Acton Institute Powerblog

Wayne Grudem on the Solution to Global Poverty

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“There is only one effective solution to world poverty,” says theologian Wayne Grudem in a recent lecture on his latest book, The Poverty of Nations, co-authored with economist Barry Asmus. That solution, he argues, is a rightly ordered free market, and such a solution, he goes further, is “consistent with the teachings of the Bible about productivity, property, government, and personal moral values.”

Watch the whole thing here:

Grudem’s primary question, “What causes wealth or poverty in the world?,” is not new, but he approaches it from a distinctly Christian perspective. Assessing the question from three distinct angles — a nation’s economic system, government, and cultural beliefs and values — Grudem and Asmus propose 79 factors that “will help nations escape from poverty and move toward prosperity.” 

The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable SolutionAbout half-way through the lecture, Grudem offers the “why?” behind the “how?”:

Producing prosperity, creating wealth, is not morally evil or materialistic. It’s not morally neutral. It’s rather a morally positive activity. I think it’s a divinely commanded activity given to Adam and Eve when God commanded them in Genesis 1:29 to subdue the Earth and have dominion over it. I think that this is an ability that’s ultimately implanted because of our creation in God’s image, and it’s an ability that imitates, in a small way, God’s own creative activity. It’s an ability unique to the human race.

You can purchase Grudem and Asmus’s book here. Also, see the PovertyCure series for more resources on this subject.

PovertyCure DVD Series

PovertyCure DVD Series

Join host Michael Matheson Miller on a journey around the world to explore the foundations of human flourishing, and learn how people are moving toward partnerships and pursuing entrepreneurial solutions to poverty rooted in the creative capacity of the human person made in the image of God. Meet religious and political leaders, entrepreneurs, missionaries, and renowned development experts, and discover the powerful resources Christianity brings to the pursuit of human flourishing.

Visit the official PovertyCure website for more information.

Joseph Sunde Joseph Sunde is a writer and project coordinator for the Acton Institute, serving as editor of the Letters to the Exiles blog and content manager of the Oikonomia channel at He is the founder of Remnant Culture and was a longtime contributor to AEI's Values & Capitalism project. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The City, The Christian Post, The Stream, Charisma News, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Mission:Work, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.


  • jay kay

    is this the same Grudem who finds debt cancellation a bad idea?

  • Joshua Little

    Grudem towards the end says that heroic leaders in developing countries are the only hope for progress in development. It would be interesting to look at the influence of foreign missionaries on development