"Government repression of extralegals was plentiful, harsh, and in France, deadly. In the mid-eighteenth century, laws prohibiting the French public from manufacturing, importing, or selling cotton prints carried penalties ranging from slavery and imprisonment to death. The extralegals remained undeterred. Heckscher estimates that within one ten-year period in the eighteenth century the French executed more than 16,000 smugglers and clandestine manufacturers for the illegal manufacture or import … [Read more...]


"THROUGH THE YEARS WE ALL WILL BE TOGETHER": WHEN WE WERE GONE ASTRAY. Part two of Christmas in Depress-O-Vision. Not sure what to say about this. Money is discussed, kisses happen when they shouldn't, and castanets are clacked. This story is a comfort-and-joy-free zone and it only gets worse from here on in.Click here to read the story from the beginning, or here to get part two. There are only about three segments of this story left, yay.Do you hate the tense-switching? I don't, but I know … [Read more...]


"Although they are established to protect both the security of ownership and that of transactions, it is obvious that Western systems emphasize the latter. Security is principally focused on producing trust in trasnactions so that people can more easily make their assets lead a parallel life as capital."In most developing countries, by contrast, the law and official agencies are trapped by early colonial and Roman law, which tilt toward protecting ownership. They have become custodians of the … [Read more...]


PEOPLE, LOOK EAST: I have a book review in the current issue of Crisis of David Aikman's Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power.Excerpts:...According to David Aikman, former Beijing bureau chief for Time magazine, China may soon be among the most influential Christian countries in the world. Aikman's provocative thesis gets a vigorous, if overhasty, presentation in his new book, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming … [Read more...]




CALLING ALL DISGRUNTLED CATHOLICS: Father Jim Tucker wants YOU! Here's his post, in its entirety.In October, our parish will launch a new program designed to reach out to non-practicing, English-speaking Catholics in our area. I'll be the clerical point-man and am working with our youth director (himself a convert from Anglicanism), who is the mastermind behind it all.The structure of the program is fairly well set: it will feel very un-churchy to Catholics and is centered around what … [Read more...]


HERNANDO DE SOTO IN ACTION!: Here is a story illustrating the points De Soto has been making throughout his (so far truly excellent) book, The Mystery of Capital: "Kenyans buy into slum plan." (De Soto has been emphasizing the need for property rights; this story makes that point and also notes physical improvements in the buildings and a sense of personal and communal ownership.) Excerpts:Last year, a group of Nairobi slum dwellers banded together and asked the city council to give them the … [Read more...]