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The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution Paperback – August 31, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“This book will become a standard text that we will use to train every mission team we have in 196 countries. It should be required reading in every Christian college and seminary, by every relief and mission organization, and by every local church pastor.”
Rick Warren#1 New York Times best-selling author, The Purpose Driven Life; Pastor, Saddleback Church

“I became an economist because I fell in love with the idea that a nation’s choices could determine whether citizens faced wealth or poverty. Thirty years of research has led me to believe that wealth comes from a choice to support freedom and limited government. I became a Christian because I fell in love with Jesus Christ. The Bible says we were created in God’s image and that while we should love our neighbor, we are also meant to be creators ourselves. I never thought these were mutually exclusive beliefs. In fact, I believe biblical truth and free markets go hand in hand. I have searched far and wide for a book that melds these two worldviews. Asmus and Grudum have done it! A top-flight economist and a renowned theologian have put together a bulletproof antidote to poverty. It’s a tour de force. The church and the state will find in this book a recipe for true, loving, and lasting justice.”
Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist, First Trust Advisors LP; Former Chief Economist, Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress

“God entered the earth by joining a poor family. He spent a lot of time with the poor and taught a lot about the poor. In this book, practical and insightful global solutions are offered to help the poor as Jesus wants us to love and serve the poor.”
Mark Driscoll, Founding and Preaching Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle Washington; Founder, Resurgence; Co-founder, Acts 29; New York Times #1 best-selling author  

“Grudem and Asmus offer a convincing perspective on the moral foundations of a successful economy and society. Continuing in the great tradition of classical economic thinking, The Poverty of Nations argues that a free-market economy, based on private-sector initiative and a well-defined but limited role for the government, produces superior results in terms of material wealth accumulation and distribution. However, the unique insight of this book is to ground human interaction, and the political and economic systems it defines, in moral and ethical values originating from Scripture. The authors argue that stable societies, property rights, free will, and the pursuit of happiness are not only moral values, but also prerequisites for long-term growth. The authors pursue this insight to its logical conclusion by drawing concrete and detailed political and economic implications. There is vast literature on this topic, but I remain thoroughly convinced that the clarity of thought and the originality of the arguments will make this book a point of reference for future generations.”
Ardian Fullani, Governor, Bank of Albania

“Grudem and Asmus show how the science of economics can be combined with a morality rooted in religious belief to help us understand why some nations are rich and others poor.”
John C. Goodman, President and CEO, National Center for Policy Analysis

“The religious leaders of the world wonder why poor countries remain poor. Key figures from Billy Graham to Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama have often urged the rich of the world to care for the poor—but how to do it? How to organize government and business to ‘remember the poor’? Now, theologian Wayne Grudem and economist Barry Asmus bring forward a book to explain how free enterprise and, crucially, biblical teaching combine to illuminate the path to progress for the poor. Every legislator—every voter—needs to read this.”
Hugh Hewitt, nationally syndicated radio talk show host; Professor of Law, Chapman University

“Grudem and Asmus provide a comprehensive set of principles for reducing poverty around the world. Seldom does one find such a complete and thoughtful integration of sound economics with good theology. The Poverty of Nations is strongly recommended for anyone concerned with world poverty.”
P. J. Hill, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Wheaton College; Senior Fellow, Property and Environmental Research Center, Bozeman, Montana

“The authors have written clearly that the sustainable solution to the poverty of nations is the free-market system—the most moral and successful economic arrangement and the only one capable of enabling people to produce their way out of poverty and to personal well-being.”
Jon Kyl, Former U.S. Senator from Arizona

“There are not many Christian books on this subject. Even less those that integrate a Christian worldview with economic systems, free markets, freedom, and prosperity, besides poverty. Grudem and Asmus offer a thorough analysis of several economic systems that went wrong and offer a plausible defense of the biblical basis for the free-market solution and how it could change a nation. There may be some question as to whether such a system would work for Latin American countries. But because of the underlying biblical principles, this book should be translated and studied in other parts of the world besides America. It will help Christians engage the social, economic, and political issues of today in a more significant and effective way.”
Rev. Augustus Nicodemus Lopes, Professor of New Testament, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil

