Friday, June 12, 2015

Is "ending poverty" the wrong goal?

While not personally religious, I take an interest in the division among those who are, with regard to reducing poverty. Some groups lobby government to do more; others would prefer the government did less.

The Acton Institute falls into the second category. The following questions whether the goal should be to end poverty, or to encourage people to "flourish" and to reach their potential. From their blog:

Ending poverty focuses primarily on government policy and programs. It utilizes metrics, numbers, data to “prove” success. The goal is to move a person or family from one income bracket to the next, higher up. It is economics-focused, not person-focused.
How is the goal of human flourishing different? It is more robust, Summers says; it encompasses more than simply economic factors. “We are not simply baptizing a particular public policy agenda or means,” Summers states, but seeking a manner of living that allows each person to reach his/her fullest potential...
Primarily, government must not hinder human flourishing. It cannot and must not stand in the way of human flourishing or worse, encourage human stagnation. 
And we know what human stagnation looks like.


Anonymous said...

Neither ending poverty, nor encouraging human flourishing, nor preventing human stagnation, are questions with which the government should concern itself.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Agree. The point is that because government wrongly concerned itself, human flourishing has been negatively affected. So, in terms of libertarian activism, there are policies aplenty that need undoing.