The Only Solution to World Poverty
Religion & Liberty Online

The Only Solution to World Poverty

global-poverty-2-15One of the primary assumptions of the modern age is that all choices are multiple choice. Whether we are choosing the color of the car we drive, the occupation that we will work, or the lifestyle we will live, choice is the dominate paradigm.

While the expansion of choices has, in many ways, expanded human flourishing, it has also led, in some areas, to a false belief that merely wanting something to be multiple choice will make it so.

But what if some large-scale problems only have one solution? What if instead of being an open-ended “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel, these problems are like mathematics, with one right answer?

Global poverty is a primary example, argues Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus, of a problem with only one type of solution:

There is only one effective solution to world poverty. It is the only solution that has ever worked or will ever work. It is evident from the history of every wealthy nation today, and it is consistent with the teachings of the Bible about productivity, property, government, and personal moral values.

After extensive research in both economics and biblical ethics our conclusion is this: poor nations must somehow produce their own prosperity, and it is possible for them to do this.

[. . .]

The only economic system that has ever produced national prosperity is a free market system, not a welfare state or socialism or communism. Our book explains in layman’s terms how a free market works and why it is morally superior to every other economic system. However, a free market can only be truly free when it includes widespread access to private ownership of property, effective rule of law, a stable currency, increasing specialization in the workforce, free trade both domestically and internationally, and allowing people to keep most of the fruits of their labor (through low taxes). But a free market system alone will not bring prosperity unless a nation also has the right kinds of government and cultural beliefs.

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Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).