The Poverty of Nations
I recently finished an outstanding book called The Poverty of Nations, by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus. The book is a macroeconomic look at nations, both current and past, and the structures and cultures that produce economic growth or poverty - all from a biblical perspective. Typically we think if we indiscriminately throw money at poverty that the individual or nation will move to a productive level. However, there are usually deeper issues in play, whether it is the mindset of the individual or, at the macro level, economic systems that are extractive in nature. Great insight into scriptures that teach hard work and earning one's way. Great thoughts on the benefits of the free market system.
For some time as I considered the Free Market system it seemed to be a selfish way to transact business. Each person in it for themselves. Through thought and observation, it becomes apparent that those who make it in the free market system are those who see a need in the larger world and seek to meet that need. Whether it is putting shingles on a roof or selling widgets to someone who needs them, the free market economic system is the greatest system for meeting needs. It determines wage levels for various occupations much better than artificially setting a standard (as in $15/ hour minimum wage). The free market responds much faster to needs and variable conditions. The high level of trust necessary in a free market encourages the best of humanity also. One alternative is the socialist/communist model of governmental controls - a top-down determination. Aside from this having never worked in history (see the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, Greece, et al) it defies logic as it leaves power with a few elites who are making determinations for the masses. I am not sure why Europeans and many in the United States willingly vote themselves less control of their lives, and willingly surrender more of their autonomy to the government.
The book is loaded with great information. I plan to read/listen to it again. A comparable book on the microeconomic level (again, from a biblical perspective) is When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fickert.