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Steven C. McMullen

Professor / Economist / Writer
Associate Professor of Economics
Hope College
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Steve McMullen is an associate professor of Economics at Hope College and a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include education policy, animal and environmental ethics, and theology

Popular Speaking Topics

How should Christians think about Economic Inequality?

Economic inequality in the U.S. has increased in the United States, and in many other countries, even as global inequality has declined somewhat. Inequality is troubling for Christians for many reasons, but there is little agreement on how we should think about this trend or how to respond. In this presentation, I give an overview of the trends in economic inequalities, examine some of the important causes of these changes in the economy, and then survey the way Christians can faithfully think about and respond to these issues.

Property Law and Endangered Species

How should we protect endangered species? These questions are at the center of public policy discussions about human activity and the environment, and highlight a conflict between the rights of property owners and environmental goals. In particular, environmental conflicts run deep in the U.S. because we have a long tradition of individual control over property that is challenged by centralized environmental protection efforts. This presentation will examine the role of regulation and property law in species preservation, and highlight the great advantages and limitations of using individual ownership to preserve rare species and ecosystems.

The Impact Market Economies on Moral Norms

Does life in a market economy make us better people, or does it undermine moral standards? In this presentation, I will make the case that both are true. In some important ways, market activity pushes people to be other-focused, disciplined, and trustworthy. In other cases, market competition can push people in the opposite direction, encouraging individualism and undermining costly moral standards. Knowing both when the market encourages moral behavior and when it does not is essential to living well and thinking about markets. Examples abound, but the focus here will be on labor force participation, individual mobility, and animal welfare.

Will Automation Eliminate our Jobs? The Labor Market Consequences of Technological Development

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence is dramatically changing the way we work and interact. The longstanding fear that new technologies will put people out of work seems to be justified, as manufacturing output continues to grow while manufacturing employment has declined. Other occupations are starting to see the same pattern. In this presentation, I will examine the history of labor-replacing technologies, the way new technologies impact the economy, and recent trends in the labor force, some troubling and some encouraging.

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