MLive provides a plug for the Acton Institute…..again
Last week, MLive ran a story about the local pro-Capitalist think tank, the Acton institute. The story is about an award the Grand Rapids based organization won for a documentary that purports to offer a solution to poverty.
The award was presented by the Templeton Foundation at the annual Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner. The MLive writer cites the Atlas Network’s CEO and Acton’s Executive Director, Kris Mauren. Interestingly, if you look at the Acton blog post for November 13, one would think that the MLive reporter just used the Acton content instead of writing their own story.
However, even more egregious than simply plagiarizing the Acton blog, the MLive reporter doesn’t even bother to provide any information on the Templeton Foundation or the Atlas Network, let alone an opposing point of view to the claim made by the Acton film.
The Atlas Network states that their vision, “is of a free, prosperous and peaceful world where limited governments defend the rule of law, private property and free markets.” Their President is Alejandron Chaufen, who also happens to be on the board of the Acton Institute. The list of partners for the Atlas Network are hundreds of neoliberal, pro-capitalist think tanks and foundations, such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the American Enterprise Institute and the State Policy Network, which just held its national convention in Grand Rapids in late September.
Each of these entities promotes policies that redirects more money to the top, promotes the privatization of public services, the deregulation of industry, denies Climate Change and attacks unions and workers.
The PovertyCure project, which the Acton film is based on, is a project of the Acton Institute. The PovertyCure project promotes a Christian ethic, coupled with the belief that free market capitalism is the only thing that will bring people out of poverty. One of the core values of the PovertyCure project is that, “Humans flourish most in environments where private property, free association and the free exchange of ideas and goods are sponsored by a culture of trust and protected by the rule of law.” This value is quite similar to the vision of the Atlas Network.
The documentary, Poverty Inc., does take a critical look at the global charity approach to poverty alleviation, but offers up free market capitalism as a cure to poverty. The film has an edgy feeling to it that is deceptive, so much so that filmmaker Michael Moore even praises the film, by saying, “You’ll never look at poverty and the third world the same again.” Moore screened the neoliberal capitalist film at his annual film festival in Traverse City this past August.
The PovertyCure project has several hundred global partners, all of which are religious based organizations that embrace the free market. It seems pretty clear that there is a network of religious groups that promote the supremacy of the free market and are now giving each other awards for promoting what they all agree upon. This should come as no surprise for the Acton Institute, since they have a long history of being funded by the likes of the DeVos and Prince families, which are the poster families for the merging of religion and capitalism. Unfortunately for MLive readers, they would not get any of the backstory to this network, but they do give an endorsement of the Grand Rapids-based right wing think tank.