The Tool to Eradicate Poverty

Today marks the second annual "Blog Action Day," an effort to unite thousands of bloggers around one topic. Last year focused on the environment, and this year is dedicated to poverty. The website for the initiative describes its mission thusly:
"Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues."
I think this is a great topic to explore. Poverty is indeed a terrible state of existence, and it is horrible to contemplate the standard of living many humans have to endure. But rather than concentrating on the specific conditions certain people deal with, I'd like to offer a solution to poverty. It is really quite simple, and I can sum it up in one word. The solution to poverty is capitalism.

A brief survey of my fellow Blog Action Day bloggers shows that they would strongly disagree with my statement. "Isn't capitalism the very reason why people are starving in Africa?" they may ask. The answer to that question in every single case is "No. The cause is government's intrusion into the market and its inability or unwillingness to protect the individual rights of its citizens."

The success of the United States of America, and of all Western-influenced nations that embraced capitalism to some non-trivial extent, is incontrovertible evidence that capitalism is responsible for the greatest wealth creation in history, and to the extent that a country is capitalist, its citizens have experienced the best standards of living in history.

A perfect example of the amazing power of freedom, individual rights, and capitalism comes from that most American of institutions, Wal-Mart. As I have written about before, Wal-Mart has entered into the grocery market in Honduras, one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the Western Hemisphere. And rather than exploiting farmers and ruining people's lives, the appearance of Wal-Mart in the market has provided previously unimaginable stability, profit, and success to the poor farmers, as well as a whole host of benefits to consumers.

If those who yearn to end poverty were both well-informed and intellectually honest, they would recognize that charity, forced government aid in the name of altruism, or sweeping regulations are not the answer to the problem of poverty. The politico-economic system of capitalism with an objective government of laws serving only to protect individual and property rights, and its concomitant economic system of fully free trade, is the only real solution to poverty. It also happens to be the only moral system of government. Leave men free to produce and create, and to own the products of that effort, and you will see poverty vanish.

Thus, on this Blog Action Day to fight poverty, let us resolve to fight the problem at its root with the most potent tools at our disposal. Let us abolish all government interference in the economies of the world, and adopt constitutional republics that defend each individual's right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of his own happiness.

That is certainly a tall order. We are having a hell of a time accomplishing it here in America. But if you don't identify the real problem, how can you start to solve it?

Fight Poverty! Embrace Capitalism!

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