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Values & Capitalism on Campus: Seattle Pacific University

On April 30, Values & Capitalism visited Seattle Pacific University (SPU) for a visit by Edd Noell, chair of the Department of Economics at Westmont College, and co-author of “Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing.” Dr. Noell met with an SPU Intermediate Macroeconomics class, where he addressed questions from students, including: What is the biggest misconception Christians have of capitalism? How does one combat social and cultural barriers to efforts that alleviate poverty? From a Christian standpoint, how do we use the free market to lift people out of poverty? Practically speaking, how can we promote economic growth in countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan? Edd Noell at SPU That evening, Dr. Noell discussed topics covered in “Economic Growth” in a public lecture with 75 students and faculty. He began by stating that because it is foundational to human well-being, growth is fundamentally a moral issue. Laying out the promises and problems that accompany growth, he explained how economic growth has an image problem:  “it needs a moral makeover,” he said. Dr. Noell offered four moral propositions for why one should care about growth:
  1. If you care about the poor
  2. If you care about the environment
  3. If you care about future generations
  4. If you care about spiritual well-being
SPU After the lecture, Dr. Noell took questions from faculty, students and outside visitors on topics ranging from economic changes in China, to the to the merits and pitfalls of outsourcing, to relationship between economic growth and job creation. Dr. Noell also discussed examples of the Environmental Kuznets Curve, a discussed at greater lengh in the Values & Capitalism book “Abundant Energy: The Fuel of Human Flourishing.” For further reading, we recommend the new book “Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing” and other Values & Capitalism resources on the topic of economic growth.