November 23, 2015 Print

Prosperity doesn’t result from the society-wide plans of politicians and bureaucrats, like the ambitious third-world development goals designed by the United Nations, but from the spontaneous process of entrepreneurs who respond to the local conditions around them and find ways to make other people’s lives better through exchange. Iain Murray, vice president of strategy for Atlas Network partner the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), recently released a study proposing a series of realistic targets that have been proven as successful methods of increasing prosperity and resiliency. These targets include secure property rights, the rule of law, access to affordable energy, access to capital and credit, and the creation of markets in education.

Titled “Real Goals to Empower the Developing World” the CEI study reminds readers that prosperity does not result from top-down design, but from the bottom-up processes of people using their property to improve the world. Property rights allow commerce and trade, and a strong rule of law provides the assurance that no individual will be subject to arbitrary political dictates or sudden changes in how laws are enforced.

The study goes on to explain the importance of affordable energy as the fuel for human welfare, a vital ingredient in the processes that enhance human productivity. Education is also crucial for entrepreneurs to grow and prosper, and access to market-driven educational options ultimately help the most poor and vulnerable, who traditionally have not benefited from one-size-fits-all government education monopolies.

“A resilient world is one where humans are allowed to flourish,” Murray concludes in the full study. “Markets are more likely to foster the conditions favorable to human flourishing than the prognostications of planners. Property rights are fundamental to the creation of markets. The rule of law protects people from the depredations of what Matt Ridley calls ‘chiefs, priests, and thieves.’”