Why Economic Freedom Is Our Greatest Hope
The behavioral patterns of humans are quite intriguing when considering that we have the greatest intellectual capacity of all the animal species. Yet, as a society, we behave with less orderliness. The human race’s infinite power of intellect can manipulate for its own personal gain to the detriment of the group unlike any other species. Yet, like other species, we desire and need order in our ecosystem, but our intellectual reasoning causes us to jeopardize our order and our basic need for freedom.
The animal kingdom experiences freedom through the development of its instincts and physical adaptations. Fish can swim, eagles can soar, deer are swift, and turkeys are wary. The most interesting contradiction in the animal kingdom is that the most powerful intellectual beings place the most limits on their freedom. Even when taught, we don’t learn. With so many historical examples, how is it that we continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated away from our most basic freedoms, which are the basic rights and desires of our entire existence? Our potential is only found in the pursuit of economic freedom.
Ranking Based on Freedom
On July 4, 1776, our Founding Fathers declared: “We hold these truths (of Nature and Nature’s God) to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. In other words: economic freedom.
In the 1770’s, economist Adam Smith developed his definitions and indicators of economic freedom called The Wealth of Nations. Today, the Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation (Washington’s #1 think tank) not only track these indicators globally but also rank Smith’s theories on liberty, prosperity and economic freedom for 185 countries.
As defined by The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org/index): “Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest…”
Every individual should study this index. The study ranks countries on ten fundamentals: property rights, freedom from corruption, government spending, fiscal freedom, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. What the study demonstrates is that as principles of economic freedom are prioritized, the economic prosperity and freedom of everyone in the country increases. The index ranks Hong Kong #1 and Singapore #2 (the U.S. is #10).
What’s the Purpose?
It seems today, that with all of the intelligence of the Internet and mass TV, we simply do not have people who can remember why government was created: “…establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessing of liberty…” Government was created to PROTECT economic freedom.
At the core of economic freedom is commerce. Jacob Stuart, CEO of the Central Florida Partnership, made a comment in a recent LEAD Orlando class: “Commerce is the reason for community.” When you consider this relationship and its value to the individual/family unit you realize that it is commerce that creates wealth, jobs, goods, services, entertainment, and education – the competitive freedom of commerce is economic freedom.
So how do you create commerce? The answer lies in the entrepreneurial spirit. That is the catalyst of commerce that results in economic freedom. When this spirit is healthy our other issues get resolved. Why? The entrepreneurial spirit is about solutions, cooperation, competitiveness, creativity, action, accountability and fairness. The entire population benefits when this spirit exists. It was this spirit that caused our Founding Fathers and thousands of others to leave England and sail to a new country, to fight, to put those freedoms to paper (Constitution) and why we developed into such a wealthy, influential, and prosperous country.
Hope for the Future
Individuals from other countries want to live here because we provide a platform for economic freedom. Or at least we used too – for the last five years we have dropped from the leader of the FREE world to tenth in the world and just a few tenths from being out of the top ten. When government spending is 25 percent of GDP, with a trillion dollars a year in debt being accumulated, and the individuals’ debt is more than 100 percent of GDP – the restrictions on economic freedom start to become overwhelming.
The integrity of hard work and education continue to lose ground as government grows. An individual without a drive for hard work and education can be easily manipulated. The ability to restore the U.S. to the top position in the world of “free” economies will take a resurgence of the entrepreneurial spirit that causes a significant reduction in the role of government.
The entrepreneurial wave is coming. It takes fifty years to create an economic cycle change, and thirty years ago there were only a handful of colleges that taught entrepreneurship. Today it is the norm and in some situations the leading academic focus. The future is bright. While the struggle is complex and difficult, it’s necessary – our economic freedom depends on it.
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