Dr. Jay Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and the author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009), recently delivered a lecture for the Impact 360 Institute, and you can watch the whole thing below. While it is true that “the poor we will have with us always,” it does not follow that there is nothing that can be done about poverty.
Here are the ten principles he sets forth:
- Establish and maintain the rule of law.
- Focus the jurisdiction of government on maintaining the rule of law, and limit its jurisdiction over the economy and the institutions of civil society.
- 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.
- Encourage stable families and other important private institutions that mediate between the individual and the state.
- Encourage belief in the truth that the universe is purposeful and makes sense.
- Encourage the right cultural mores-orientation to the future and the belief that progress but not utopia is possible in this life; willingness to save and delay gratification; willingness to risk, to respect the rights and property of others, to be diligent, to be thrifty.
- 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.
- Focus on your comparative advantage rather than protecting what used to be your competitive advantage.
- Work hard.
For a book-length argument devoted to this theme, see Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus, The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (Crossway, 2013). Of this book, Dr. Richards writes:
There are many secular books on poverty, and there are many books on the Christian response to poverty. But Wayne Grudem, a theologian, and Barry Asmus, an economist, have done something far less common and far more valuable. They have successfully integrated Christian ethics and theology with sound economics. The result is a comprehensive and deeply satisfying synthesis. If you want to understand and help alleviate poverty, rather than merely supporting feel-good policies that may do more harm than good, you should read this book.
Also, here is another video of Dr. Richards, speaking on eight myths of economics, summarized in Money, Greed, and God.