Archive for the ‘institute of public affairs’ Tag

Free markets, free trade and … communism

There is a myth that free markets and free trade go hand in hand with democracy.

In The Age today John Roskam from the Institute of Public Affairs has a go at the churches for advocating aid to Africa, because “the evidence is irrefutable. Free political institutions, free trade and free markets are the best way to get people out of poverty. The difference between the economic development of Africa and Asia is proof of this.”

He claims the churches have lost sight of the facts, but presents none of the “irrefutable” evidence for his position. The closest he comes is “Many Christians are uncomfortable with the idea that their desire to buy and enjoy the consumer goods made in the factories of China and Vietnam can be as effective in defeating poverty as giving away 10 per cent of their weekly salary.”

China and Vietnam? Free political institutions? Both one party states under communist rule.

At least he could have mentioned India, which is after all a democracy, although the government does need the votes of the communist parties to keep its majority in parliament.