Friday, October 23, 2009

The Way Out of Poverty

"Productivity growth and, hence, the way out of poverty, is not simply a matter of throwing resources at the problem. More important, it is a matter of using resources well."

In other words, countries grow out of poverty not only when they manage their fiscal and monetary policies responsibly from above, i.e., reform wholesale. In recent years, a lot of attention and moral concern has been devoted to the roblem of persistent poverty, particularly in Africa. That is a good thing. But persistent poverty is a practical problem as well as a moral one, and we do ourelves no good to focus on our moral failings and not the practical shortcomings of the countries and governments involved.

Poor people grow out of poverty when their governments create an envioronment in which educated workers and capitalists have the physical and legal infrastructure that makes it easy to start businesses, raise capital, and become entrepreneurs, and when they subject their people to at least some competition from beyond - because companies and countries with competitors always innovate more, better, and faster. pg 402

...if you change the regulatory and business environment for the poor, and give them the tools to collaborate, the will do the rest. pg 403
~ Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat

In my work to better understand the causes of poverty as well as the way out of poverty, most of my research has been done using religious-based sources. It's also helpful to read and discover what non-religious sources have to say about the reality of poverty. If a church is going to help lift its neighborhood out of poverty, we need to understand some of the bigger forces at work. If a church is going to bring a full-orbed Good News to the poor, it had better understand how to be realistically helpful, intentional, resourceful, creative, and persistent.

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