Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices  -     By: Victor V. Claar, Robin J. Klay
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Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices

IVP Academic / 2007 / Paperback

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How can Christian principles be applied to monetary and fiscal policy to ensure a just and prosperous society? Critically engaging mainstream economic theory, Claar and Klay demonstrate how godly values can guide and maintain the right balance of power between democratic governments, market-organized economies, and strong moral and cultural institutions for the good of all. 260 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 260
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830825975
ISBN-13: 9780830825974
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Unemployment. Environmental damage. Poverty. Economists Victor Claar and Robin Klay critically engage mainstream economic theory and policy recommendations to provide guidance for faithfully and responsibly addressing these and other important economic issues. Affirming that a just and prosperous society depends for its continued success on maintaining the right balance of power among three principal spheres--democratic governments, market-organized economies, and strong moral and cultural institutions--Claar and Klay demonstrate how Christian principles and values guide and undergird a flourishing and just economy. This text is for use in any course needing a survey of the principles of economics.

Author Bio

Victor V. Claar (Ph.D., West Virginia University) is professor of economics at Henderson, the public liberal arts college of Arkansas, where he specializes in teaching principles of economics courses. He spent the 2006-2007 academic year as a Fulbright scholar, giving graduate lectures and conducting research at the American University of Armenia. His research interests include transnational entrepreneurial attitudes, ethics and economics, and applied microeconomics. He has written articles for and the. He has served as referee for the journals and ; among others. Robin J. Klay (Ph.D., Princeton) is emeritus professor of economics at Hope College, Holland, Michigan. Klay's principal area of research and publication regards the connections between Christian faith and practice and economic theory and policy. She is the author of . She has published articles in and . She is also an adjunct scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan, and is involved in ministry with the local hispanic community.

Editorial Reviews

"This book by Victor Claar and Robin Klay is a valuable new contribution to a small but growing and important body of literature on economic thinking and Christian belief. The authors do not advance a unique 'Christian' economic theory, nor do they simply bless every mainstream economic concept with a biblical imprimatur. Instead, they carefully review current economic theory and policy perspectives in light of biblical Christian belief. At times Victor and Robin agree with mainstream economic ideas and at times they suggest thoughtful criticisms of the mainstream. They also take time to address important heterodox economic views in light of their interpretation of biblical principles that bear on each topic.

Extended case studies draw the reader into economic and biblical ways of thinking about important public policy issues. The cases are drawn from everyday life so that the reader can move easily from what we experience in everyday economic life to those topics about which we know less but must render political and economic opinions. They address critical topics such as embracing or protesting market economies, designing effective programs for poor relief, addressing our growing global need for energy, restricting or encouraging economic development around the world, assessing the government's monetary and fiscal macroeconomic policies, and choosing an optimal level of pollution control.

