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Friday Five: Fighting Poverty the Bloomberg Way

On Friday’s we gather some of the week’s best content in one place. This week’s collection includes lessons about welfare policy from New York City, two cheers for capitalism, and more.

1. Fighting Poverty the Bloomberg Way: Turns out Mayor Bloomberg did more for the Big Apple than ban extra-large sodas. Drawing from his experience administering New York City’s welfare programs, AEI scholar Robert Doar describes the essential ingredients to an effective anti-poverty agenda.

Nurture a job-producing economy and require work in welfare, but also reward work with earnings supplements that make wages go further. Those were the mantras of the Bloomberg welfare program, and as a result we were more successful at helping poor residents than most large cities.

2. Two Cheers for Capitalism: In the last two centuries, the globe has witnessed extraordinary improvements in human well-being. Why is that?

3. The Republic of Fear: In his review of Gary Haugen’s book “The Locust Effect,” David Brooks explains that the promise of safety and security enjoyed by those in the developed world is not the reality in much of the developing world.

We in the affluent world live on one side of a great global threshold. Our fundamental security was established by our ancestors… But people without our inherited institutions live on the other side of the threshold and have a different reality. They live within a contagion of chaos… In a world without functioning institutions, predatory behavior and the passions of domination and submission blot out economic logic.

4. Why We Shouldn’t Abandon the Term “Social Justice”: Although social justice is often associated with liberal redistributive policies, Joe Carter argues that social justice is in fact “a deeply Christian term” rooted in the biblical call to seek justice and relieve the oppressed.

Rather the abandoning the term to the political left, Christians should find a way to reclaim the true meaning of social justice. We need to show that we can give people their due without resorting to freedom-destroying tactics.

5. Charity – An Insufficient Conclusion? Although providing the poor with immediate physical relief and financial assistance might seem to be a compassionate effort, Peter Greer of HOPE International points out that such “charity” is ineffective and unsustainable.

Our eyes are open to the problem of poverty, but simultaneously, our eyes are open to the challenges of truly making a lasting difference… [There is] a movement that sees the immediate need, but works to empower long-term change…a movement that seeks to empower and unleash by giving Fadzai and others like her the dignity of meaningful work.