Ending Poverty the Hard (i.e., Only) Way

Justin Taylor has a whole bunch of links and videos about ending poverty through (gasp!) capitalism. It’s not the most popular solution, because it puts the power in the hands of actual poor people instead of politicians, bureaucrats, and celebrities who like to talk about all the great charity work they do. Also, because it’s a lot harder to create an environment that’s conducive to stable, free-market capitalism than it is to just air drop giant bales of money into a poor nation.

But time and time again, we see that the only long-term fix for poverty is giving people the freedom to lift themselves out of it. How do you do that? Dr. Jay Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, lists requirements for turning a poor nation into a prosperous one, including:

  • Establish and maintain the rule of law.
  • Implement a formal property system with consistent and accessible means for securing a clear title to property one owns.
  • Encourage economic freedom: Allow people to trade goods and services unencumbered by tariffs, subsidies, price controls, undue regulation, and restrictive immigration policies.

Yes and yes. Before people have any desire to work, they’ve got to have faith that what they’re working for won’t be arbitrarily confiscated by bandits, warlords, or the government (but I repeat myself).


  • Instill a proper understanding of the nature of wealth and poverty—that wealth is created, that free trade is win-win, that risk is essential to enterprise, that trade-offs are unavoidable, that the success of others need not come at your expense, and that you can pursue legitimate self-interest and the common good at the same time.

Hey, it would be great if we’d preach some more of that in the United States, too.

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