What are the key components of the free enterprise system in America today? Arthur Brooks in his book, The Battle, describes five principles.
The first principle is: The purpose of free enterprise is human flourishing, not materialism. In this statement he sets forth the moral case for free enterprise. He argues in one chapter that people flourish when they earn their own success. It’s not money (per se) that is a measure. Instead, it is what Arthur Brooks calls “earned success.”
A second principle is that America stands for equality of opportunity, not equality of income. Arthur Brooks has found that non-Americans will tell you that Americans are the most egalitarian people in the world. Most of us believe that we should have similar opportunities but also believe that we might end up in different places.
A third principle is that we seek to stimulate true prosperity, not treat poverty. Arthur Brooks says nearly every study of impoverished communities around the world shows that prosperity, not poverty, is the right focus if we want to lift people out of poverty.
A fourth principle is that America can and should be a gift to the world. Here is where we see a split in values. While some Americans see America as exploitative, most Americans believe that our country does more good than harm. And they believe the nation has been a force for good in the world.
And a final principle is that what truly matters is principle, not political power. Americans reject the pursuit of political power at the expense of principle. Confidence in politicians in America is now as low as it was during the era of Watergate.
Arthur Brooks in his book explains how we can make the case for the free enterprise system. These are key principles we need to promote.