Victor Claar, Acton University lecturer and professor of economics at Henderson State University, will give a talk tonight in Washington, D.C., hosted by AEI, “Grieving the Good of Others: Envy and Economics.”
If you are in the area, you are encouraged to attend and hear Dr. Claar as well as two respondents discuss the topic of envy and its moral and economic consequences.
Here’s a description of the event:
Critics of capitalism often argue that this economic system is irretrievably tainted by the sin of greed. They claim that by empowering government to “spread the wealth around” we can free ourselves from the tyranny of greed, purging the influence of sin. But are they right? At this event, Victor Claar, associate professor of economics at Henderson State University, will discuss the role of envy in collectivist and redistributive economic systems. Beginning with an explanation of the classic theological understanding of envy, Claar will argue that “grieving the good of others” is an unavoidable aspect of social democracy.
Update: The audio and video of the AEI event is now available. (There’s a nice plug for Acton University at the beginning.)
Tomorrow Dr. Claar will also be appearing as part of The King’s College Distinguished Visitor Series in NYC.
Dr. Claar is co-author of Economics in Christian Perspective: Theory, Policy and Life Choices as well as author of the Acton Institute monograph, Fair Trade? Its Prospects as a Poverty Solution.
As Dr. Claar will elaborate, the question that epitomizes envy, which is defined as “sorrow at another’s good,” is the self-centered concern, “What about me?” For fans of the hit TV series Lost, I can think of no better illustration of this than the turn from envy to malevolence in this climactic confrontation between Ben Linus and Jacob from the conclusion of season 5: