In a new article from West Michigan Christian News, Paul R. Kopenkoskey covers a recent Acton Lecture Series event. The lecture featured, Anne Rathbone Bradley, vice president of economic initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. Titled, “Finding your purpose: Why Christians must support economic freedom,” it looked at the virtues of the free market in achieving prosperity. Bradley, a strong proponent of biblical approaches towards achieving human flourishing, spoke of a position rooted in biblical principles in support of the virtues of the free market.
As Kopenkoskey notes, Bradley painted a stunning picture of the benefits of the free market in comparison to more regulated markets (most notably, Russia) by articulating the surprise of the former President of Russia on a simple, but fundamental difference between the two types of economies (on Yeltsin’s initial visit to a grocery store in the U.S.):
“He’s depressed and overwhelmed by what he sees,” said Rathbone Bradley.
…”He (Yeltsin) cannot believe that ordinary people, in a mild mannered way, are pushing grocery carts in an air conditioned, well lit grocery store,” continued Rathbone Bradley. “There are no fistfights. Nobody’s pushing each other. He’s in awe of the grocery store. (Yeltsin) said if the Russian people knew of this they would surely revolt.”
As Bradley explained, Yeltsin was in awe of what the United States has achieved for its people. We have markets that are more technologically advanced and hold a greater variety of food options than anything Russians could dream of. Additionally, Kopenkoskey lists some of the benefits of the free market:
The benefits of economic freedom become evident other ways as well: life expectancy increases, infant mortality drops, environmental standards improve and literacy rate rise.
“When you look at the most free societies, less than two percent lives in extreme poverty but when you look at the least free societies, 30 percent live in extreme poverty. Which society do you want to live in? My suspicions are we all want to live in a society where we have a very low chance of being poor.”
It convinced Boris Yeltsin, who embraced the higher standard of living Americans enjoyed.
“It made him more of an advocate of economic freedom,” said Rathbone Bradley. “We get to do that every day because we live in a society of economic freedom.”
To read the full article by Kopenkoskey click here. A video of this lecture will be available online soon.