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Friday Five: America's Passion for Government, the "Fairness" of Inequality, and More

On Fridays, we bring you the best of our blog and the best of the web. This week’s roundup includes a debate on the fairness of inequality, commentary on America’s passion for government, and more. 1. The Material and Moral: What Marxism Misconstrues: Nicholas Freiling questions the Marxist assumption that material depravation is the cause of societal problems.

In short, Marx believed material deprivation is the source of social, political and intellectual conflict. Instead of viewing a strong moral consciousness as the source of economic prosperity, he blamed the lack of prosperity for moral decline.

2. Debate: Is There Too Much Inequality?: In this Learn Liberty video, Professors Steve Horwitz and Jeffrey Reiman debate the “fairness” of inequality. 3. A Passion for Government Leads to Neglect of Our Neighbor: Dylan Pahman of the Acton Institute discusses the growing propensity of Americans to depend on government rather than their neighbors in times of need.

In the last few weeks, according to a recent Pew Center report, common consensus of public opinion (75 percent or more) leading up to the sequester deadline strongly opposed any cuts, even favoring increased spending in many cases. When down on their luck, Americans have ceased to look to one another — to families, friends, neighborhoods, churches, and other associations — but now look, by and large, primarily to government support in times of crisis.

4. What Principles are Important for Human Flourishing?: Concerning both social and economic issues, Jay Richards of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics argues there are certain principles that must guide our pursuit of human flourishing.

The tie between free enterprise, free societies, and morality is especially interesting. The principles that uphold these institutions don’t segregate themselves into moral and economic baskets. An economic issue is rarely just about economics, and values aren’t limited to the topics of abortion and marriage. In fact, social and economic issues often hang on the same principles.

5. Competitiveness in the United States: The America that Works: Despite the dysfunction in Washington, The Economist reports on the rise of competitiveness in the states.

Yet there is also another America, where things work. One hint comes from what those bosses like to call the real economy. Recent numbers from the jobs market and the housing sector have been quite healthy. Consumer balance-sheets are being repaired. The stockmarket has just hit a record high. Some of this is cyclical: the private sector is rebounding from the crunch. But it also reflects the fact that, beyond the District of Columbia, the rest of the country is starting to tackle some of its deeper competitive problems.