Acton Institute Powerblog

The greatest foe of poverty

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Winston Churchill once said, “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.” Do young Americans, asks Chris Horst, believe entrepreneurship is a target, cow, or horse?

My experience tells me we’re more apt to label entrepreneurship a cow or target. Indifference is common, as if commerce exists almost as a nonfactor for the poor. Scorn is the most-vocal response to free markets. We conjure distasteful images when considering concepts like multinational corporations, factories and globalization. Among the images I summon are sweatshops, the 1%, boycotts, Big Business, child labor and executive caricatures like Mr. Burns.

It’s true: Free markets are not perfect. And we don’t have to look far to know economic prosperity alone does not prosper. Notorious B.I.G., summarized what we all know to be true: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”

But the verdict is in. Churchill was right: Private enterprise is our sturdy horse, and nobody knows this better than the poor. By overwhelming margins, free markets and private enterprise have enabled more people to escape poverty than any system in the history of the world.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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