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How can the faithful best care "for the least of these"? During a discussion at AEI on Tuesday, contributors to a new volume on poverty, theology, and economics agreed that while the free enterprise system is by no means a panacea for all social ills, it is by far the best economic system to serve the poor.
Art Lindsley of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics reminded the audience of the scriptural view that all people are image-bearers of God, which means we all possess an inherent dignity that is best expressed through creativity and dynamism, not passivity. Lindsley's colleague Anne Bradley provided a clear overview of income inequality, suggesting that income mobility and consumption levels are in fact better measures of whether a society is flourishing.
Peter Greer of HOPE International detailed how a recent World Bank survey elucidates that many poor people abroad view their own poverty in primarily sociological rather than economic terms: they feel ashamed, powerless, and as though they lack a respectable voice in the larger community. He stressed that this means entrepreneurship can empower people in ways that redistribution cannot.
Author Jay Richards concluded the discussion by calling on Western Christians to embolden poor countries to walk a path successfully taken by modern economies. By encouraging the rule of law, free trade, property rights, and entrepreneurship, we can actually help end extreme poverty in the world. For Christians, Richards emphasized, this is the best path for heeding the biblical call to truly care for the less fortunate.
Although the biblical command to help “the least of these” is indisputable, the practical means for doing so are less clear. Over the past century, as the social ties that bind individuals together have loosened and dissolved, the safety net has changed hands from local communities to an ever-increasing administrative state. Yet this paradigm, supported by many well-intentioned Christians, has resulted not in greater access to prosperity, but in a multigenerational cycle of poverty and dependency.
Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion on poverty, theology, and economics with contributors to a compelling new volume from the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, “For the Least of These.” Attendees will receive a complimentary copy.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Registration and lunch
Josh Good, AEI
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
Peter Greer, HOPE International
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
Jay Richards, Coauthor of New York Times bestseller "Indivisible"
Josh Good, AEI
Audience Q & A
For more information, please contact Meredith Schultz at [email protected], 202.862.4879.
For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.
Anne Bradley is vice president of economic initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (IFWE). She is also a visiting scholar at the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy and a visiting professor at Georgetown University, George Mason University (GMU), and the Institute for World Politics. Before joining IFWE, Bradley taught at Charles University in Prague and served as associate director for the program in economics, politics, and law at the James M. Buchanan Center at GMU. She has also conducted extensive academic research on al Qaeda and the political economy of terrorism.
Josh Good is program manager for AEI's Values & Capitalism Project. He previously spent four years working on a pair of responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage initiatives at ICF International. He also worked on a national faith-based ex-prisoner reentry project, in partnership with congregations and businesses.
Peter Greer serves as president and CEO of HOPE International, a faith-based microfinance nonprofit organization. Before joining HOPE, he served as the managing director for Urwego Community Banking in Rwanda, a technical adviser for the Self Help Development Foundation of Zimbabwe, and a microfinance adviser in Cambodia. He has coauthored four books on issues of faith and international development, including “The Poor Will Be Glad” (Zondervan, 2009), “The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good” (Bethany House Publishers, 2013), “Mission Drift” (Bethany House Publishers, 2014), and the forthcoming Values & Capitalism monograph “Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing” (Summer 2014).
Art Lindsley serves as the vice president of theological initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics. A leading voice on Christian apologetics and the theological integration of faith and work, Lindsley is a senior fellow at the C.S. Lewis Institute and previously worked as the director of educational ministries at the Ligonier Valley Study Center and as a staff specialist with the Coalition for Christian Outreach. He is the author of “C.S. Lewis’s Case for Christ” (IVP Books, 2005), “True Truth” (IVP Books, 2004), “Love: The Ultimate Apologetic” (IVP Books, 2008), and “Classical Apologetics” (Zondervan, 1984).
Jay Richards is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. He previously worked as a contributing editor to AEI’s The American magazine, visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, research fellow with the Acton Institute, and professor at Biola University. His work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers “Infiltrated” (McGraw-Hill Education, 2013) and “Indivisible” (FaithWords, 2012), as well as the Templeton Enterprise Award winner “Money, Greed, and God” (HarperOne, 2010).