Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Nation & World

Talking healthcare

Author: Interview with Doug Koopman, professor political science and Ruth Groenhout, professor of philosophy
Calvin News and Stories
Posted on: Jul 31, 2009

Recently, Calvin professor of philosophy Ruth Groenhout and Calvin professor of political science Doug Koopman discussed healthcare in America: what’s wrong, what’s right, what could fix the system and who’s going to pay.

Financial Crisis and the Culture of Risk

Author: John Tiemstra, Professor of Economics
Posted on: Jun 16, 2009

In the Josiah Stamp Memorial Lecture which he delivered on January 13, 2009, at the London School of Economics, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reser ve System, listed the causes of the credit boom that led to the current financial breakdown: “widespread declines in under writing standards, breakdowns in lending oversight by investors and rating agencies, increased reliance on complex and opaque credit instruments that proved fragile under stress, and unusually low compensation for risk-taking.”

This is not moral language but the language of the scientific economist looking for explanations rather than making judgments. What Bernanke described was the behavior of many important actors in the financial system. Yet that behavior had a moral dimension, and it can only be described as irresponsible at best. Sir Josiah recognized as much in his 1938 book Christianity and Economics, when he talked about “the reign of law, decency, honour, industry and thrift in which alone a complex industrial system can work” (p. 189). Justified as passing judgment is, however, to understand the roots of our financial crisis we must examine how risk changed from being a morally fraught but unavoidable problem of human existence to being a commodity traded on markets like wheat or copper. The neglect of the moral reality of risk is a recent phenomenon that lies at the bottom of our problems.

Read this article >>

Guest Presentation: The Pursuit of Justice: Finding Courage Amidst the Chaos of Human Rights Abuses

Author: Sharon Cohn Wu, guest speaker
The January Series of Calvin College
Posted on: Jun 11, 2009

This guest presentation was given as part of the January Series 2009 of Calvin College.
The enormity of injustice against the poor can overwhelm us—27 million slaves, millions sexually abused, hundreds of thousands illegally detained and tortured. Our impulse may be to run far from it. But the experiences of those who suffer these abuses and those who fight them can change our trajectory.

Sharon Cohn Wu serves as Senior Vice President of Justice Operations for International Justice Mission. IJM is an international human rights agency that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression. Based on referrals of abuse received from relief and development organizations, IJM conducts professional investigations of the abuses and mobilizes intervention on behalf of the victims.

Listen to this presentation

Guest presentations disclaimer

Now What? Revivalist Christianity and Global South politics

Author: Joel Carpenter, Director of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College
Books and Culture
Posted on: May 8, 2009

Across three great regions of the world—sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and southern and eastern Asia—two trends are rearranging the social and political landscapes. One of these, the growth of democracy in civic life, politics, and governance, has attracted the attention of some of the most prominent scholars of public affairs. The late Samuel P. Huntington of Harvard famously called this movement “the third wave” of democratic revolutions in modern history. This trend is anything but inevitable, however. Despite dramatic advances, democracy in many lands is fragile, and there have been many setbacks, as any reader of the “world” section of the daily news can attest.

The other development, which until recently was nearly invisible to most scholars and pundits, is Christianity’s dynamic development in these regions, which is causing a seismic shift of the faith’s place and role in the world. Christianity, it turns out, is not just the fading tribal religion of the Europeans.

Read this article

Torture - It’s the American way: Confessions of a conflicted ‘24’ viewer

Author: Nathan Bierma, Minds editor
Posted on: May 7, 2009

On the next episode of 24, according to the previews, tireless hero Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) will walk into the hospital room of a U.S. senator and threaten to torture him. And I expect I’ll be cheering him on. I wonder if that’s OK.

Read this post