Monday, September 25, 2006

Free market solutions to hunger

I heard a presentation from a man who was then serving as a missionary to Madagascar.

He said that during times of period famine, merchants would come into the village and buy up their property. Their house for a few week's food. This was the mutually voluntary agreed upon price. Was it the just one?

The missionary said that he had been involved in an effort where he would buy grain far away and have it transported to the starving village. He'd then sell it at his cost. I was in the crowd, and I commended what he was doing. He said it was a drop in the bucket.

He also said he was chastised for his grain sales by the Pakistani businessmen who were involved in the house-buying, that this was not something to be done.

Martin Luther wrote in his "Sermon on Trade and Usury" about the public service of Joseph, who rose high in the court of Pharoah:
"Besides, there can be no doubt that as a Christian and a righteous man he let no poor man die of hunger, but, as the text states [Gen. 41:36], after he had been placed in charge of the king's temporal law and government he gathered, sold, and distributed the grain for the benefit and profit of the land and its people. Therefore, the example of the faithful Joseph is as remote from the conduct of the unfaithful, self-seeking merchants as heaven is far from earth."

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