Winston Churchill once said, “Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.” Do young Americans, asks Chris Horst, believe entrepreneurship is a target, cow, or horse?
My experience tells me we’re more apt to label entrepreneurship a cow or target. Indifference is common, as if commerce exists almost as a nonfactor for the poor. Scorn is the most-vocal response to free markets. We conjure distasteful images when considering concepts like multinational corporations, factories and globalization. Among the images I summon are sweatshops, the 1%, boycotts, Big Business, child labor and executive caricatures like Mr. Burns.
It’s true: Free markets are not perfect. And we don’t have to look far to know economic prosperity alone does not prosper. Notorious B.I.G., summarized what we all know to be true: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”
But the verdict is in. Churchill was right: Private enterprise is our sturdy horse, and nobody knows this better than the poor. By overwhelming margins, free markets and private enterprise have enabled more people to escape poverty than any system in the history of the world.