Victor and Robin write with conviction about their firmly held economic views and with fair-minded care about those questions that remain arguable from several reasonable perspectives. Not every Christian will agree with their views, but most Christians would benefit from confronting their economic reasoning and biblical analysis of crucial issues."
"Claar and Klay ask how Christians with shared values can affect outcomes in a market-based democratic economy. They expand traditional economic analysis of self-interested consumers, profit-seeking firms and elected governments to include groups of individuals with common interests such as churches and faith-based organizations. They illustrate that the latter, by pooling resources, can influence the production and delivery of desired services such as feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless and healing the sick, locally, nationally and globally within established economic structures."
"This short book has lofty goals. One purpose is to explain the economic process, emphasizing the benefits of free markets and voluntary choice. The second task is Christian reflection on economic involvement from an evangelical perspective. The result enriches economic and biblical understanding."
"Victor Claar and Robin Klay provide thoughtful Christians a very useful introduction to the economic way of thinking that is lively, nuanced and challenging. Their description of economics presents the powerful ability of markets to creatively meet human needs within a Christian perspective that takes seriously the claims of Christ over his creation. It will serve as a valuable entry point to the world of economics for Christians eager to learn how markets, governments and institutions operate in the contemporary global context."
"Claar and Klay combine Christian principles and economic principles in a useful manner so that readers will think better about these issues and look to better solutions than are currently being proffered. Demonstrating an impressive breadth of vision, they deftly move from the big picture and macroeconomics to the care for the individual and restoring hope for the least of these. Covering a wide range of issues, they deal with microeconomics, macroeconomics, public policy, personal behavior, market failure and government intervention. This is a much-needed book that I will use and think many of my colleagues in the Association of Christian Economists will want to use also."
"Books like this one are far too rare. Claar and Klay explore a broad range of compelling issues, write clearly and winsomely, think from a well-reasoned historic Christian perspective, and above all else are seasoned mainstream economists who know what they are talking about. We seldom get a book that considers natural revelation and special revelation simultaneously, and does so with respect for those who come to different conclusions. While making their conclusions clear, Claar and Klay consistently explain their framework of thought in such a way that those who disagree can clearly identify why and where they disagree--a wonderful gift to a long conversation about faith and economic affairs that has too often been polarized and uncharitable."
"This book meets an important need for Christians who want to think carefully about economics. Claar and Klay combine sound economics and the moral demands of a lively Christian faith to create integrated, practical advice for all believers seeking to make a concrete difference in the world. This book is a great resource for any Christian trying to make sense of the many seemingly irreconcilable demands of Christian faith and economic analysis."
"This volume presents a balanced view of the respective roles and responsibilities of governments, markets and civil society within a perspective of reasoned hope that is clearly informed by the authors' Christian faith. The integration of Scripture and Christian reflection with economic analysis is careful and well reasoned, and also affirms the positive dimensions of the market process. The book is easily accessible to undergraduate students, and approaches the major stewardship issues of our time not only in terms of individual choice, but also from the standpoint of the family, the church and the broader communities to which we all belong. It makes creative use of a variety of examples, and addresses the primary economic challenges of our time."
"Victor Claar and Robin Klay have given us a sensible discussion of contemporary economic policy issues with some Christian commentary. They emphasize the usefulness of mainstream economics to Christians working in the world."
"Claar and Klay combine Christian teachings and modern economic analysis in a book that informs both the head and the heart.This book also affords an opportunity to incorporate material on values and social capital into a mainstream course in economic principles."

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Robin J. Klay
Located in: Holland, MI 49423
Submitted: July 20, 2007

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I grew up in Yakima, Washington where I loved the mountains and high desert. My brother, sister, and I all speak Spanish, because our parents insisted that it was necessary for anyone living in the Americas. Spanish proficiency and our involvement with the Hispanic community have deeply shaped our careers as a lawyer, doctor, and professor. My twenty-seven-year old son an artist, but also is treated for bi-polar disorder. In him I have had a personal tutor to appreciate modern art. With him, I have learned how to exercise faith— through times when life is very dark, chaotic, and seemingly without an exit—to times when we now realize how one’s “vocation” can be keenly shaped by both the unwanted challenges and the undeserved gifts of God. Having lived in Mexico, Belgium, France, Cameroon, and Japan, my life-long inspiration is seeing God at work in “strange” places, with all sorts of people, cultures, and communities. Whether illiterate or well educated, friends I have made in each place are “national treasures” in terms of what they exemplify in caring, helping, sharing, building, creating, encouraging, trusting, praying, and more.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  We want Christians to stop feeling overwhelmed by challenges that the world faces—at home and across the globe. How can you not feel overwhelmed when you read about starvation, wars, unemployment, globalization, global warming, etc.? But, the answer cannot be fear, moral arrest, or some half-baked response, arrived at independently of any deep understanding of the cultural, political, and economic forces at work. Many Christians imagine that they know about economics because they handle money—just like they “know” psychology because they have children or were once children themselves. Neither is correct. But, without a good knowledge of economics, many people don’t recognize very important opportunities to meet life’s personal, community, and world challenges with informed, effective, and sustainable answers. So, our motivation is to inform and encourage lives shaped by reason, informed by faith, bathed in hope, and committed to unceasing love.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  We hope readers will be surprised and pleased to see how an understanding of economic forces helps them apply Christian values as workers/employers, consumers/savers, pastors/congregations, families/neighbors, and policy-makers/voters. They will learn how certain Christian values undergird markets and democratic society, while other values call more from us. With this background, readers will be able to answer for themselves, and in many different ways, questions like the following: What can we do to help others benefit from market forces? What can we do to help those who lack the educational, social, and financial resources needed to care for themselves and their communities? What are the dangers of expecting too much or too little from either government or markets? In a world that is challenged daily by both risks and new opportunities, readers need to know that it is possible to live faithfully, with reasoned hope for what we can do and be because “God so loves the world.”

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  My departmental colleagues at Hope College are a huge influence on me, because they make me think and care about how we as professors of economics, management, and accounting can shape and challenge students, whole communities, and each other to serve the world through our professions, families, neighborhoods, and beyond.

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