“For the longest time, in Christian circles certainly, the crisis of poverty has deserved a thorough and practical response. Comprehensive in scope and practical in style, this book offers insights that cannot be taken lightly.”
Mutava Musimi, MP, Chairman of Budget and Appropriations Committee, Kenya National Assembly; former General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Kenya; former Senior Pastor, Nairobi Baptist Church

“Many excellent authors over the past dozen years have felt the elephant’s trunk, legs, and tail. Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus are the first to show the whole behemoth. They explain clearly and simply what we must know to love truly those in need. The Poverty of Nations should be required reading at every Christian college.”
Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World News Group

“There are many secular books on poverty, and there are many books on the Christian response to poverty. But Wayne Grudem, a theologian, and Barry Asmus, an economist, have done something far less common and far more valuable. They have successfully integrated Christian ethics and theology with sound economics. The result is a comprehensive and deeply satisfying synthesis. If you want to understand and help alleviate poverty, rather than merely supporting feel-good policies that may do more harm than good, you should read this book.”
Jay W. Richards, PhD, author, Money, Greed, and God; Visiting Scholar, The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics; Senior Fellow, the Discovery Institute

“Given the plethora of myths and misconceptions that so many people hold with regard to the importance of a free economy, its moral foundation and practical benefits, especially for the poor, The Poverty of Nations provides an easy-to-read, sensibly organized, and morally clear argument on behalf of a free society. Merely reading the table of contents will provide clearer thinking than many graduate students get in economics courses.”
Fr. Robert A. Sirico, President, Acton Institute

“All right-thinking Christians are deeply concerned about the seemingly intractable problems of global poverty and inequality. Many view free-market economics as the cause of the problem rather than the solution, and assume with the best of intentions that aid, debt cancellation, wealth redistribution, environmentalism, and trade protectionism are what is needed. Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus provide a compelling account of how nations can alleviate their poverty by means of development, increasing the production of goods and services, within a free-market model that guarantees the right to property and personal freedoms. This clear and accessible book is grounded in solid economic theory, historical analysis, and, above all, faithful biblical exegesis. The result is not a call for untrammelled capitalism, but for responsible development shaped by core cultural values that lie close to the heart of the Christian faith. Not everyone will agree with their approach, but anyone concerned to help those affected by poverty in our world will have to take their arguments seriously.”
Rev. John Stevens, National Director, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches; former Deputy Head of School, Senior Lecturer in Property Law, and Senior Honorary Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, UK

“Relying upon a thoughtful combination of objective economic history, a clear understanding of human nature, accurate economic analysis, and a moral code based on personal freedom and the pursuit of happiness, the authors delve into means for alleviating the poverty of nations. The writing style is highly approachable and draws the reader into a realm of ideas that envisions hope for the downtrodden if government authority is properly exercised. Like The Wealth of Nations, it demands the...

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Barry Asmus (PhD, Montana State University) is a senior economist at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting private sector, market-based solutions to economic growth and development. Named by USA Today as one of the five most requested speakers in the United States, Asmus has been writing and speaking on political and business issues for over 25 years. He has twice been voted the Outstanding Professor of the Year and has received the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge Award for Private Enterprise Education. He is the author of eight books including Crossroads: The Great American Experiment (coauthored with Donald B. Billings), which was nominated for an H. L. Mencken Award.

Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Grudem earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, as well as an MDiv from Westminster Seminary. He is the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a cofounder and past president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books, including Systematic Theology, Evangelical Feminism, Politics—According to the Bible, and Business for the Glory of God.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (August 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143353911X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433539114
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By H. P. on August 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The Poverty of Nations enters a crowded field addressing alleviating poverty in poor countries (the title references The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes as much as The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith) with a unique twist: it addresses economic development with a firm foundation in both sound neoclassical economics and biblical scripture. We get a whole lot of verse of scripture to go with frequent reference to Landes, De Soto, and Ferguson. The economic stance isn't revolutionary, if admirable for its commitment to sound economics. What sets the book apart is the theological rooting and its embrace of the importance of culture.

The Poverty of Nations looks at economic systems (chapters 3-6), government laws and policies (7-8), and national cultural values and beliefs (9). They define the most important factors for economic growth as: "the rule of law, private ownership of property, specialization and free trade, economic freedom, and the incentives necessary to create wealth and the hope of reward." They define the elements of the free market as: "(1) decentralized decision making . . . , (2) specialization and trade, (3) the signaling system of the market, (4) prices as the language of the signaling system, . . . (5) profits and losses . . . (6) competition and voluntary cooperation," plus "the risk-taking of the entrepreneurs who drive innovation." They also describe the foundations for a free market system as "(1) private ownership of property with easy legal documentation of ownership, (2) the rule of law, (3) a stable currency, and (4) low taxes." Recommended safeguards against corruption are: the rule of law, a fair court system, an absence of bribery, limited power of government, and separation of government powers.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin P. Halloran on November 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
The evangelical world is at no shortage for books explaining why or how Christians should help the poor. It is no longer an argument if Christians should engage in ministries and activities that promote justice and help the poor, now the argument is how we should go about doing that.

In The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution, theologian Wayne Grudem teams up with economist Barry Asmus to provide a theological, economically literate manifesto explaining how to best relieve poverty on the national level.

After hearing that Wayne Grudem published a book on alleviating poverty, I was intrigued from the start because I greatly value the clear and balanced biblical perspective he brings to theology and because I have not heard of any similar books being written with a Christian perspective.

Grudem and Asmus explain their focus on the first page of the introduction:

"We focus on national laws, national economic policies, and national cultural values and habits because we are convinced that the primary causes of poverty are factors that affect an entire nation."

The book serves as a crash course on macroeconomics from a classical perspective and shares harsh realities for many Keynesian ideas. The authors systematically explain their economic views by explaining the goal that will truly help nations out of poverty: being a nation that creates more goods and services and increases the overall GDP. This is a principle they refer back to again and again, and is very helpful in exposing errors in flawed economic theories and avoiding good intentions that lead to harmful results (that is so common in discussions on poverty).

Grudem and Asmus explain through 78 principles what enables a country to escape poverty.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poverty of the Nations takes up the incredibly valuable task of looking at how we can effectively help fight global poverty. Few endeavors are as centrally aligned with the manifested efforts of the Kingdom as this, and pursuing it wisely and effectively is of the utmost concern. The authors examine a wide range of factors that contribute to the economic success and failure of nations, providing some great insights, with Bible verses and economic principles to support their claims.

Unfortunately, this book often seems to be shaped more by American neoliberalism ideology, than thorough Biblical theology. This book works hard to find verses that can interpreted (or misinterpreted) to support this ideology, ignoring or dismissing significant passages and themes on equality, sharing, social justice (not just punitive), and grace that would reshape economic vision. Favoring an ideological focus on economic growth bottom-line, instead of a more nuanced theological grounding on the whole of scriptural council on economics, predictably leads to typical libertarian suggestions.

There are some great points made by the authors, they provide an excellent defense (both scripturally and economically) of enforcing protection of private property ownership and economic freedom. They provide numerous suggestions for just and fair government structures that will give citizens maximum opportunity to freely pursue economic opportunities.

However, when it comes to issues including taxation, welfare, aid, and debt forgiveness, a distorted theological foundation and sloppy economic analysis lead to poorly supported claims.

Finally, I was somewhat confused by the focus in relation to the anticipated audience.
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