Walter E. Williams

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some 43,443 people were killed on the nation's highways in 2005. If Congress were to enact a 10 miles per hour national speed limit, we'd save thousands of lives each year. You say, "Williams, that would be stupid and impractical!" My response to you is: But look at all the lives that would be saved. What you really mean by stupid and impractical is that preventing thousands of highway fatalities is not worth the cost and inconvenience that would result from having to poke along at 10 miles per hour. Of course, calling a 10 miles per hour law stupid and impractical is a more socially acceptable way of saying those saved lives aren't worth it.

How about academics and researchers seeing grinding Third World poverty and chalking it up to a "vicious cycle of poverty"? This vision of poverty sees people as too poor to save. That means they can't create investment capital. Because they can't invest, they can't develop, and that keeps them poor. In other words, people are poor because they're poor.

According to the "vicious cycle of poverty" vision, the only escape is foreign aid. The only way this theory of Third World poverty would have any credibility is if every country were poor. There's no country that wasn't at some time poor, including our own. If poverty is so vicious, how did today's rich countries escape it?


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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