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The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution

A. National focusB. Steps from within a nationC. Not a simple solutionD. Written for ordinary readers, not economistsE. Written to leaders, especially Christian leaders, but also those who are not ChristiansF. Written for studentsG. Why don’t economists agree on a solution to poverty?H. Why should we help the poor?I. The responsibility of leadersJ. Material prosperity is a secondary issueThe goal. Produce More Goods and ServicesA. What makes a country rich or poor?The standard measure of wealth and poverty: per capita incomeThe standard measure of what a country produces: gross domestic product (GDP)What will increase a country’s GDP?B. Other goals that have been suggestedC. The amazing process of creating value that did not exist beforeExamples of the creation of products of valueTransfers of goods from one person to another do not increase GDPPrinting money does not increase GDPHow can a nation create more goods and services?D. Examples of nations that have become prosperous by producing more goods and servicesBritain: cotton manufacturing and the Industrial RevolutionNations that have grown more prosperous todayE. Biblical support for creating more goods and servicesF. What goods and services can your country create?Wrong goals. Approaches That Will Not Lead to ProsperityA. Dependence on donations from other nationsThe harmful results of dependence on foreign aidThe reasons foreign aid is harmfulBiblical teaching about dependence on donations from others“Earned success” is more important than moneyB. Redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poorIn some nations, people are rich because of abuse of government powerIn other nations, people are rich because they have rightfully worked and earned more moneyC. Depletion of natural resourcesD. Blaming poverty on outside factors or entitiesColonialismAgencies that lend money to poor countriesThe world economic system and international terms of tradeRich nations and multinational corporationsE. Conclusion: what the goal is notWrong systems. Economic Systems That Did Not Lead to ProsperityA. Hunting and gatheringB. Subsistence farmingC. SlaveryD. Tribal ownershipE. FeudalismF. MercantilismG. Socialism and communismH. The welfare state and equalityI. A better solution: the free-market systemThe economic system. The Free MarketA. The free-market system definedDefinitionThe rule of lawAre all economies “mixed”?Are we really talking about capitalism?The economic success of free-market systemsBiblical support for human freedom in economic systemsB. The wonder of a pencil: the free market, without a human director, makes complex products that no one knows how to makeC. The economic foundation of a free market: private ownership of propertyThe justification of private property from the BiblePrivate property implies an obligation for responsible stewardshipGovernments both violate biblical principles and hinder economic development when they prevent people from owning propertyHistorical evidence of the economic damage that occurs when governments prevent private ownership of propertyThe importance of legal titles to propertyGovernment rules that make property ownership impossibleEstablishing an easy path to documented property ownershipD. The legal foundation for a free market: the rule of lawE. Two crucial economic factors for a free marketThe government must establish a stable currencyThe government must maintain relatively low tax ratesF. Does your country have a free-market system?The mechanics of the system. How Does a Free Market Work?A. “No one” decides what, how, and for whom a national economy will produceB. Specialization is the key to greater prosperityThe benefits of specializationSpecialization works because everyone has some comparative advantageSpecialization in a nation changes over timeC. The remarkable signaling system of the free marketD. Prices are an amazing worldwide source of instant economic informationE. Profits and losses are the green and red lights of the system, by which customers signal “go” or “stop”F. Competition leads to interpersonal cooperation, better products, more choices, and lower pricesG. Entrepreneurship: many try, few succeed, but all of society benefitsH. Summary of how a free-market system functionsI. How wealthy people in rich nations can genuinely help poor nationsThe moral advantages of the system. A Free Market Best Promotes Moral VirtuesA. Promoting personal freedomPromoting freedom of choice for moral actionsPromoting freedom for abstract or spiritual pursuitsB. Promoting personal virtuesPromoting personal integrity and truth-tellingPromoting accountabilityPromoting earned successModerating selfishness and greed, and using them for goodPromoting wise use of the environmentCurbing materialism and promoting personal charityC. Promoting interpersonal virtuesMeeting the needs of othersPrioritizing the wants of othersTreating others humanelyTruly helping the poorPromoting “lesser virtues” such as punctuality, courtesy, tidiness, and a job well doneD. Promoting societal virtuesPromoting a peaceful and harmonious societyPromoting a fair societyPromoting a productive societyE. Moral objectionsObjection: free markets do not workObjection: free markets depend on greedObjection: free markets result in inequalityObjection: in some countries, free markets become “bad capitalism”Objection: we don’t need more “stuff”The government of the system. Leaders Who Use Their Power for the Benefit of the People as a WholeA. Protections against