A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rob and Lauren Hudson: Letter of Common Ground about free enterprise, courage and competition

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

We write to make a case for promoting free enterprise because it has helped hundreds of millions of Americans develop a favorable approach of courageously competing. We want a system that rewards these positive attributes because they can help build a strong economy with resources to help more and more Americans.

We have a rich tradition of courage and competition that has served us well in America. Somewhere in the history of our families, people probably did remarkable things no one thought they could do. Maybe they overcame discrimination or prejudice to work their way up a career ladder. Maybe they started a small business from scratch or worked two jobs to help feed your ancestors. Many people who came here to seek a better life helped form our country.

Our ancestors had to have courage and smarts to compete and win a good living in the marketplace. It probably toughened them up and forged their character. Along the way, courage, pressing forward despite difficult circumstances, and competition, trying to improve to win, became central parts of American life.

Today we compete for jobs in free enterprise, developing our knowledge, skills, and abilities. We become courageous every time we decide to compete, whether it’s taking a test, public speaking, or trying to master a difficult work task. We may fear we will not get the job we want, but we overcome that fear by interviewing for it anyway.

More than any other economic system, free enterprise promotes productive courage and competition. Businesses compete to create products they hope will satisfy customers in areas of demand, supply, price and quality. Courage and competition run through nearly all economic activity in a free society.

With head-to-head competition, we can usually identify a winner and a loser. But with free enterprise, nearly everybody can win. Consumers win with better products and services to purchase. Businesses competing can improve because of the competition.

Businesses, like people, can also make big comebacks with courage and competition. As soccer star and author Mia Hamm said, “A winner is that person who gets up one more time than she is knocked down.”

We can go through hundreds of great examples of how capitalism promotes courage and competition, leading to great results. Of course, not so long ago, dishwashing machines, washing/drying machines, automobiles, jets, air conditioners, and refrigerators did not exist. All these things came to us through courage and competition in capitalism, making lives more comfortable and better in many ways.

Think of the entertainment wonders developed by Disney. Creative genius delivered inventions and fantastic movies, theme parks, and more. All of this occurred because a great capitalist, Walt Disney, dared to take chances, and he embraced competition. As he stated, “I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”

Desirable traits like courage and competition foster common ground. Americans can agree that courage and competition make us better in many ways. We can also agree that courage and competition in free enterprise help create amazing marketplaces with abundant goods and services.

The way our economic freedom delivers seemingly endless choices to purchase goods and services seems almost magical, but it’s not. It’s just free enterprise. Our economy puts people and businesses in a position to change the world, through courage and competition, one product and service at a time.

Frost Brown Todd LLC Member Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a business lawyer. 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 capitalism, freedom, and patriotism.

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