Rethinking Welfare: The LDS Welfare Program vs Public Welfare

David R. Iglesias 1
  • 1 Loyola University, , 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans LA 70118


In his libertarian manifesto, For a New Liberty, Murray Rothbard [15] points to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an excellent model for what a private welfare program would look like in a free society. In analyzing this same organization, we can see that nearly 50 years later Rothbard’s analysis is truer than ever. Unlike the public welfare programs in the U.S., the LDS church has successfully helped lift countless individuals out of poverty and off the welfare rolls by increasing their level of productivity – a point that Henry Hazlitt [7] made in his book, The Conquest of Poverty. Public welfare, on the other hand, has continuously failed to increase the standard of living or even lift those it ostensibly seeks to help out of poverty; on the contrary, it is a system that prevents economic independence. The analysis in the present paper seeks to revive, amplify and bring up to date Rothbard’s observation and provide further insight on key factors that other private organizations can take from the Church’s model. Ultimately, it reveals that the successful journey out of poverty is not a public but rather a private endeavor.

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