corruption in the governmentRule of law: all people are equally accountable to the lawsFair court system: courts show no favoritism or bias, but enforce justice impartiallyAbsence of bribery and corruption in government officesAdequate power of governmentLimited power of governmentSeparation of powers in governmentGovernment accountability to the peopleB. Protections government should provideProtection against crimeProtection against diseaseProtection against violations of contractsProtection against violations of patents and copyrightsProtection against foreign invasionAvoidance of wars of conquest and civil warsProtection against destruction of the environmentC. Things government should promoteCompulsory universal educationLaws that give protection and positive economic incentives to stable family structuresLaws that protect freedom of religion for all religious groups and give some benefits to religions generallyD. ConclusionThe freedoms of the system. Essential Liberties for Economic GrowthA. The importance of freedom for economic growthB. The types of freedom the government should protectFreedom to own propertyFreedom to buy and sellFreedom to travel and transport goods anywhere within the nationFreedom to relocate anywhere within the nationFreedom to trade with other nationsFreedom to start businessesFreedom from excessive government regulationFreedom from demands for bribesFreedom for a person to work in any jobFreedom for workers to be rewarded for their workFreedom for employers to hire and fireFreedom for employers to hire and promote employees based on meritFreedom to utilize energy resourcesFreedom to change and modernizeFreedom to access useful knowledge (freedom of information)Freedom for all people to be educatedFreedom for women as well as menFreedom for people of all races and all national, religious, and ethnic originsFreedom to move upward in social and economic statusFreedom to become wealthy by legal meansFreedom of religionC. ConclusionThe values of the system. Cultural Beliefs That Will Encourage Economic GrowthA. Beliefs about religious mattersThe society believes that there is a God who holds all people accountable for their actionsThe society believes that God approves of several character traits related to work and productivityB. Beliefs about moral standardsThe society values truthfulnessThe society respects private ownership of propertyThe society honors other moral valuesC. Beliefs about human natureThe society believes that there are both good and evil in every human heartThe society believes that individuals are responsible for their own actionsThe society highly values individual freedomThe society opposes discrimination against people on the basis of race, gender, or religionD. Beliefs about the familyThe society honors marriage between one man and one womanThe society values permanency of marriage and has a low divorce rateE. Beliefs about the earthThe society believes that human beings are more important than all other creatures on the earthThe society believes that the earth is here for the use and benefit of human beingsThe society believes that economic development is a good thing and shows the excellence of the earthThe society believes that the earth’s resources will never be exhaustedThe society believes that the earth is orderly and subject to rational investigationThe society believes that the earth is a place of opportunityF. Beliefs about time and changeThe society believes that time is linear, and therefore there is hope for improvement in the lives of human beings and nationsThe society believes that time is a valuable resource and should be used wiselyThe society manifests a widespread desire to improve on life—to do better, to innovate, and to become more productiveThe society is open to change, and the people therefore work to solve problems and make things betterG. Beliefs about work and economic productivityThe society honors productive workThe society honors economically productive people, companies, inventions, and careersThe society’s business owners and workers view their companies primarily as means of providing customers with things of value, for which they will then be paid according to that valueThe society places a high value on saving in contrast to spendingH. Beliefs about buying and sellingThe society believes that mutual gains come from voluntary exchanges, and therefore a business deal is “good” if it brings benefits to both buyer and sellerI. Beliefs about knowledge and educationThe society values knowledge from any source and makes it widely availableThe society values a highly trained workforceThe society assumes that there must be a rational basis for knowledge and recognized channels for spreading and testing knowledgeJ. Beliefs about humility and the value of learning from othersThe society demonstrates a humble willingness to learn from other people, other nations, and members of other religionsK. Beliefs about governmentThe society believes that the purpose of government is to serve the nation and bring benefit to the people as a wholeThe society believes that government should punish evil and promote goodL. Beliefs about the nation itselfThe society values patriotism and reinforces a shared sense of national identity and purposeM. Beliefs about economic, relational, and spiritual valuesThe society counts family, friends, and joy in life as more important than material wealthThe society counts spiritual well-being and a relationship with God as more important than material wealthN. ConclusionBibliography
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