers this: The speech Chavez had written during his hunger strike of 1968, wherein he compared the UFW to David fighting Goliath, announced the Mexican ­theme: […]

The unsentimental Bill Gross

posted by Rod Dreher

Pimco founder Bill Gross, king of the bond traders, talks tough about economic reality. Excerpt: Markets will be downsized by regulation [he says], even if governments are slow in applying new laws. “The sun is not setting on Wall Street […]

Suburban sprawl: a statist invention

posted by Rod Dreher

Austin Bramwell cannot figure out why libertarians and conservatives like suburban sprawl. Excerpt: It’s odd that self-described libertarians such as Stossel are so slow to grasp that government planning makes sprawl ubiquitous. You would think that libertarians would instinctively grasp […]

The Great Deconstruction

posted by Rod Dreher

Don’t feel too sorry for Greece in its financial agony. Get a load of this: ATHENS — Vasia Veremi may be only 28, but as a hairdresser in Athens, she is keenly aware that, under a current law that treats […]

White Barbie, black Barbie, blue Walmart

posted by Rod Dreher

Poor Walmart. Yes, you read that right: the Crunchy Con officially feels sorry for Walmart this afternoon. Why? This nonsense: Walmart is raising eyebrows after cutting the price of a black Barbie doll to nearly half of that of the […]

The free market vs. moral character

posted by Rod Dreher

Jonah Goldberg doesn’t like the way we at Templeton framed our recent symposium discussion, “Does the free market erode moral character?” Excerpt: I love the Templeton Foundation and I think they do fantastic work. But questions like “Does the Free […]

PA’s crazypants liquor police strike again

posted by Rod Dreher

Having solved the problem of violent crime in the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania liquor police swung into action this weekend. Get a load of this: More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three […]

Go, Iceland, go!

posted by Rod Dreher

So, let me get this straight. Icelandic bankers behaved very badly, collapsing their country’s banking system, and losing the money of scores of British and Dutch overseas depositors. The British and Dutch governments could have said to their unlucky citizens, […]

Resolved: Never, ever buy food from China

posted by Rod Dreher

What is wrong with that country? Excerpt: Since late February, batches of cowpeas from the lush Sanya area of the island of Hainan have tested positive for a highly toxic pesticide, isocarbophos, that is banned from use on fruits and […]

The crisis next time

posted by Rod Dreher

Panel of top economists, financiers and former regulators warns that the financial meltdown of 2008 may have been just the beginning. Excerpt: In the report, the panel, that includes Rob Johnson of the United Nations Commission of Experts on Finance […]

Fewer jobs, fewer baby boys

posted by Rod Dreher

A new University of California study finds a rise in miscarriages of frail male children. Why? Look: The researchers, led by Ralph Catalano and Claire Margerison Zilko, write that the previously reported health effects of economic insecurity may “represent only […]

Is America going to fall?

posted by Rod Dreher

Was having lunch with a friend today, who mentioned a couple of “declinist” commentators, who are exceptionally gloomy and doomy. I raised my hand and said that I’m in the strange position of being a declinist, but one who is […]

Why I hate buying wine in PA

posted by Rod Dreher

I had reason yesterday afternoon to go into our local Soviet Socialist Keystone State Wine Shop — in Pennsylvania, you’ll recall, you can only buy wine and spirits at a state-run store — looking for a bottle of dry Riesling. […]

Why people hate banks

posted by Rod Dreher

Er, wow: Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin. The police in Greece pushed back against demonstrators on Wednesday […]

How not to analyze religion

posted by Rod Dreher

I was surprised to come across my own name in Samuel G. Freedman’s religion column this past Saturday in the NYT. Freedman wrote a piece saying that voodoo is misunderstood and unfairly criticized by Westerners. Here’s the part where he […]

The paradox of meritocracy

posted by Rod Dreher

I was struck last week by the David Brooks column in which he considers a paradox of our time and culture: As we’ve made our institutions more meritocratic, their public standing has plummeted. We’ve increased the diversity and talent level […]

Did Goldman Sachs help sink Greece?

posted by Rod Dreher

Astonishing story over the weekend about how Goldman Sachs may have helped Greek politicians take on reckless levels of debt and deceive their Eurozone partners — and how, more broadly, Wall Street bankers may have colluded on deals that now […]

About those piercings, young people

posted by Rod Dreher

This morning I was in line getting my Pennsylvania driver’s license, and noticed a teenager in front of me getting his learner’s permit. He had a small ring in each earlobe — not pierced in the conventional way, but rather […]

Wal-mart, friend to local farmers. Really!

posted by Rod Dreher

If Corby Kummer says it — and shocks himself by so doing — it must be true. Excerpt: I started looking into how and why Walmart could be plausibly competing with Whole Foods, and found that its produce-buying had evolved […]

How joblessness will change American families

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk forwards to me a link to a massive and important new story in the new issue of The Atlantic, which speculates as to how the psychological scars of unemployment and underemployment (including a shaky job market) is likely […]

As goes Greece, so go we all?

posted by Rod Dreher

Niall Ferguson says the fiscal black hole that is Greece may not be merely a Eurozone problem. As goes Greece, so go we all. Excerpt: For the world’s biggest economy, the US, the day of reckoning still seems reassuringly remote. […]

Moralistic Therapeutic Politics

posted by Rod Dreher

You’ve heard of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, the approach to religion that sees God as a heavenly Dr. Phil, only to be consulted when we have a problem, which He’s supposed to solve, but otherwise Someone we would prefer would stay […]

Toyota attacked by black swans

posted by Rod Dreher

Things just keep getting worse for Toyota. Now there’s a problem with the brakes on some Priuses. Do you drive a Toyota affected by the recall? If so, how are you dealing with it? It seems to me that the […]

Does the free market corrode moral character?

posted by Rod Dreher

That’s the question the Templeton Foundation posed to an array of smart people (e.g., Jagdish Bhagwati, Bernard-Henri Levy, John Gray, Michael Walzer, Michael Novak, Kay Hymowitz, and others) a while ago. Their diverse answers, including some videotaped responses, are archived […]

Ayn Rand, Stalinist monster

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in The New Criterion, Anthony Daniels reviews a new Ayn Rand biography, concluding that Rand was not without talent, but was a particular kind of Russian-bred monster. Excerpt: In her expository writings, Rand’s style resembles that of Stalin. It […]

Old people have to save America

posted by Rod Dreher

The most depressing bit of news out of Washington I heard recently was that the president couldn’t get Congress to come up with a bipartisan commission on debt reduction. The Republicans refuse to talk about tax increases, and the Democrats […]

Haiti and voodoo economics

posted by Rod Dreher

Social scientist Elizabeth McAlister writes about the real-world effect of voodoo religion on the ways Haitians explain — and make — the material world around them. What I found most interesting about McAlister’s post, which appears on the social science […]

G x E, or, how to think of genius

posted by Rod Dreher

David Shenk: Genes are always interacting with the environment, so the new way to think about this is that it’s not nature plus nurture on nature versus nurture. If anything it’s nature interacting with nurture if you have to use […]

The tragedy of deracination

posted by Rod Dreher

Anthropologist Wade Davis, from his excellent 2009 book “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World”: Our way of life, inspired in so many ways, is not the paragon of humanity’s potential. Once we look through the anthropological […]

The idiocy of state liquor store monopolies

posted by Rod Dreher

If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be as startled as I was by the crazypants liquor-buying system in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State, like a handful of other states, maintains a government monopoly on the sale of wine and spirits, and […]

The brilliant Keynes-Hayek rap

posted by Rod Dreher

Heard this on the radio the other night, and now Reader Oliver sends the video. Excellent stuff:

Does China’s rise threaten us?

posted by Rod Dreher

The philosopher A.C. Grayling reviews Martin Jacques’ new book “When China Rules The World.” Jacques believes that the West will decline relative to China’s rise, and China will bring forth a different kind of modernity onto the world stage. Grayling […]

What could you give up for the poor?

posted by Rod Dreher

Reader Anna e-mails a link to Nick Kristof’s column Sunday, in which he profiles a relatively well-off family that downsized its life to a more reasonable level so they could give more to the needy. They even sold their big […]

Campaign finance ruling — good or bad?

posted by Rod Dreher

I’m divided over the Supreme Court’s ruling the other day striking down campaign finance laws restricting corporate contributions to political campaigns. On the one hand, McCain-Feingold not only seems like exactly what its opponents say it is — an onerous […]

Morals, finance and comeuppance

posted by Rod Dreher

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the book I’ve been listening to on the long drive to PA is Niall Ferguson’s “The Ascent of Money,” a history of finance. It can be tough going for someone like me, but […]

The economics of building community

posted by Rod Dreher

Sharon Astyk has been reading a guy who points out that there are a lot of people who talk about how great it would be if we had community instead of a mass society of individuals, but who don’t want […]

Who’s going to grow our food?

posted by Rod Dreher

It took Sharon Astyk’s blog post about the demographic crisis in agriculture (she’s now blogging on Science Blogs, by the way) to crystallize in my mind what rubbed me the wrong way about Caitlin Flanagan’s disparaging Alice Waters for her […]

“Avatar” and cultural loss

posted by Rod Dreher

I finally made it to “Avatar” today. Whatever else there is to say about the film, it was well worth seeing for the visual spectacle alone. I saw it in 3D, and it was great fun. It’s also fun, in […]

Mortaging one’s personal honor

posted by Rod Dreher

Let’s revisit this 2008 post of mine in which I discussed the case of Raymond Zulueta, a California homeowner whose mellow was being harshed because he owed more money on his house than it was worth. So he walked away […]

Here in the homeland

posted by Rod Dreher

Today I’m in sub-freezing, wet south Louisiana, where I flew yesterday from Phila. I’m picking up a couple of pieces of furniture from my mom and dad’s place, and driving it back to Dallas in the morning in a U-Haul. […]

Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!!

posted 3:25:02pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Mommy explains her plastic surgery
In Dallas (naturally), a parenting magazine discusses how easy it is for mommies who don't like their post-child bodies to get surgery -- and to have it financed! -- to reverse the effects of time and childbirth. Don't like what nursing has done to your na-nas? Doc has just the solution: Doctors say

posted 10:00:56pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Why I became Orthodox
Wrapping up my four Beliefnet years, I was thinking about the posts that attracted the most attention and comment in that time. Without a doubt the most popular (in terms of attracting attention, not all of it admiring, to be sure) was the October 12, 2006, entry in which I revealed and explained wh

posted 9:46:58pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

Modern Calvinists
Wow, they don't make Presbyterians like they used to!

posted 8:47:01pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

'Rape by deception'? Huh?
The BBC this morning reported on a bizarre case in Israel of an Arab man convicted of "rape by deception," because he'd led the Jewish woman with whom he'd had consensual sex to believe he was Jewish. Ha'aretz has the story here. Plainly it's a racist verdict, and a bizarre one -- but there's more t

posted 7:51:28pm Jul. 21, 2010 | read full post »

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