Champions of the Poor

cover art
336 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406654 (0878406654)

March 1998
LC: 97-37200



Champions of the Poor
The Economic Consequences of Judeo-Christian Values
Barend A. DeVries
Foreword by Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, OSB

Barend A. de Vries, a distinguished international economist, examines the economic roots of poverty, the actions that can be taken to eradicate it, and the ethical case for integrating the poor into the mainstream of society.

De Vries applies Judeo-Christian ethics—in particular, the values of social justice and compassion for the poor—to the problem of poverty in both the United States and in developing countries. Bringing together the insights of economics and ethicists, he considers both the economic feasibility of religious views regarding the eradication of poverty and the ethical aspects of economic programs. He analyzes the poverty of women resulting from discrimination, the impact of environmental degradation on the poor, the allocation of funding to military rather than social programs, and the implications of the enormous debts incurred by poor countries. In addressing these conditions, he demonstrates the pressing need for action on both economic and ethical grounds.

Champions of the Poor offers an unbiased presentation of the ethical positions taken by Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Evangelicals and stresses the need for all social sectors—religious and secular, business, labor and government—to work together to eradicate poverty. By reassessing poverty from these seemingly disparate approaches, it seeks to bring us closer to solving this age-old problem.

Barend A. de Vries is a former chief economist and Director of Creditworthiness Assessment for the World Bank, where he helped countires work on problems related to external debt, export policies, and industrial competitiveness. He has also worked in the Cowles Commission at the University of Chicago and at the International Monetary Fund. He is the author of Remaking the World Bank (1987).

"Barend de Vries combines the professional skill of the trained economist, the fruits of a lifetime spent in analyzing and addressing the problems of developing economies, and the moral focus that has animated the religious search for social justice. He has provided an important guide to those who search for clarity in the struggle to restore the issues of social justice and moral purpose to modern economic life."—Sumner M. Rosen, professor emeritus of social policy, Columbia University