Monday, November 30, 2015
Was happy to spend a couple of hours listening to Arthur Brooks and John Carr each present and then answer media questions at EPPC's Faith Angle Forum event earlier this month. Though I have yet to read Brooks' new book, The Conservative Heart, I am now more anxious to do so.
Brooks' focus on issues of poverty from a conservative perspective is deeply needed today. The premise of his talk--and book, I believe--is that globalization, the free market and entrepreneurship--when properly confined by the rule of law and property rights--are the forces which have brought billions out of poverty across the world. He is less sanguine about solutions for poverty at home, but his analysis of the state of things seems to me true: for the last several decades, including in debate about welfare reform in the mid-90s, both sides of the aisle have talked about the poor as though they were "liabilities to be managed," not "assets to be developed." Brooks asks: how do we "add value" to those who can be (who are) valuable? How do we help people develop themselves as persons with dignity? His answer is to find ways to help the poor develop themselves such that through their work, they can be needed. "There is something inherently human about becoming necessary to others through your work." More here.