|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||7.00(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.60(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Strength for Your Future
Conservative Principles that Can Secure Your Success
By William J. Bennett, John T. E. Cribb
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2016 William J. Bennett and John T. E. Cribb
All rights reserved.
WORKING, STRIVING, ACHIEVING
Whatever career you choose, your work will be possible because of the free enterprise system. It's the engine that powers our nation's economy. Without it, the modern world as we know it would not exist.
Free enterprise is an economic system in which property, resources, and industry are controlled by individuals and businesses — not the government — to make profits. Another name for free enterprise is capitalism, although free enterprise is in many ways a more accurate term since the freedom to conduct business is one of its bedrock principles.
Free enterprise is more than being able to own your own property or start a business, although those things are very important. It means the freedom to work hard at something you care about, to strive toward a goal you choose, and to achieve perhaps more than you once thought possible.
Is free enterprise good or bad for the world?
Free enterprise has its drawbacks, but overall it's a terrific economic system — the best the world has known. It's certainly the best system in history for creating jobs and material well-being.
One way to appreciate free enterprise is to look at what life was like before it came along. Modern free enterprise began in Great Britain along with the Industrial Revolution in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Before then, cities such as London were filthy, violent places where most people struggled simply to make it from one day to the next. Most people were illiterate. Poverty and disease were rampant. Jobs were hard to come by and often fleeting. The masses owned little more than the clothes on their backs.
In the short term, free enterprise and industrialism did little to improve people's conditions — in some ways, they may have made things worse. You may have read Charles Dickens's descriptions of early industrial towns full of soot-covered streets and dark factories with chimneys "out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled."
But over time, as nations and cities adjusted to the upheaval brought on by rapid change, something close to miraculous happened. For millions of people, life got immeasurably better as they gained access to mass-produced goods — clothes, furniture, books, and automobiles. As business increased, so did job opportunities. A middle class emerged. Literacy spread. Incomes rose. People began to live much longer. Free enterprise was not solely responsible for these changes, but it had a great deal to do with them.
Yes, there is a troubling side to free enterprise. There are booms and busts. People get laid off, sometimes at the worst of times, as companies watch their bottom lines. In some parts of the world, workers labor in sweatshops.
But overall, the effects of free enterprise have improved people's lives in countless ways. It is difficult to imagine what life would be like without mass-produced computers, phones, lights, washers, medicines, vaccines, motors, pens, soap, tires — the list goes on and on.
Is free enterprise a moral system?
Critics say that free enterprise causes greed and excessive ambition. It turns life into a vicious competition in which the ruthless and dishonest exploit others to come out ahead.
In truth, sometimes people can and do act immorally in business — just as people sometimes act immorally in government or in their family lives. But we must weigh the good against the bad. All in all, free enterprise has done enormous good by creating better lives for billions of people.
That said, the main purpose of free enterprise is to help people prosper materially. To make sure people act morally and treat each other fairly in a free enterprise system, we have to look outside of free enterprise itself.
Government can help here. Laws that keep businesses from putting children to work or dumping chemicals in streams, for example, are good checks on free enterprise. As long as they don't hamper business with too much red tape, legislatures and courts can be business's allies in improving lives.
More important than government, though, is culture. The morality of any society's economic system depends on the morality of its culture. A corrupt culture will produce corrupt enterprise (and corrupt government). A decent culture will produce businesses that treat people well.
That means our most important institutions — families, churches and other houses of worship, neighborhoods, schools, and communities — must help produce people of good character who make good employers and employees. It takes a lot of work to maintain a culture that keeps capitalism within moral bounds. In a world full of commercialism, attention to virtue helps keep money and the things it can buy in perspective.
Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, is famous for saying that "the chief business of the American people is business." But he also reminded us that for all the prosperity that free enterprise has brought this country, without dedication to some deeper matters, it's all for nothing. "The things of the spirit come first," he said. "Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp.
How can we accomplish good in the world of work?
We all want to make a good living. But we also want our work to help us make good lives.
Work can help us become better people because it encourages us to exercise virtues. In work we learn responsibility when given tasks. We gain perseverance in meeting tough deadlines. We learn how to complete big jobs by tackling small pieces. "Heaven is not reached at a single bound," as an old poem says.
Entrepreneurs exercise creativity in coming up with new ideas. They develop habits of thrift in saving to start a business and dedication in getting it off the ground. Managers and employees alike learn the value of honesty because the reality is that in the world of work, dishonesty is one of the surest ways to lose a business or to get fired.
Our work can also help make the world a better place. That's what most business owners do when they hire people or when they sell products that people need. It's what employees do when they make a product or provide a service well. They are helping others while they earn a living.
The man working on a road who does his best to make it level is smoothing the way for others. A woman who buys produce for a grocery store chain is helping put food on families' tables. They both help move the world along.
A farmer was once driving a visitor across his land, and they came to a place where he had labored to plant acres of tree saplings that would someday be valuable timber. "You'll be dead and gone before they're ever harvested," his visitor commented. "Why put in a crop like that?" They crested a hill, and a stand of tall, thick trees stretched before them. "Because my father planted these for me," the farmer said.
No matter what our work, we can always choose to do it well and with others in mind, and that adds to the supply of universal good.
Excerpted from Strength for Your Future by William J. Bennett, John T. E. Cribb. Copyright © 2016 William J. Bennett and John T. E. Cribb. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsA Word of Advice to Young Americans, 1,
Appreciating America's Greatness, 7,
Conservative Principles: An Overview, 13,
Part 1: Free Enterprise,
Working, Striving, Achieving, 23,
Making the Most of Opportunities, 31,
Being a Good Steward, 39,
Part 2: Limited Government,
Taking Charge of Our Lives and Our Government, 47,
Being Self-Reliant, 57,
Handling Our Nation's Finances Wisely, 63,
Part 3: Individual Liberty,
Living Up to Our Responsibilities, 73,
Keeping a Sound Mind and Body, 81,
Treating Others As We Would Have Them Treat Us, 87,
Part 4: National Defense,
Defending a Great Nation, 97,
Defeating Islamic Terrorism, 105,
Part 5: Traditional Values,
Upholding Traditional Values, 115,
Marrying and Raising a Family, 121,
Respecting Life, 129,
Nourishing Faith in God, 137,
About the Authors, 151,