Economics

What I Learned from Real Fair Trade Farmers

Read Time: 3 min.

No matter where you go on the good ole’ interwebs, you’re bound to find opposing views on fair trade practices. Fair trade was implemented with the intention of protecting the little guy—the small farmer, the artisan, who didn’t have lots of money behind their craft. The point was to put a fair amount of money in the producer’s pockets. Whether or not it works is, and always has been, up for debat...

The Poverty Line

Read Time: 2 min.

I am poor. I have food, I have clothing, I have shelter. I have a job. I just financed a car. I have a kitten, I donate to the ACLU and I am still paying off my student loans and a credit card. On paper it all looks ok, but I know the truth. I am fighting every day for these things. Let’s say I lost my job tomorrow or I was injured and became unable to work. I don’t have enough saved to last me a ...

Inevitable Poverty—What did Jesus mean?

Read Time: 3 min.

There’s a lot of talk right now about how to make a difference in the lives of the poor. Some people say that the government should give citizens a leg up. Others speak of personal responsibility. Some thread a gingerly path down the middle.  When you’re trying to work out how to approach poverty, and how to best help those in economic distress, it’s a challenge to know where to turn for guid...

Dear Giant Church

Read Time: 2 min.

Dear Giant Church— I want to come in, but I can’t see past the hypocrisy. Driving to my local grocery store, I pass 3 gorgeous churches. Towering three stories high with large windows and a solid brick exterior.  The sun shining down casts a beautiful glowing light on the cross raised high in the air. I’ve so often wanted to stop and ask, “Why is your church so big?” It’s puzzling to see so many c...

It’s just a thing…but I lost it.

Read Time: 4 min.

I had arrived early (not NORMALLY my style) to my weekly yoga practice. I decided to take advantage of one of our first truly warm spring days of the season and walked around the studio’s parking lot to de-fog my brain from a busy day. I helped get the studio set up for class and took some time to focus as the workout began. In the middle of my flow from Downward Facing Dog to Plank and back to Do...

My Battle with Stuff

Read Time: 3 min.

It was stupid, really. Our family had recently moved from Detroit, Michigan, to a much smaller town in northern Illinois. I vacillated between anger and sadness as I watched my parents put an offer on an attractive older home away from my new friends’ neighborhoods. It was a home that clearly identified us as lower middle class. I hated that house when I compared it to my friends’ nicer, newer hom...

What Do Christians Think About Poverty?

Read Time: 5 min.

We can’t seem to make it go away. If you are reading this on a computer or tablet or smartphone—that you personally own—material poverty is not the defining force of your life. You might be part of the 71% of humanity that lives on less than $10 a day, but you are certainly not living in abject poverty. In most developing countries this would mean less than $2.50 a day—sadly the reality for ...

Is Consumerism So Bad?

Read Time: 4 min.

From the beginning of time, people have exchanged goods to fulfill needs; it’s fundamental to any healthy economic system. Those systems have become larger and more sophisticated with time, but they essentially fulfill the same purpose. Or do they? In our increasingly complex economic systems, many of our exchanges involve products we don’t need or products that are frivolous in the eyes of someon...

Is Fair Trade Fair?

Read Time: 4 min.

What is it? Let’s start with coffee. Coffee consumption has become so ubiquitous in American culture that many of us shudder at the thought of a day without it. But there’s more to that daily cup of joe than just a caffeine boost. Coffee is clearly a profitable enterprise for retailers, but it’s often a different story for the farmers themselves. Changing temperatures, weather patterns, droughts, ...

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