Michael Matheson Miller, research fellow at the Acton Institute, presented a course at Acton University a few weeks ago titled, “Poverty in the Developing World.”
The purpose of the lecture was to demonstrate the root cause of global poverty and to analyze the impact of attempts to alleviate poverty through economic aid. Miller was able to draw from the insights he gained during his extensive travels across the globe, and his conclusion was that aid often harms local economies because it crowed out small businesses by under-cutting their prices. He also found that aid often encourages dependency on foreign assistance which prevents long term economic development. However, he went on to clarify that “this lecture is not a critique of aid but a critique of a flawed system and its underlying assumptions of which aid is the main symptom.”
Miller pointed out that aid is often perpetuated by an individual’s desire to feel like he is making a difference: “We have turned people into the object of our charity instead of the subject of their own story.”
According to Miller, the actual solution to poverty in a developing society can be found through the institutions necessary for justice. These institutions include private property, the rule of law, and freedom of exchange.
Michael Miller’s lecture can be purchased online for a dollar.