At the core, this desire to level the playing field is a motherly instinct to protect that has corrupted good economic policy and hurt the lives of many people in almost all parts of the world. This desire to mother is a sinful assumption that other people are not capable of making their own decisions about what is best for themselves.
Most people are not better off when they are protected by excessive regulation and laws because the price of protection comes at a high cost in freedom. It is quite simple nowadays to judge the results of a government policy by comparing outcomes to other countries and other societies in similar circumstances. Sadly, many influential leaders, including Christian leaders, refuse to acknowledge the fact that freedom has produced better results and improved many more lives than government regulation.
Brian Wesbury has made some very good points in regards to freedom and economics in his piece Policy and Economic Denial.
Nonetheless, there were continued signs that the world's intellectuals remain in serious denial about which policies create wealth and higher standards of living.
Mr. Collier's speech, according to Ip, "made a persuasive case that nowhere more than in Africa has geography undermined economic progress." Collier theorizes that small, landlocked and resource-poor countries can't keep up and lag behind. This is not a new theory, but it is still wrong-headed. Freedom, not geography, drives growth and wealth creation. Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic are all landlocked and relatively small, but are clearly not poor. On the other hand, many African nations have vast resources.
Now, South Korea's is twice that of Brazil's. By way of explanation, he noted that the average Korean has 13 years of school, while in Brazil the figure is six years."This idea that Asian economies owe their success to education is also wrong-headed. While education is important for individual success, if you happen to live in a country with high taxes, burdensome regulations, and unstable monetary policy, education and the entrepreneurial spirit are stifled.
But is it really true that, because of geography, African nations have no hope? And is it true that if government educates more people, wealth automatically follows? No. The Wealth of Nation's are not determined by geography or education, but freedom. While there are many who want to reject the teachings of Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Frederich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and others, denial does not negate the truth.
Brian Wesbury is the Chief Economist for First Trust Advisors in Chicago, IL.