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Poverty

Keeping the poor out of jail

Two Harvard Law graduates are taking on the justice system by focusing on local courts and policies that often land the poor in jail. Traveling to Tennessee, they aim to end private probation abuses.

The work of free markets

First, free enterprise dramatically reduces extreme poverty. In 1970, over one-quarter of the world lived on less than one dollar per day. By 2006, about one in 20 people lived in extreme poverty — an 80 percent reduction. We have the adoption of free markets across the developing world to thank for this massive reduction. That it happened in less than four decades is all the more impressive.

Via Michael Strain: Pope Francis should praise free markets more often @ Washington Post.

The Morality of Capitalism

[Father] Sirico, however, told CNBC in an interview that free markets are wrongly conflated with the urge to splurge on goods, or idolizing material wealth. Capitalism, Sirico insisted, is far more than that.

“The economic question with regard to morality is a subset of a broader theological question: Is human freedom compatible with religious beliefs?” said Sirico, the head the Acton Institute, a right-leaning think tank that studies the nexus between religion and liberty.

Sirico expressed broad agreement with the Pope on those left behind, but at the same time said laissez-faire capitalism and entrepreneurship is still the best way to address the challenges of poverty and economic need.

“If you love the poor, it’s not enough to have good intentions,” he said. “You can wish the poor to have bread, but if you don’t build bakeries and factories, the poor don’t get it.”

Via Capitalism is moral, and it works: Catholic priest @ Against Crony Capitalism.

Flourishing

“People of good will wish to end poverty. No one who lives in abject poverty wishes to remain there. We all know that poverty is a problem, but we differ on how to “fix” it. One clear distinction, discussed by Stephanie Summers, is whether we want to end poverty, or whether we want to promote…

Free Commerce as an Anti-Poverty Program

“Several years ago economist Bryan Caplan provided the most succinct and helpful statement about how we should think about free trade: “We’d be better off if other countries gave us stuff for free. Isn’t ‘really cheap’ the next-best thing?”” Via How Free Trade Helps the Poor @ Acton PowerBlog.

Government thinks the solution to homelessness is criminalizing free food for the poor

The flip side, and just as ignorant, of government’s many mandatory redistribution schemes. Societies don’t become prosperous through income redistribution; they don’t overcome poverty by banning charity lunches. Uniformed police shut down an effort to provide lunch to scores of homeless in Stranahan Park on Sunday, enforcing a law passed recently that puts new limits on…

Paul Ryan’s Focus on the Chronically Poor

Megan McArdle defends a focus on the most disadvantaged: But my point is also that chronically poor people are more likely to require extra government benefits because they don’t have any of the assets that the temporarily poor bring with them from the middle class: reliable cars, houses, savings accounts, credit cards, friends and family…

The Cure for Poverty

No surprise, it’s growth, and there’s no growth as profound as that from capitalism: Almost all of the fall in the poverty rate should be attributed to economic growth. Fast-growing economies in the developing world have done most of the work. Between 1981 and 2001 China lifted 680m people out of poverty. Since 2000, the…