Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The Poverty Cure
The standard answer (from the foreign aid community) has been more or less to rain money on poor countries and send in the technocrats. Alas, this hasn't worked. We've been trying it since Bretton Woods. Although the Acton Institute is a religious organization, they understand variations on the foreign aid model don't work either. Indeed, the Poverty Cure is a refreshing departure from the "mission" model, as well, which is often little better than foreign aid with a religious twist.
In this video, Acton demonstrates commitment to institutional change of the sort we discuss on Ideas Matter. That is: new institutions, new innovations and more exchange -- or rules, tools and trade. Just one of these components is not sufficient. All are necessary. And the rules have to come first. If you don't get the rules right, little else is likely to emerge except, of course, the rot of corruption and the subjegation of the people. Acton shows us that poor people need elbow room. They need the space and freedom to launch ventures to rise out of poverty, organically, by serving each other's needs via entrepreneurship and exchange.