Anti-Poverty Programs Don't Work
Despite an intensified campaign against poverty, World Bank programs have failed to lift incomes in many poor countries over the past decade, leaving tens of millions of people suffering stagnating and even declining living standards, according to a report released Thursday by the bank's autonomous assessment arm.
Among 25 poor countries probed in detail by the bank's Independent Evaluation Group, only 11 saw reductions in poverty between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, while the other 14 suffered the same or worse rates over that term. The group said the sample was representative of the global picture.
Perhaps the spread of Christianity throughout the southern hemisphere will positively impact the material prospects of those nations.
One reason for the lack of economic progress in much of the Third World is the ideology of paganism, described by economist P. T. Bauer as a:
Lack of interest in material advance combined with resignation in the face of poverty; lack of initiative, self-reliance and of a sense of personal responsibility for the economic fortune of oneself and one's family; high leisure preference, together with a lassitude often found in tropical climates; relatively high prestige of passive or contemplative life compared to active life...belief in perpetual reincarnation which reduces the significance of effort in the course of the present life; recognized status of beggary, together with a lack of stigma in the acceptance of charity...
The only way to achieve to broad-based wealth is by increasing productivity through capital investment, private property, stable money and a predictable legal order. However, to produce such fruit, a culture must first ingest principles of thrift and work based upon a future-orientation. In short, economic growth is a product of culture, and culture is a product of the religious presuppositions that under gird the culture. It is no accident that free-markets, capitalism and freedom constrained by law are largely confined to those parts of the world still borrowing off the spiritual capital accumulated by Christian ancestors.
In short, the answer to the problems of the Third World is not resignation, nor is it statism, but regeneration, and the application of biblical laws and precepts to all of life.