Snap Out of What?

A week or so ago, David Brooks wrote one of his looking down his nose, scolding articles that instantly (or a week later) drives me to respond. With the headline, “Snap Out of It,” Brooks [argues](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/opinion/david-brooks-snap-out-of-it.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0) that life really couldn’t be much better. > The scope of the problems we face are way below historic averages. We face nothing like the slavery fights of the 1860s, the brutality of child labor and industrialization of the 1880s, or a civilization-threatening crisis like World War I, the Great Depression, World War II or the Cold War. Even next to the 1970s — which witnessed Watergate, stagflation, social decay and rising crime —… Read More

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Anticipating the High Holidays

My wife and I had a breakfast conversation today as we often do triggered by the morning news. The lead article on the Boston Globe was about praying for three infants whose skeletal remains were found in a derelict home along with four other neglected children. Pretty gruesome. The prayers also included the mother who obviously needed help from somewhere. I was a bit surprised by the prayers for the dead infants whose innocence should carry them straight to heaven. Ruth and I have had a running conversation about what is prayer for some time and this turned it on. My argument generally starts with pointing to the origin of… Read More

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Flourishing Enterprise

The title of this blog is also the title of a new book of which I am one of eight authors. We were a project team assembled by the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The Center is part of the Case Western Weatherhead School of Management. Our assignment was to examine the potential roles of spirituality in business firms. You might imagine that we undertook it with some serious trepidation. We sent out a survey early in the project’s life to managers and consultants asking what they thought about our mission. We got back widely divergent responses. A few managers thought we were completely crazy;… Read More

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Lost America

Frank Bruni wrote a disturbing [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/opinion/frank-bruni-lost-in-america.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=2) about a week ago, titled “Lost in America.” After reading it I think it would be better titled, “Lost America.” It was based on a survey by the WSJ that found a surprisingly (both to me and Bruni) large number of dissatisfied people. > It included the jolting finding that 76 percent of Americans ages 18 and older weren’t confident that their children’s generation would fare better than their own. That’s a blunt repudiation of the very idea of America, of what the “land of opportunity” is supposed to be about. For most voters, the national narrative is no longer plausible. His response to… Read More

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Why I Am Down on Economists

Thomas Edsall, a topnotch journalist, wrote a recent [column](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/03/opinion/what-makes-people-poor.html?rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article) in the NYTimes about why people are poor. My hook can be found in the first sentence. > Let’s imagine for a moment that there are no political pressures distorting our discussion of poverty and that we can look at it as a technical problem, not a moral one. This is followed by a series of discussions of recent research done by a variety of economists, coming from the poles of political ideology. The specifics are irrelevant and not worth the lineage in the paper. He shows that economic studies reflect the political bent of the researchers. Duh. If you add… Read More

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