Ethan Yang ’20
Politicians do not have the answers to our problems. Entrepreneurs and those who support them do. Innovation, prosperity, progress. These are terms that we associate with positivity and necessity. In today’s world we are more aware than ever of the pressing issues that face us such, as climate change, poverty, and violence. Due to greater access to education, social media, and the relative wellbeing we all enjoy, we are now more able to think about and recognize these problems in society. No longer are we humble peasants simply worrying about where our next meal will come from as the nobility lord over us.
We are self-sufficient, we are empowered, and we are aware of the injustices in our society. However, the main solutions we are being solicited, which are political, cannot be further away from what we need at this time. The vast majority of issues government has ever solved were created by government. What we need to address, the pressing challenges of our time, is to recommit and double down on the tools we’ve used to address our greatest challenges: freedom, innovation, and economic empowerment—solutions created by society and not the government.
All around us is the proof that the solutions lie with the private sector, not the government. How do we have a roof over our heads, a world class education, food on demand, and all the necessities we use to get through our day? We sure didn’t vote for it. Business, markets, and the freedom to associate brought this together. We are here because of the countless interactions and transactions that allowed society to organize itself to build Trinity College, stock it with faculty, and create all the little things we need to go about our day.
Economics and markets many times are painted as merely a means to acquire wealth and satisfy greed. In reality, they are an amazing mechanism to organize society and bring the necessities of civilization into existence. Need vast quantities of food produced and shipped to countless communities around the world? We’ve tried markets and we’ve tried a political system. Government command and control in the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba relegated countless people to starvation due to inefficiency and incompetence. Markets have now given global food insecurity an expiration date. Want to feed the world? Don’t vote for more food. Join the countless individuals who are a part of the solution in a business or a non-profit.
Global warming is an existential threat. However, I cannot be more scared for our future if all the countless regulations and government programs I’ve heard about come to fruition. Without even touching on the massive disruption and turmoil programs like the Green New Deal would bring to people’s lives, technological innovation and more competitive markets are clearly the superior answer. How did we go from cars that emit tons of smog and terrible fuel economy to what we have now? Simple, innovation and competition. We have hybrid cars with ever increasing fuel economy and electric cars with increased range because of the genius of Toyota and Tesla. How do we get better, more fuel efficient cars? Increase competition in the market place, reduce barriers to entry with free trade, make it easier for innovators and entrepreneurs to come up with the products we need. Voting for stricter politicians to spend more of your tax dollars on bureaucracy cannot be further from the solution. The same goes with every other environmental concern. Want renewable energy? Make the energy sector more competitive and dynamic. Slash subsidies to energy companies, remove onerous red tape and unchain innovation. Solar panels, wind power, and yes nuclear power can power the future but only if we allow the businesses that produce them to stand on their feet.
The solution I am putting forward, freedom and markets is one that recognizes the power of people. It seeks to empower society, create realistic solutions and spur ambition. The sentiment that we ought to get people politicized to solve the problems of our era is a romantic notion but history shows where that leads. Instead, we should continue to highlight technological innovation because it’s happening every day. We should inspire and empower individuals to start non-profits and businesses that provide game changing services. Entrepreneurship should become something we should stress more than ever in college. If you can’t start a business, work for a great one. Empower students to invent, innovate, construct, inspire, connect, and provide the answers to the challenges of today. In 2020, support a candidate that understands the power of free enterprise, but more importantly support the individuals, non-profits, and businesses in your community that are truly making a change.