To my friends,

A market economy does not provide equality of outcome. It cannot. Some will always have more than others. A market economy rewards initiative and provides incentives. That’s the seedbed of progress. An economic system focused on equality of result will find itself mired in mediocrity because it will discourage the very thing needed for progress. An economy must provide opportunity if it is to grow and prosper. It cannot be a zero-sum game where someone’s progress is offset by someone else’s loss. People who feel forgotten and desperate can and will do desperate things. Remember January 6, 2021! Creating and maintaining a permanent underclass is economically, politically, and socially suicidal.

A country’s educational system must provide the training that will enable a young man or woman to go as far as their abilities will take them. A good education is the heartbeat of opportunity.

Adam Smith believed that a market economy must have a moral foundation if it is to prosper. And there is the rub. John Perkins, in his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, shared the following observation: “We know that in many countries economic growth benefits only a small portion of the population and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority. This effect is reinforced by the corollary belief that the captains of industry who drive this system should enjoy a special status, a belief that is the root of many of our current problems and is perhaps also the reason why conspiracy theories abound. When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When . . . we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble. And we get it.”

Several years ago, one of my students at Salt Lake Community College wrote a short paper that concluded with a powerful insight. We need, he said, an economy that works for all of us and not just some of us.

Mark Holland