Prices rising in April this year over 4% from April of last year shocked many people because Americans have enjoyed decades of very low levels of price inflation. Should you be concerned about higher inflation? A one-month rise in prices isn’t a trend and if it were, it is nothing like the 30% increase in 1778 or the 20% rise in 1917. By world standards, the U.S. has enjoyed low levels of price increases.
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Inflation, unemployment, worker shortages? What’s going on? I’ve got some ideas and I’m sure you do, too. But after we’ve solved our political and structural problems (take an imaginary trip into optimism with me for the sake of thinking long-term), we might also ask: What type of people or culture will best deal with economic hard times?
We're currently in annual shareholder meeting season, which runs roughly April through June. Being part of a team which helps design, update and maintain Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and also being an investor in those funds personally, I set out to take responsibility for what is in the portfolios by attending the shareholder meetings of the companies I own. But the point was not just to show up, but also to speak up.
I have been blessed to meet many Christian financial advisors across America. Not all, but some of them use a moral screening strategy to serve their investment clients. Moral screening is one of several strategies under the larger topic of faith-integrated investing. While I have written elsewhere about how to invest for redemptive purposes, in this article I want to highlight some of the theological limits of moral screening.
As a member of a team which helps build and maintain investment funds (ETFs), and as an investor in them personally, I have been attending annual shareholders meetings of many of the U.S. companies in which I am invested. I have asked questions of the meeting organizers before, during, and after the meetings. My general focus has been on excess politicking, on issues that are not of core material operational importance, by publicly traded companies.
When the Holy Spirit convicted my heart about biblically responsible investing it was not because of a realization that my investment money was going into the coffers of bad businesses who would use it to pursue immoral ends. No, God broke my heart over the undeniable truth that as an investor, I was profiting from the sale of abortion drugs.
President Biden pointed to the federal government’s promotion of railroads in the 19th century to show that Americans have always supported state-built infrastructure. He said, "Two hundred years ago, trains weren't traditional infrastructure either until America made a choice to lay down tracks across the country."
The New York Times recently published a fascinating article about Facebook’s ongoing censorship of Donald Trump, and their alleged “Oversight Board.”