One afternoon last month we lost electricity in our Grand Rapids office. Everyone had just returned from their various lunch appointments and settled back to their work when—click—we found ourselves sitting in darkness. Computers, fax machines, and telephones suddenly became about as useful as paperweights. For a couple of hours we blundered around with flashlights and huddled by what sunlight came through our tinted office windows. Trying to work while straining our eyes in the dim light wore on everyone’s nerves. Just when it seemed as though we would need to surrender the rest of the day—click—light blasted into our excessively dilated pupils. After a few blinks, work resumed as if the power outage had not even occurred.
Many people in our world live under socio-economic conditions that do not facilitate production, let alone the restoration of impaired means of production. I know of buildings in Nigeria, for example, that have sat without working electricity or running water for years. For people in these conditions, it is not a matter of waiting for the second click to reinstate proper functioning. They are still waiting on the first click to initiate an enduring production process, all the while struggling with high unemployment and a scarcity of basic human necessities. Political instability naturally ensues from frustration over these conditions. The utopian promises made by proponents of a redistributionist economic order might sound appealing, but history has proven that these promises are empty. The first click these people are waiting for results from encouraging proper incentives and moral responsibility, not from non-substantive, politically advantageous promises.
One of our primary missions at the Acton Institute is to provide materials and programs that aspire to ignite this first click. Thank you for providing the financial contributions that make our efforts possible.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico