Poverty


There appears to me to be a growing consensus among evangelicals to join the global fight against poverty.  I remember the emphasis of Saddleback, under the leadership of Rick Warren, joining the fight in Africa.

More recently, the Pope has enjoined Christians to engage the battle against poverty.  The document Caritas in Veritate is discussed in this article from First Things.  What is intriguing to me is not the call to be socially conscious and active in fighting poverty; rather, what is most intriguing to my mind is determining the method most effective in the fight.  Surely, if we are to engage in battle, we will want to do so with the most efficient weaponry and the best overall strategy.

What if capitalism is the best way to alleviate poverty?  Most often, capitalism is not mentioned as a method to be trusted; instead, it is assumed to be a dubious mechanism, exploiting markets and the oppressed in the pursuit of profits.  However, many such as Milton Friedman have argued that a market driven capitalism has freed more people from economic enslavement than any mechanism yet devised.  Could or should we encourage and promote capitalism?  As Christians, what is the role of capitalism in fighting poverty?

What do you think?

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