Sort out global poverty and hire Pope Francisby Jonathan Evans / November 13, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
As supreme leader, I have a to-do list:
1. Plan my retirement. Most political leaders run out of road in less than 10 years, because they go mad or the contradictions of their earlier decisions catch up with them. Better to go after seven years. Diocletian was the only Roman emperor to retire and he moved to the Croatian coast to cultivate vegetables.
2. Make sure the government doesn’t think it can do everything. Keep in mind all those meetings I attended in Whitehall where ministers struggled unsuccessfully with screwdrivers that were 200 miles long. Global governance could make that many times worse. We must do a few things well and then get out of the way. In particular we must stop the bureaucrats pursuing tidiness and consistency. This causes endless hassle, delay, cost and complication for no real benefit. Better to accept an untidy solution that more or less works than to struggle for months or years to tie up every loose end. Look at the British constitution—no one would design one like that but it works and, when it doesn’t, you adapt it.
3. Sort out global poverty. The best way to help people out of poverty is by encouraging enterprise, while providing access to capital and markets. Look at southeast Asia and China where more people have been pulled out of poverty in the last 30 years than by all the development aid spent in the last 50. So we will roll out micro-financing initiatives to help individuals and families escape from debt; look at mechanisms to encourag…