Posts Tagged Jay Richards

Books I Read in 2011

The books I read in 2011 are listed below (alphabetically by author).

I didn’t read as much as I would’ve liked in 2011, and I also didn’t write about what I read as much as I would’ve liked. I hope to provide more reviews and “nuggets” from these books in the upcoming year, as many were impactful in the development of ideas discussed on this blog.

Here were some of my favorites:

  • The Victory of Reason – Rodney Stark
  • For God So Loved, He Gave – Kelly Kapic & Justin Borger
  • The White Man’s Burden – William Easterly
  • Living in God’s Two KingdomsDavid VanDrunen (enjoyment does not equal agreement!)
  • Money, Greed, and God – Jay Richards
  • The Holy Spirit in Mission – Gary Tyra

What did you read? What were your favorites?

Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith – Matthew Lee AndersonLove Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived – Rob BellThe Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession – Peter L. BernsteinThe Law – Frédéric Bastiat







Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and International Development – Anthony B. Bradley

Decision Points – George W. BushSelfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think – Bryan CaplanMao: The Unknown Story – Jung Chang







Work: The Meaning Of Your Life – Lester DeKosterBringing Up Boys – James C. DobsonThe White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good – William EasterlyCapitalism and Freedom – Milton Friedman







Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination – Neal GablerTribes: We Need You to Lead Us – Seth GodenThe Road to Serfdom – Friedrich A. von HayekMere Environmentalism: A Biblical Perspective on Humans and the Natural World – Steven F. Hayward







God So Loved, He Gave: Entering the Movement of Divine Generosity – Kelly M. KapicThe Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home and in the World – Helen LeeDefending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom – Peter J. LeithartThe Prince and Other Works – Niccolo Machiavelli







The Blessed Life – Robert MorrisThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God – John PiperMoney, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem – Jay W. RichardsThe Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves – Matt Ridley







Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error – Kathryn SchulzThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression – Amity ShlaesIntellectuals and Society – Thomas SowellThe Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success – Rodney Stark 






The Holy Spirit in Mission: Prophetic Speech and Action in Christian Witness – Gary TyraBourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo – Jeffrey TuckerLiving in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture – David VanDrunenSimply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense – N.T. Wright








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The Immateriality of Wealth: Ten Ways to Alleviate Poverty

Jay Richards recently wrote a fascinating piece for The American, in which he argues that many of the “preconditions of wealth creation” are immaterial and spiritual, contrary to many of our materialistic assumptions.

Alas, humans have long been ignorant of what is necessary for wealth creation to occur, and  modern-day perceptions have unfortunately leaned toward the common materialistic superstitions of the past.

As Richards explains:

For most of human history, discovering the sources of wealth creation would have been devilishly hard, since most economies, such as there were, tended to be static. If a Mesopotamian farmer or Greek shepherd in the second century BC ever asked, “Where does wealth come from?” he would have assumed that wealth came from rain, common labor, good luck, or some combination of these. He probably also would have assumed that to get really wealthy, you need to plunder other people.

Thankfully, we don’t need to plunder other people in order to create wealth, whether on our own or through the government. In fact, plundering people doesn’t achieve much of anything in the long run.

Instead, we should focus on getting the proper immaterial preconditions in place. When that is the case, wealth creation will begin foster in a way that is truly beneficial for all (…even for the would-be plunderers).

Richards provides a list of ten specific items that he believes lead to healthy preconditions for wealth creation. “The more of these a culture has or does,” says Richards, ”the more likely it is to be prosperous.”

Here is the list (and I quote):

  1. Establish and maintain the rule of law.
  2. Focus the jurisdiction of government primarily on Read the rest of this entry »

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Jay Richards: “Can a Good Christian Be a Socialist?”

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Does being a good Christian go beyond profession of faith?

Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God, recently made a post on The American asking whether a good Christian can be a socialist.

The question itself is enough to stir up plenty of ire among socialists, particularly because nobody likes to feel judged. But while I don’t believe we can or should make judgments about an individual’s personal salvation (see Matthew 7), I do think it’s healthy to ask whether certain belief systems are consistent with others.

Richards begins by emphasizing that brazen trust in the State does not necessarily negate one’s trust in the Christian God:

“I think one could trust God and affirm, say, the Nicene Creed (the touchstone of Christian orthodoxy), while also believing that the state ought to own the means of production and determine all the basic terms of the market, such as price and production. There have been many such people. It’s not my place to question either their sincerity or their status in the eyes of God.”

However, Richards then adds a caveat, arguing that being a good Christian — i.e. pursuing Christ beyond basic salvation — includes “working out the wider implications of one’s worldview.”

So when we work out the wider implications of socialism (as Richards suggests), what do we find?

“[S]ocialism, despite its compassionate rhetoric, inevitably involves gross violations of the right to private property—otherwise known as theft. That right is presupposed in at least two of the Ten Commandments (you shall not steal and you shall not covet your neighbor’s possessions).

Socialism estranges individuals from the right to the fruits of their labor. It allows a centralization of power utterly contrary to truth that all human beings are fallen. It harms the poor by decimating the information and incentives needed to abundantly Read the rest of this entry »

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Money, Greed and God: Is Capitalism Evil?

Jay Richards is the author of a book called Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, in which he argues that capitalism is completely consistent with Jesus’ teachings and the Christian tradition as a whole.

I haven’t read the book yet, but am a frequent reader of Richards’ writings on the Enterprise Blog.

I came across this video over the weekend, and although it’s a bit long, I encourage you to take the time to watch it.

What I found most striking was Richards’ discussion of self-interest vs. selfishness, which is a topic I have often discussed on this blog (particularly in my review of Ron Chernow’s Titan).

Richards notes that self-interest must be properly ordered, and when it is, we will realize that our families, our neighbors, and our communities are all in our self-interest. Selfishness, on the other hand, is “disordered” self-interest. For example, I may choose to commit adultery, and although such an act would be an act of selfishness, I would clearly not be acting in my holistic, long-term self-interest. I would end up feeling Read the rest of this entry »

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