Q2014: Brian Fikkert and First World Poverty
Let’s begin with 2 Questions:
- How would you describe success in your own life?
- How can you get there?
How is Western Civ trying to help poor around the world?
- Success comes from consuming more and more things (a typical Economist’s answer).
- What limits our consumption is our income.
- Therefore: to increase income is to increase success
- Greater access to material resources (especially capital)
- Improved technologies
It’s an unavoidable reality that physical capital produces diminishing returns. Continued income increase requires better technology.
In this model, the US is the endgame. Western Civilization’s definition of success is the United States.
What’s wrong with that?
Human beings are hardwired to Connect
We have greater material consumption than anyone ever in human history, but we’re more miserable too.
We need a biblical understanding of success and how to get there.
This is what it means to bear the Image of God (Imago Dei):
- Substantive: structure of human being reflects God’s nature: Mind/Heart/Actions-Body
- Relational dimension: How we relate to God, Self, Others, Creation
Success looks like relating to God/Self/Others
Picture a wheel: Our Self is the hub. When we use our hub to relate well to God/Self/Others/Creation then tire is well-formed. This is what human flourishing looks like.
Material poverty is a symptom of the underlying brokenness in our relationships to God/Self/Others/Creation.
The goal is not to turn Bangladesh into the USA. It’s to turn both Bangladesh and the USA into the New Jerusalem.