Jay Richards: How to end poverty in 10 tough steps

I saw that Stand to Reason’s Amy Hall blogged about a lecture by Jay Richards, a Christian expert in economics. Amy linked to this post by Justin Taylor which summarizes the talk (above).

Summary:

  1. Establish and maintain the rule of law.
  2. Focus the jurisdiction of government on maintaining the rule of law, and limit its jurisdiction over the economy and the institutions of civil society.
  3. Implement a formal property system with consistent and accessible means for securing a clear title to property one owns.
  4. Encourage economic freedom: Allow people to trade goods and services unencumbered by tariffs, subsidies, price controls, undue regulation, and restrictive immigration policies.
  5. Encourage stable families and other important private institutions that mediate between the individual and the state.
  6. Encourage belief in the truth that the universe is purposeful and makes sense.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Focus on your comparative advantage rather than protecting what used to be your competitive advantage.
  10. Work hard.

His book “Money, Greed and God” is a perfect introduction to economics and how it relates to the Christian worldview. I always encourage Christians to move beyond good intentions to good results by studying economics. We are supposed to be helping the poor, but how should we do it? Economics is the science that allows us to understand which policies we should support to do that.

One thought on “Jay Richards: How to end poverty in 10 tough steps”

  1. Without having seen the video, I think an additional valuable economic role the Government can provide is to establish laws placing limits on freedom of contract in cases where there is a big difference in relative bargaining power.
    An example from my own country: A law change last year banned so-called “zero hour contracts”, in which unscrupulous employers made employees promise to be available at very short notice for work, but without any promise of a minimum number of hours (or amount of pay) per week. These agreements, besides taking advantage of those desperate for work, meant that the same people couldn’t easily use their spare time to find second jobs or undertake training to improve their employment prospects.
    I admit that how much of treating others decently should be a legal duty, and how much should be left up to conscience and social pressure, is one of the basic political questions faced by any citizen in any age.

    Like

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