Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An American Ideology: The Economy

NOTE: This piece, as will be with every piece in this series, is a very brief glimpse into the overall history and politics that shape our American ideology.

American Ideology: The Economy

With today’s economic concerns, and with presidential hopefuls pontificating on how they plan to pull us out of our “economic slump”, it is appropriate to continue our look into the American Ideology, and how Americans view and have viewed the American Economy.

Since the onset of the “Great Experiment”, the American economy has been built on the free market. It was not until the late 19th century that socialism began to show up in the thought process of the American people. The founding fathers and subsequent generations understood that freedom must exist in commerce as well as in government, and many of the economic policies of the past were directed to that end.

Yet, in the early 20th century a new economic ideology began to seep into the American consciousness, and began the movement away from free market principles to more regulated, government controlled models that focused on social justice. Not forgetting the horrific conditions of many industrial revolutionary factories, and the slave wages many Americans worked for in the early 20th century it is easy to see why these populist ideas took root. However, the good that these policies did to create a fairer and healthier workplace in the early 20th century, is being out weighed by the damage the current aggressive socialist policies are doing to our economy today.

Free markets and deregulation, as revealed in the current economic atmosphere in Ireland (9% GDP in 2007), is the only way to spur another economic boom. Even though the working conditions and wages of the late 19th century worker were atrocious, the economy of late 19th century/early 20th century America was spectacular. Ingenuity and enterprise were the clarion call of the day, and America was poised to assume its later role as world super power. Yet, sadly today, America’s once economic prowess is falling to a weak dollar and high energy prices. What is to be done to stimulate our economy once again?

If America grasps on to its original ideology of free markets and deregulation again, we could see a stronger economy in our future. However, if few allow the current crop of socialist to implement their ideas of increasing taxes, and implementing greater control on the market, we will see America’s economy fall away. The American Economic Ideology of free markets and limited government interference is the only saving hope for America’s economy today.