Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves: Applying Christian Ethics in Economics, By John E. Stapleford
Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves
  • Length: 335 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: March 26, 2015
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 4072
  • ISBN: 9780830840724

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Self-interest, economic efficiency and private property rights are among the most basic assumptions of market economics. But can an economic theory built on these assumptions alone provide adequate insight into human nature, motivation and ultimate goals to guide our economic life?

John Stapleford says no, along with those economists who recognize the limits of their discipline. He insightfully shows us in detail how ethics are inextricably intertwined with economic life and analysis. Writing from a Christian ethical perspective, he interacts with seven standard introductory economics texts, exploring the moral challenges embedded in various macro-, micro- and international economic theories and outlining a faithful response to them.

The third edition includes two new chapters on economics as a science and global poverty plus expanded discussions of entitlements, government debt, healthcare reform and immigration reform. Keyed to seven of the most widely used introductory economics texts—Gwartney, Stroup Sobel; Mankiw; Mansfield Behravesh; McConnell Brue; Miller; Samuelson Nordhaus; and Stiglitz—this book will be especially useful for introductory courses in economics.

"Bulls, Bears Golden Calves opens the door for beginning students of economics to the realm of applied Christian thought on the modern economy. John Stapleford's work invites both new students and experienced economists alike to pursue this passageway. Designed to be used as a supplementary text in the teaching of economic principles, its format and content are very helpful for Christian economists looking to introduce students to a biblical perspective on a wide range of modern economic issues. Across a spectrum extending from the lending of money at interest to the thorny problem of immigration, Stapleford provides salutary, compelling examples. His discussion applies careful economic reasoning combined with ethical direction aptly derived from the Scriptures. The book takes seriously the authority of Scripture in critically reflecting on the core assumptions of economics while guiding readers in an irenic yet challenging manner. I strongly recommend Bulls, Bears Golden Calves as an introductory guide to applying Christian ethics to the world of economics."

Edd Noell, Professor of Economics and Business, Westmont College

"This is a wonderful book! It highlights significant economic issues being faced in America today. It fairly presents the competing worldviews regarding these problems. And it brings Scripture to bear on each area of contention in a way that challenges the reader to think Christianly."

Richard C. Chewning, Emeritus Chavanne Professor of Christian Ethics Applied to Business, Baylor University

"How does one integrate their faith with the work of selling goods and services and making money? John Stapleford provides a careful and thoughtful Christian worldview of the marketplace. It is a must-read for the serious Christian who has a commitment not only to share their faith but also to live their faith."

C. William Pollard, Former Chairman and CEO of The ServiceMaster Company

"A well-written, much-needed supplement to introductory economics texts."

Dr. Marvin Olasky, Acton Institute and the University of Texas

"The study of economics should not be disconnected from ethical concerns. Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves provides clear guidance for identifying and discussing, within a Christian framework, important ethical issues connected to an economy's organization. Keying the book to the leading textbooks, John Stapleford provides an indispensable resource for students and teachers of introductory economics courses—though the book merits study outside the classroom as well. I particularly appreciated the faithful reliance on Scripture as the ethical benchmark applied throughout the book."

Kenneth G. Elzinga, Professor of Economics, University of Virginia

"Bulls, Bears, and Golden Calves is a simply phenomenal read that will challenge all readers to live out a Christian life in the realm of economics."

J.W. Wartick, "Always Have a Reason", April 29, 2015


Preface to the Third Edition
Part 1: Laying the Foundation
1 Grid Work: A Theological and Ethical Framework
Part 2: Reflections on the Basic Assumptions of Economics
2 Me, Myself and Why: Pursuit of Self-Interest Promotes . . . What Exactly?
3 Waste Not? Reappraising the Goal of Economic Efficiency
4 It?s Mine! Private Property Rights
Part 3: Macroeconomic Issues
5 But I?m Positive! Economics as a Science
6 How Does Your Garden Grow? The Possibilities and Perils of Economic Growth
7 Render unto Caesar: The Role of Government in the Economy
8 Overemployment: The Growth of Work and the Loss of Leisure
9 Catching Your Interest: Lending and Borrowing in Scripture and History
10 Gross Compensation: Executives Rolling in Dough
Part 4: Microeconomic Issues
11 A Clarion Call: Poverty and Distributive Justice
12 Tending the Garden: Environmental Stewardship
13 Who?s Responsible? Business and Social Responsibility
14 False Hope: The Boom in Legalized Gambling
Part 5: International Issues
15 The Naked Gorilla: The Ethical and Economic Challenge of the Pornography Industry
16 A Matter of Life and Debt: Debt Relief for Less-Developed Countries
17 Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor: The Economics of Immigration
18 The Malthusian Blues: The Ethics and Economics of Population Control
19 Sand in the Gears: The Corrosive Effect of Corruption
20 Why Waste Resources? Do Rural Development by the Book
21 Global Poverty: Top Down or Bottom Up?


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John E. Stapleford

John E. Stapleford (PhD, University of Delaware) is president of the Caesar Rodney Institute, an education nonprofit. He is also principle in DECON First and a professor emeritus of economic development with Eastern University. Previously he was an associate director and senior economist with Moody's Analytics, and for two decades he was the director of the Bureau of Economic Research at the University of Delaware and founded the Delaware Small Business Development Center. With a graduate degree in government and planning and a doctorate degree in urban and regional economics, Stapleford has been published in many professional journals including Growth and Change, Christian Scholars Review, Journal of Markets Morality, Faith Economics, Journal of Biblical Integration in Business and the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management. He is also the author of Bulls, Bears and Golden Calves: Applying Christian Ethics in Economics.