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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802434622
  • ASIN: B00394DLAU
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,703,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Most of us turn to the Bible for decision making, but since the Bible deals in morality and value, it's difficult to apply its principles to the economic choices we make each day. However, by measuring the outcome of these choices with the use of economic theory, we can determine long-range implications and more easily evaluate them according to biblical criteria. 

Good Intentions suggests that it is possible to do good in economic

From the Back Cover

Few things are more dangerous
than Good Intentions

This is not a book of theological answers. It is the work of an economist and a religion journalist who have little interest in making decisions for other people. Instead they attempt to couple some basic Christian principles with standard economic tools to make sense of nine hot-button issues that affect us all.

We often struggle to answer the question: What is the right thing to do here?

Good Intentions suggests that it is possible to do good in economic matters if we begin with the right assumptions (and begins to ask the right questions):

 -Is greed ever good?
 -How can we give poor kids a million bucks?
 -How did Ben and Jerry get so rich?
 -Is capitalism ruining the environment?
 -Do immigrants take American jobs?

Our actions can produce outcomes that reflect what we value.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Kruse on February 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Is greed ever good? Is Bono right? Is Wal-Mart evil? Does globalization exploit the poor? Are immigrants taking our jobs? Is capitalism ruining the environment? Charles North and Bob Smietana take on these and other questions in this book. North is an associate professor of economics at Baylor University and Smietana is a correspondent for Religion News Service.

The book opens with stories about the corporate histories of Krispy Kreme Donuts and VeggieTales, highlighting how people with great ideas and good intentions failed to adequately anticipate the economic consequences of their actions. The authors write:

Why aren't good intentions enough? Because we live in a world of scarcity, a world where we can't get everything we want for free. (16)

North and Smietana believe all material goods, including food, are God's provision for all humankind. The goal of Christian economics is to figure out how to get goods into the hands of as many people as possible. That isn't easy but they see this as a guiding biblical principle that is joined by other principles.

* Everyone deserves a fair shake.
* Everyone works.
* God wants people to prosper - to able to make a living.
* Some people, for a number of reasons, will fall behind and lose the means to make a living.
* God wants those people to be restored so they have access to the means to make a living. (20-21)

With that said, the opening chapter highlights how European employment protection laws, enacted by well intentioned people, have had significant negative consequences for society. I particularly loved this passage:

"Good intentions do not assure good results, and they can at times lead to policies with perverse unintended consequences.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Vanover on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Good Intentions is a fine introduction to "nine hot-button issues". It did leave me wanting more substantial arguments and notes of some kind for further exploration. It excelled as the springboard for a recent book club discussion. This may be the book's greatest strength: its surface presentation easily leads to conversation about the finer points of these issues.

My first complaint with the subtitle is that the nine issues are not clearly associated with the chapters. The issues appearing on the cover - gas prices, immigration, family values, environment, minimum wage, education, capitalism, CEO compensation, poverty - do not appear elsewhere! I expect them to be linked to chapters in the table of contents and/or the first page of each chapter.

The book's 10 chapters (after the introductory two) do not correspond neatly to the 9 issues. Not only do the numbers differ; there is also substantial overlap of the issues themselves (poverty relates to minimum wage and capitalism) as well as overlap in the more situation specific chapter titles (ch. 9 Are Immigrants Taking All of Our Jobs? involves capitalism and family values in addition to the obvious issue of immigration).

My chief complaint, however, deals with the final part of the subtitle referring to the nine hot-button issues "viewed through the eyes of faith". Most of the text was filled with introductory material and anecdotal evidence. It made for an easy and fast read while it left me wanting to know more about the complexities in every chapter. Points and counterpoints were presented both about the issues themselves as well as when viewed through a Christian lens. Unfortunately, the text does not make good on the subtitle's claim when it repeatedly leaves only the final few pages of a chapter to the perspective from the eyes of faith.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BreitBring on July 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
A short course in economics taught through the goggles of faith, I found "Good Intentions" to be quite enjoyable. A scientist by schooling, economics wasn't a subject I've spent an extended time studying, but I found the examples and explanations in the book to be quite fascinating and well composed.

The book fails a bit with organization and it's a bit odd that the buzz word topics on the front don't really correspond with the chapters, but otherwise does a commendable job conveying modern economics to the average non-economist American, and makes a strong effort to try to tie themes together throughout the book.

In the end, I found I was able to take something away from each chapter. Would be interesting for a book group discussion, as it certainly is a conversation-sparker.
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By Shawn Kruse on December 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book for a research paper that i had to do for an econimics class. Very informative good read!
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