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The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The whole world has a stake in the war against poverty and leaders across the globe are looking for a permanent solution. That's why economist Barry Asmus and theologian Wayne Grudem have teamed up to outline a robust proposal for fighting poverty on a national level. These two experts believe the solution lies in a comprehensive development plan that integrates the ...more
Paperback, 398 pages
Published August 31st 2013 by Crossway Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Natalie Vellacott
The dullest book I've ever had the misfortune to listen to....but I learnt something.

Firstly, a plea, for your own benefit. Don't buy, read or listen to this book unless you are interested in economics. Don't listen to this book just because it's a free download from Christian Audio. com. Don't force yourself to finish this book when you get to the stage that you are wandering round in the street trying to convince random strangers to develop more goods and services for the free market.

This is
John Scheepers
Jul 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I chose to read this book from expecting to disagree with it. I was fairly sure that I would find myself uncomfortable with some of the conclusions of the authors but because I value listening to voices other than my own or those in my camp I resolved to challenge myself with what appeared to be some thoughtful arguments on Christianity and the value of Free Market Capitalism.

How wrong can one man be? I downloaded this book months back and despite being an avid reader I plodded through this book
Brian Collins
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it
The thesis of Grudem and Asmus's book is that the solution to national poverty is to produce more goods and services. They further argue that the free market system is the best economic system for producing greater numbers of goods and services. Grudem and Asmus defend the free market system by arguing that it promotes virtues such as freedom, integrity, care for others, punctuality, courtesy, and fairness. The further argue that free markets moderate selfishness and greed and result in better ...more
Brian Eshleman
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is definitely worth reading, but also worth questioning. Until I read it, I didn't realize exactly how much the book has to say in favor of restrained government and the economic freedom of individuals, but we are also very vulnerable to hearing what we want from Scripture and using a book like this to reinforce our assumptions.

Just as God says that a blessed people operate each under his own vine, He also blesses Egypt with a strong central government He specifically designs and that
Mark Jr.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Im not an economist. Ive read precious few books on economic and political systems. But I try to listen in on the major conversations of the day, and a debate over the proper shape and role of the free market is definitely one of them. Its hard to imagine a time when it wont be. So Im not a complete neophyte when it comes to the major topic of Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus The Poverty of Nations.

But in this review it will be difficult to stick with what I (am supposed to) know, theology, because
A compelling argument for the Free Market System. Grudem discusses how government, religion, ethics, and more affect a nation's prosperity. Prosperity is not the most important thing but it is important. This would be a good read for my students in Economics.

2020 - A book of my choice
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: challies-2017
I got this audiobook because Wayne Grudem's name was on it. No other reason. If it were a print book, I might not have stuck with it, but since audiobooks allow me to multi-task, I tend to be more flexible in my choices. This book had a lot of good information, and the comments on fair trade goods and subsistence farming were thought-provoking. It gave the reasons that cultural and spiritual values MATTER, even in an apparently secular realm such as economics. The authors' stated purpose was to ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The basic information here really isn't bad, even though I didn't find anything that was "new". But unfortunately I felt like the earlier part, trying to build a biblical case for capitalism, just fell flat. It felt like picking and choosing verses rather than trying to build a biblical system: which makes sense because aside from some basic principles, I don't think the Bible really supports a particular system, being more concerned with how we conduct ourselves under any system.

One critique
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really tried to appreciate this book. It teaches a lot about basic and intermediate economics, and cuts through a lot of confusion on differing opinions.
That said, I disagree strongly that a country needs to be heterosexual and believe that resources are infinite and recklessly expendable in order to raise from poverty. I am a devout Christian and firmly against trying to convert conservative Christian ethics topics into economic foundations.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book encapsulates the ideas of several of my favorite economistsHayek, Friedman, Sowellwhile promoting economic growth in nations. The twist is that they approach their recommendations from both an economic and Biblical perspective. ...more
David West
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lots to think about in this one. I agree with most of the arguments presented. A lot of ground is covered - from economics to politcal systems to cultural values.
H. P.
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 isnt revolutionary, ...more
Ho Christopher
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Why are some nations so rich, and some so poor? Why do some nations improvised in natural resources yet can become so rich, but some blessed abundantly with natural resources and still remain so poor? Or think about it this way, what can nations (even those deprived of natural resources) do if they want to move out of poverty into prosperity?

The answers (un)surprisingly lies mostly within the system in which the country run by, economist Barry Asmus and theologian Wayne Grudem combine in this
Brenten Gilbert

I'm a little ashamed to admit that it took far too long for the play on words in the title to dawn on me. (I even majored in economics at one point in my college career and am familiar with the Adam Smith classic.)

That said, this is a book about economics and related policies to apply in impoverished nations in an effort to defeat global poverty. It's high level architecture with a deep dive into the rivets that hold everything together. I know, it sounds boring... but it's
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish every millennial Christian would read this book. Many of us dont realize just how much of the Marxist cultural air were breathing, and this book is a needed reprieve. Grudem offers a thorough look at why some nations are poor (from both a biblical and economic perspective) and provides a holistic approach to relieving national poverty that actually works, without resorting to the soul-crushing evils of socialism. Such a good book! ...more
Aaron Carlberg
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are other reviews out there that lambast this book, feel free to read them at your leisure. I will be short and to the point, this book, in our current world context, is something everyone should read. It is excellent, well reasoned, and on point. Many times our cultural assumptions cause us to disagree with various authors view of the scriptures, but very simply I believe Grudem does an excellent job at connecting the scriptures with open FREE markets systems.

