2012 ERC Scholarship Essay Program $750 Recipient
Lia Ludlam, Bellevue (Sammamish High School)

The Miracle of the Free Market System

The heart of the free market system is hard work and risk-taking. These two characteristics have kept the United States of America flourishing for the past 300 years and will continue to do so if we fulfill our civic duty to protect them. In countries where the government constrains the market by implementing price, wage, and production controls, the principles of hard work and risk-taking cannot thrive– resulting in a suffering people and economy and eventually a collapsed government.

The first principle, hard work, is necessary to ensure better prices, higher product quality, and increased production rates, which all contribute to the welfare of the American people. In a free market system, people know that if they work harder they can enjoy a better quality of life. This incentive to be industrious and efficient results in prosperity for the whole country because production increases and prices are kept competitively low. Other countries that enforce production rates and prices cannot motivate their workers to be prosperous, and so their economies decline.

Risk-taking is another important component of the free market system. The chance to improve financially is essential in the creation of better products and independent businesses. Because they have the opportunity to keep their profits, entrepreneurs will take risks to create and invest in new products.

Not only does the free market foster a healthy economy, it also cultivates a happier people. Self-sufficiency and the ability to progress in their social status allows hard-working American citizens to lead more fulfilling lives. Also, consumers enjoy continually-improving products and lower prices. This is why, when the principles of the free market are allowed to flourish, America has been the world leader in medicine, defense, engineering, and technology.

To continue America’s legacy as a land of opportunity and prosperity, the President ought to make the integrity of the free market system his priority.  If he is able to reinstate the principles of hard work and risk-taking as the fundamental components of our fiscal policy, the economy is sure to thrive. One way to spur economic growth would be to cut entitlement spending. The “dole,” though proclaimed to decrease poverty, is not a sustainable method of helping the poor—in fact, it creates a cycle of dependence and removes the incentive to work hard. Also, if corporate taxes were cut, entrepreneurs would be more likely to take risks and start up small businesses at home instead of overseas. Cuts would also allow growth in already-established businesses and create more jobs in the private sector.

Industriousness and ambition have fueled the success of Americans for centuries. However, more and more policies have encroached upon the free market system and slowly taken away these freedoms. Not only has our economy been severely crippled, but dependency on the government has damaged the spirit of the American people. But there is still hope! The miracle of the free market system is that it can revitalize our economy if allowed to thrive as it was intended—independent and unimpeded.