Friday, June 27, 2008

Battle of the Bills

Bill Easterly speaks sense in response to Bill Gates' call for creative capitalism.

The creative capitalism blog is an interesting blog. It's basically a bunch of superstar economists (on both sides of the econo political spectrum) reacting to a speech Bill Gates gave on transforming capitalism to better attack poverty. Apparently they plan on turning this into a book. (HT: Megan McArdle.)

Easterly's comments align well with what I'm hoping to communicate w.r.t. Brian McLaren's views of rich & poor.
The false accusation was that traditional capitalism fails to help the poor. It is certainly true that firms have much more incentive to meet the needs of rich people with money than to meet the needs of poor people without money. What Mr. Gates forgot was that as firms expand their production to meet more of rich people’s needs, they hire more unskilled labor to do so—driving up the incomes of poor people.
Just add this to my list of the ways that the rich, unknowingly help the poor as a result of a gap between the rich and the poor.

Steven Landsburg's comments also resonate:
You can’t end poverty without capitalism. (And indeed, prior to capitalism---more precisely, prior to the Industrial Revolution---the entire world was poor.) ... Bottom line re eradicating poverty: Capitalism is indispensable; health and education measures can help.
Not that I can add anything to something these guys have written, but I would also add that institutions matter, too.

1 comment:

Jimazing said...

Re: "Not that I can add anything to something these guys have written". I do not read these blogs the way you do, but I do read your blog. Even if you are restating the thoughts others, it matters (to me). Keep writing and giving your perspective. It is valuable.

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