Others have asked why the
Stormie Walston
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My generation NEEDS to read this book!! This is the important economic information my liberal public school "left out". I wish many of my peers would take time to read/listen to this mind-changing book!
My mom and my husband have been trying to convince me of these points for years and finally, with the convincing evidence from this book, I am persuaded.
We all want to do good and help those who are poor and suffering but the way we do that has NOT been working. America's prosperity is not evil
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I never knew world economics was so riveting.

Re-read. I listened to this on audio and Im still very much impressed. This book pairs well with Prisoners of Geography, as global geography contributes to economics.
Nathan Albright
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2018
This book was a lot different than I expected it to be.  Although the fate of nations and their well-being is certainly something that frequently comes to mind [1], when one hears the dreaded word sustainability, one does not often think of a generally conservative viewpoint, and that is what one finds with this book.  By and large, and one would expect from my own political and religious worldview, I found a lot to appreciate here, both in the author's thoughtful look at the Bible as well as ...more
Nicole Misra
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was not at all what I expected.

That being said, let's review the positive aspects of the book first. As someone who is not overly familiar with economics, this book was a good primer for me. The suggestions for growing an economy are generally commonsense, but this book is a good manual for those who might be seeking to change the culture of their economy from one of corruption to integrity.

That being said, I feel this book is definitely biased in regarding Western civilization and
J. Amill Santiago
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
As an enthusiast in economics and someone with a background in theology, this was definitely a delightful experience. Asmus (economist) and Grudem (theologian) did a terrific job writing this book. Their main idea was to create an economic recipe to transform the economic outlook of a nation as a whole. That is to say, to provide readers with all the necessary elements that have to exist so that a nation can transition from poverty to prosperity.

In such endeavor, they interact with a plethora
George P.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
 Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus, The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013). Paperback / Kindle 

The Poverty of Nations is an ambitious book. The goal of authors Wayne Grudem (a theologian) and Barry Asmus (an economist) is to provide a sustainable solution to poverty in the poor nations of the world, a solution based on both economic history and the teachings of the Bible. Toward that it end, their book focuses on what nations should do if they want to move from
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of clear sight. Written at the level of nations (rather than individuals in poverty), it provides fully-reasoned paths of destruction and progress. It focuses on 78 steps upon which a nation can focus if it is to rise from poverty into prosperity. It all centres on the productive creation of goods and services.

What has amazed me in this book is just how "within reach" the solutions are. These are not some insurmountable evils that shouldn't even be considered; they are things
Vinicius Carvalho
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, politics
I can't say I didn't know what I would find in this book after reading its description.
But I insisted in reading it for two reasons: 1) the candidate I supported in 2018's Brazilian Presidential Election (João Amoedo) recommended this book in an interview; 2) I am fond of free-market, liberal ideas and minimal government intervention.
But I am definitely not a conservative person and I quit believing in supernatural and religion stuff (not to say BS!) for quite some years now as I have had the
Noel Burke
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. I have a far greater understanding of economics and from a Biblical perspective too. Many will see this book as a conservative view of economics, but as the book expounds often, the data doesn't show that programs like communism or socialism work. They in fact create mediocre or minimum standard populations. They disincentivize productivity or pursuit of achievement because there is no reward at the end. A free market on the other hand allows creativity and rewards hard ...more
Matt Gass
We stand to benefit from more books which, like this one, tackle complex problems by involving thoughtful theologians and experts in those various other fields. Congratulations to Grudem and Asmus for their efforts to bring thoroughly biblical and reasonable thinking to such a complicated topic.

My primary criticisms are (1) that they adopt a simplistic view of poverty and (2) too easily dismiss materialistic consequences to their proposal, namely raising the GDP of poor nations. Although it
Joy Strube
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Grudem and Asmus essentially present the biblical basis for free market economies, through they do so through a very western lens. In doing so, the proof text passages from the Old Testament and transpose them into our current individualistic context. Though G/A make a sound argument about the viability and benefit of free-market systems, they dont fully take into account the particular liabilities of the consumerism and exploitation often present within these systems. Though in the intro they ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
It was a good book to listen to as I think I'm more often hearing from economists who've come to different conclusions, or at least with a different emphasis.

The main difficulty I had with the book, as someone who doesn't have much direct influence on the global or national economy, is that there was very little I could do in response to the book. At worst, it could lead me to blame those in poverty for being there, whilst remaining comfortable in my wealth. The other danger of this book (which
Brandon Stiver
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good primer on free market economics in development. Written from a Christian perspective, but there were times that the scriptures used were a stretch to prove the point. While I don't disagree at all with the importance of a free market and of course I follow Jesus, but it seemed that scriptures were applied to the point rather than exegetical use of scriptures that ought to lead to the point. For something to be Christ centered, the horse needs to pull the wagon, not the other way around. ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to the Protestant free market, and it's value for economic freedom and prosperity.

There's valuable, clear communication and interaction with other sources that give this work a large scale perspective, though it did seem like interaction with other economic models (i.e. socialism) was only light sparring with stawmen.

I'm left encouraged because the free market seems magical, and powerful in it's ability to bring immense good simply by creating an environment that punishes
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Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological 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 ...more

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“The biblical way to help people rise out of poverty is through wealth creation, not wealth redistribution. For lasting results, we must offer the poor a hand up, not merely a handout. You spell long-term poverty reduction “j-o-b-s.” Training and tools liberate people. Trade, not aid, builds the prosperity of nations.” 1 likes
“some nations have tried to bring about more economic equality in economically harmful ways, not through opening up free markets but through brute use of government power. Making equality a more important goal than overall economic growth is a mistake for a government, because merely distributing the same amount of wealth in different ways does not change the total amount of wealth a nation produces each year, which is the only way that any nation has grown from poverty to prosperity.” 1 likes
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