The economic success of the Western world is a product of its moral philosophy and practice. The economic results are better because the moral philosophy is superior. It is superior because it starts with the individual, with his uniqueness, his responsibility, and his capacity to choose.

—Margaret Thatcher. Speech to the Zurich Economic Society, March 14, 1977.

Poor nations do not need financial aid or loans from wealthy countries. If anything such largesse will only make them worse off by burdening them with debt and fostering dependency. Only industry and trade can bring them prosperity. They lack industry and trade due to a failure to implement the principles of good government, in particular the rule of law and property rights. As Ayn Rand explained:

The ‘under-developed’ nations are an alleged problem to the world. Most of them are destitute. Some, like Brazil, loot (or nationalize) the property of foreign investors; others, like the Congo, slaughter foreigners, including women and children; after which, all of them scream for foreign help, for technicians and money … . If those nations were taught to establish capitalism, with full protection of property rights, their problems would vanish. Men who could afford it, would invest private capital in the development of natural resources, expecting to earn profits. They would bring the technicians, the funds, the civilizing influence, and the employment which those nations need. Everyone would profit, at no one’s expense or sacrifice. (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966.)

Short of invading and reforming these countries, there is nothing the Free World can usefully do for them other than be open to their trade. With trade comes prosperity and contact with the outside world. With prosperity and contact with the outside world, the people will be more likely to be able to reform their government.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove