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Apr 30 2008

Solution to Third-World Poverty


This issue came up recently elsewhere on the internet in response to various initiatives to assist poverty stricken people in third-world nations. Some of the initiatives being discussed were monetary grants and providing simple, low cost, laptops to people. The former always sounds like a good idea, but I don't think there is much evidence of its success and, at least in this country, does more harm long-term than good. The laptop idea...I've never understood.

I made a comment in the discussion that was responded to with much agreement (unusual for the internet) and praise. The comment, and my solution to third-world poverty is:

The single most important thing people need to rise out of poverty is property rights. You can have all the financial assistance and $100 laptops in the world, but if someone (a relative, a neighbor, a warlord, the government, etc.) can come in and take what you have built up away then there will always be poverty. There is an absolute correlation evidencing causation between the existence of well protected property rights and people being able to rise out of poverty and become wealthy. Man will find a way to become prosperous, if that prosperity is protected. Until the governments of poor nations are reformed, every other effort is doomed to failure.

Absent property rights, poverty is not far behind. Take for example second-world communist nations. They can have an incredibly educated populous but are still mired in poverty due to the lack of property rights. People, no matter what nation or background they are from, have near infinite potential. Their ability to make a better life for themselves and their children need only be protected.

Posted by Don |


  1. #1
    madoo said on April 7, 2009 | Reply

    Dear Don;
    You have a point there, and i liked your analysis. Only you are missing a very important part of the picture, if we can dedicate funds in a REAL productive projects, where poor can start realizing their "near infinite potential" and be important, productive members for their families and community, there will be a whole new dimensions of resistance and standing for their rights, for what they have seen and felt of high self esteem and support for their families, only then, no "relative, neighbor, warlord, government, etc. can come in and take what you have built up away".
    So they thing is UNLEASHING their infinite potential for them, then there will be no insecurity for their property and there will be no poverty.

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