Values & Capitalism is now AEI’s Initiative on Faith and Public Life. Click here to learn more about our mission and new name.

Initiative on
Faith & Public Life

Equipping Christians to think deeply about faithful participation in contemporary public life.

aei-logoAn initiative of the American Enterprise Institute, formerly known as Values & Capitalism


Our core audience is undergraduate students who are interested in exploring questions of politics, public policy, economics, business, and society in a way that is integrated with the convictions of their faith. Covering a variety of topics and taking

place throughout the year, our programs give students the opportunity to engage in serious, nonpartisan dialogue with experts and peers on pressing issues, and be prepared for their future careers and vocations. Featured programs are listed below.


Sign up to learn more about our programs.


Since 2012, the Initiative on Faith & Public Life has built a community of leading Christian college professors who are interested in the intersection of faith, politics, economics, and society and share a commitment to equipping future leaders. There are currently over 300 professors in our network, representing institutions (both religious and secular) across the country and world.

Our Academic Network members form a real intellectual community of faculty who encourage and challenge each other. They also help our team recruit students, facilitate events on their campuses, and receive access to complimentary books and other resources, as well as occasional invitations to faculty-only seminars and conferences.



China Holds No Cards

China Holds No Cards

It was 2 a.m., and my father and I had finally settled down for our flight from Shanghai to Beijing. Bleary-eyed, I was about to drift off to sleep, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I hadn’t realized it, but there was a Chinese teenager more or less my age sitting right next to me. He asked me if I was American, and I told him I was, and from Houston. He then brought up the Rockets and excitedly asked, “Have you been to a real live NBA game before?”

How Should the Church Engage in a Consumer Society?

How Should the Church Engage in a Consumer Society?

“To be prophetic is to host a world other than the one that is in front of us.” Christians, as theologian Walter Brueggemann so eloquently wrote, ought to be set apart, practicing faith and life in a way that is unique and attractive to those outside of the body of Christ. Consumerism, an idol of the West, aspires to control the appetites and patterns of its practitioners, orienting their desires toward itself. As Matthew 6:24 cautions, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Thus, it is time for Christians to examine the influence of consumerism on churches and ecclesiastical culture, not with fear or distrust, but with wisdom, understanding, and prayer.

On the Correlation of Capitalism and Christianity

On the Correlation of Capitalism and Christianity

“He that will not work shall not eat.” With these famous words pulled from 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Capt. John Smith uttered a phrase that both saved Jamestown and breathed a capitalistic nature into the very fabric of American society. Nearly 300 years later, German theologian Max Weber would ascribe the rise of capitalism to the Protestant work ethic, combined with the Calvinist doctrine of asceticism and predestination. Since the dawn of America, from the original pilgrims and colonists to the Founding Fathers and subsequent presidents, American civil society has generally coupled the economic system of capitalism with the moral system of Judeo-Christian beliefs. Although many of the Founding Fathers were deists, almost all understood an economic system of industriousness and elbow grease as a morally superior paradigm.

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