The Left is making “income inequality” a cause célèbre , even trying to make it a campaign issue for this election cycle. Academicians and theorists present many reasons for why the “top one percent” earn so much more than the middle class, but lost in the discussions is why wealth is created by some people and not by others.
The Poverty of Nations, an ambitious book by Wayne Grudem, an evangelical theologian, and Barry Asmus, economist, answers that question. In short, nations that enjoy prosperity have adopted more features of the free market system than those that suffer poverty. Yet today, establishment solutions to nearly all economic maladies call for government intervention in the marketplace, not free market policies.
Countering the trend toward government intervention and central planning is an uphill battle. Central planners and socialists have entrenched themselves in formidable positions: university chairs, media outlets, government positions, and the Fed. They speak from “on high.” Opposing their positions is almost heresy.
Winning this battle will be by educating the people who have firsthand experience with the obstacles that governments have placed in their way. Grudem and Asmus provided a great tool for this battle when they co-wrote The Poverty of Nations.
The Poverty of Nations explains why free markets produce wealth, much of which can be found in many other books. But, it is unique in that it offers Biblical references for many of its positions, such as private property, industry, thrift, and the value of voluntary exchange. Striking is their explanation of the difference between greed and self-interest.
The Poverty of Nations was not written for economists and academicians but for laymen. It makes esoteric economic concepts easy to comprehend. It is rare–especially in these times–that authors would support their positions with Biblical verses, but Grudem and Asmus are up to the job.
The Poverty of Nations is an excellent book for people wanting to gain a grasp of basic economic concepts and wanting to learn why government programs fail while private programs succeed.