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New book Poverty & Freedom argues local think tanks are the key to ending poverty

Poverty book

[ARLINGTON, VA – October 21, 2019] Poverty & Freedom, a new book edited by Atlas Network president Matt Warner, demonstrates how making the world more prosperous starts with supporting locally-led initiatives that remove institutional barriers to freedom—and give people greater choices over their own future.

Governments and well-meaning philanthropists continue to spend billions of dollars on foreign-led interventions that prop up the traditional model of international development. But real solutions to poverty are worked out by people with a vision of change that is rooted in a local understanding of sustainable growth. The freedom to grow and develop is enhanced by the crucial knowledge and leadership that only local people can provide—and this is the model that can create a lasting exodus from poverty. The thirteen case studies in Poverty & Freedom showcase the inspiring work of local think tanks that are committed to expanding freedom for vulnerable populations by fighting government abuse, making legal markets more inclusive, and removing other barriers to opportunity all over the world.

“In every country there are barriers—unfair laws, corrupt practices, unworkable bureaucracies—that disproportionately harm low-income people,” explains Warner. “Outsiders have a lot of ideas about how to fix those problems, but the more effective approach is to support local visionaries who better understand what needs to change, how to change it, and how to communicate the benefits of those changes to local stakeholders.”

Drawing on a diversity of thought leadership from academics and practitioners in the international aid community, Poverty & Freedom invites consensus on a new philanthropic approach to economic development, one that turns attention away from the traditional foreign aid model and instead emphasizes voluntary support for local change organizations focused on expanding economic opportunity for low-income populations.

Poverty & Freedom is available for preorder on now and will be released on November 1, 2019. For more information, please visit

About Matt Warner

Matt Warner is president of Atlas Network, a U.S. based nonprofit organization committed to advancing freedom and economic opportunity throughout the globe. Warner writes, speaks, and consults internationally on the topics of economics, institution building, nonprofit management,

measurement, and impact philanthropy. He coined the term “the outsider’s dilemma” to describe the challenge of helping low-income countries without perversely getting in the way of their most viable paths to prosperity. Warner has a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University and is certified by Georgetown University in organizational development. He is a Penn Kemble Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and a recipient of America’s Future Foundation’s Buckley Award.

About Atlas Network

Atlas Network advances opportunity and prosperity by strengthening a global network of independent civil society organizations that promote individual freedom and remove barriers to human flourishing. The organization cultivates a network of partners—currently more than 490 in 93 countries—that share a vision of a free, prosperous and peaceful world where the rule of law, private property, and free markets are defended by governments whose powers are limited.

Atlas Network’s vision is to create greater opportunity for individuals to use their talents freely and contribute to increasing levels of peace, civility, and prosperity, and the organization invests in civil society organizations that are working toward a free society. Through a unique “Coach, Compete, Celebrate!” model, Atlas Network provides training and mentorship designed to improve the efforts of free-market organizations, and encourages friendly competitions that elevate performance and celebrate achievement. The Doing Development Differently initiative is helping partners around the world advance, implement, and market locally-grown solutions to poverty that improve established measurements of economic freedom, and regional centers in Latin America, Africa, and the United States and Canada are focusing international attention on the political, social, and economic benefits of free-market reforms.