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Rob and Lauren Hudson: Letter of Common Ground about other economic systems; for a fair discussion

Letters for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa

Because of America’s liberties, capitalism became the natural basis for our economy, but of course, it’s not the only basis for an economy. Other systems, such as fascism, communism, socialism, or some blend of these ideas, all involve large, controlling governments. We write to explain several deficiencies in these other systems and to identify common ground about the desirable attributes for an economic system.

With fascism, an unelected dictator does what the dictator wants. A dictator could be benevolent, evil, or incompetent. The old saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely” usually applies in real life. Putting a single person or a small group of people in charge of a country, where the rest of the people have no say in government, has historically failed.

With communism, the government (not individual citizens) owns or controls all or most property. The government decides what jobs people will have, what money people will make, and what they’re allowed to buy. When a large government sets living standards, people lose the incentive to work, create, and achieve.

Without incentives to produce, shortages of food, housing, and other goods/services tend to occur. Communism may sound good at first because, in theory, all citizens share everything. But communism has failed as an economic system.

Socialism, the fourth major system, involves large government bureaucracies controlling one or more segments of an economy. A socialist government, instead of private citizens, directly or indirectly owns or controls a marketplace for goods and services, including things like production and prices.

If you want something in a socialized segment of the economy, you may have to buy it from the government or buy it at prices set by the government. If you work in socialism, chances are you will work for the government, work for a wage determined by the government, or work in an industry tightly controlled by the government.

With socialism, private businesses don’t fully compete with one another to entice you to buy from them. Without true competition, socialism cannot produce the best product or good service at the lowest cost. In response, a socialized government may keep prices artificially low or provide things for “free.” Contrary to socialist claims, valuable goods and services are, of course, never free.

The bottom line is that no matter how good socialism sounds, it limits new, better options, better jobs, better products, and better services. Socialist governments don’t face threats of going out of business, nor can they become a big financial success. Socialism, therefore, removes free enterprise’s high degree of pressure, incentives, opportunities, and creativity – the very attributes that create amazing marketplaces.

In recent years, more citizens, including more young citizens, describe themselves as socialists. Despite what people who want us divided say, even free enterprise supporters and self-described socialists can find common ground about several desirable attributes of an economic system.

Everyone prefers a system that sets up the right conditions to help people, including helping more people to help themselves.

Everyone prefers a system that promotes productive creativity to invent technology and other useful items, including medical cures.

Everyone prefers a system that provides the most opportunity for people to succeed, including helping people get up after being knocked down.

Everyone prefers a government that can accomplish things for society which people or businesses can’t do for themselves.

Everyone prefers a system that features some degree of freedom, with mostly voluntary choices.

You may hear people suggest that values or principles don’t matter that much. But if we can agree on specific goals, even if we have different approaches for accomplishing them, we have a foundation for common ground. If we can agree on specific values, even if we have different approaches for carrying them out, we have just made more progress on common ground.

Instead of name-calling, it would be interesting if socialists and capitalists could talk more with one another about legitimate goals and values. In a fair discussion, more people will agree with one another and the best system will win.

Frost Brown Todd LLC Member and business lawyer Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky. Their next letter will explore common ground about freedom and hope.

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One Comment

  1. Mark Nolan says:

    Does KY Forward carry this hogswollop because it is free and there is space to be filled? I hope so, because the alternative is that the Publisher believes the snake oil Mr. Hudson is selling.

    There was a time Frost Brown (and its predecessors) was an outstanding law firm. They must have slipped if this guy is one of their attorneys.

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