Wednesday's News & Ideas

  • How to pastor amidst financial calamity?
  • Pope needs a new PR guru
  • The social psych behind execs jetting to DC to beg for bailout cash

Diverse group to advise faith-based officeAssociated Press: The Obama administration is set to announce a diverse set of advisers to a revamped faith-based office.

Pope's PR men have put his future at riskTelegraph (London): Lifting the ban on the Holocaust-denying Bishop Williamson is disastrous, says Catholic Herald editor.

How pastors are soothing congregants in recessionary timesChristian Science Monitor: Pastors search for the right words to deliver from the pulpit in difficult times.Christianity Today: How to pray in the midst of financial catastrophe

The arrogance of powerWashington Post, On Leadership blog: Auto execs flying to DC on private jets and finance leaders paying lavish bonuses may be inappropriate, even stupid, but it’s far fromunusual.

The Spark

Sweatshop labor is wrong . . . unless the jeans are cute

Most consumers in America have purchased products made with sweatshop labor at one time or another. But little attention has been paid to the psychological mechanisms that enable consumers to propagate a system that implicates harm. Although many people say they care about ethical issues such as humane labor conditions, demand for products that guarantee such conditions remains low. In studies at Harvard Business School, researchers have found that levels of “moral disengagement” -- basically, our ability to set aside our moral concerns -- can be motivated by one's level of desire for a product made with sweatshop labor. That is, the more appealing the product, the more likely we are to rationalize its sweatshop origins (note: the link above is to a summary, the full report is here).