An economist's diary

The Economist:

At our orientation session, we introduced ourselves and explained why we volunteered for this particular project. I went first. I said I volunteered because I thought that learning about how these women respond to their extreme financial constraints would be interesting.

Everyone else said they thought their experiences would be helpful (most were lawyers or in human resources). I realised I was the only one who did not say I was there to help homeless women. I wondered if that made me a bad person. But (and I may be rationalising here) I found something presumptuous about the idea I could swoop in from my comfortable life and sort out these women’s financial woes. I might know about economics and finance, but I know nothing of what it’s like to be a homeless single mother.

Read it all. See also the related blog post.

The Atlantic takes on the Prosperity Gospel

If your faith is strong, will this improve your company's balance sheet? If your portfolio has dipped, does this mean you don't love God enough? These are extremely difficult questions and there are some that argue that faith will lead to riches in this life. Known as the "prosperity gospel," they are spinning around these days. The Atlantic takes on some of these questions in its current issue in the article, "Did Christianity Cause the Crash?"

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Advent is coming; are you 'in'?

Advent Conspiracy (as noted by the Cafe in late November 2007 and 2008) is a site in search of a movement, and it's beginning to gain ground.

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Giving leaves her happy

Could living more simply give happiness? "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

But Will It Make You Happy?
From the New York Times

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The cost of happiness

Charles Shultz wrote, "Happiness is a warm puppy."

The Beatles sang, "Happiness is a warm gun."

The Declaration states that we have the unalienable right to "pursue happiness."

Can money buy happiness? And, if so, what is the price tag? Apparently, $75,000, according to a Princeton University study, reported by the Los Angeles Times:

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Episcopal agency improves families' access to diapers

A diaper is just about the most self-evident thing available: practical and essential, no explanation required.

And as any active parent can tell you, diapers are as expensive as they are crucial. Kafi Drexel notes how Episcopal Social Services of New York is helping.

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Lottery mania

I will admit to buying the occasional lottery ticket, knowing full well the ridiculous odds, seeing it personally as a fun little dream (although I missed out on participating in this drawing).

But the sheer volume of money spent is staggering.

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