Monday, November 17, 2008

More faces of religious competition

I am keeping my comments short here because there are so many.
  • A college fraternity or sorority is a club by almost any definition let alone our economic one. It should not be surprising then that they provide a forum for people to promote and foster religious ideals in college students. See this Chicago Tribune article about religious fraternities.
  • The Salvation Army is now accepting credit cards according to this Associated Press release. This should not decrease contributions, but will it increase them? By how much? Many people do not want to take time out of their hurried shopping to make a contribution even though they often use the "I don't have any change" excuse. If it is the opportunity cost of time that prevents contributions, then accepting credit cards will not help much as it does not increase the number of people contributing. On the other hand, if people are constrained by the number of bills in their wallet, then the people who already contribute may now be willing to contribute more than before because they can charge it.
  • The Mandaeans practice one of the world's oldest religions, but they are nearing extinction according to this Chicago Tribune article. The religious marketplace, like other marketplaces, experiences exit as well as entry.
  • Finally, here's a Wall Street Journal article about atheists' increased attempts to compete with religion. The very end of the article gets to the relevant economics. One issue is whether atheists can compete with the variety of goods and services offered by religious groups, including the many club goods. The writer seems to question their ability to compete, though it would have been nice if the writer explored this in more detail:
    Still, leading activists say nonbelievers tend to be just as wary of organized atheism as they are of organized religion -- making it tough to pull together a cohesive movement. "A pastor can say to his flock, 'All rise,' and everyone rises. But try that in an atheist meeting," said Marvin Straus, co-founder of an atheist group in Boulder, Colo. "A third of the people will rise. A third will tell you to go to hell. And a third will start arguing....That's why it's hard to say where we're going as a movement."

1 comment:

  1. Michael Hirschberg, Econ 17March 9, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    The story about the Mandaeans is very sad. Where ever they go they are threatened. Even though their religion is older than Christianity, Islam, and possibly Judaism, their own neighbors, classmates, citizens want to kill them! This is just ridiculous. I feel very sorry for them. The only way they will be able to survive is if there is religious freedom in Iraq. I do not believe that they can survive as a religion outside of Iraq. Iraq is their home as Mecca is to Islam and Jerusalem is to Judaism. But, because they are so strict, I believe that eventually they will die out. Very sad story.


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