Economic performance problems are realized in context. They begin with us as individuals and then with the circumstances of our government and its policies, laws and regulations that affect the environment in which we live.
Proposed is that the highest order purpose of the American government is to optimize return on national resources to ensure a good life for all citizens. Government in our paradigm creates the environment in which individuals and private enterprises perform to optimize return on their resources and abilities.
American enterprise and economic capacity is a public and private partnership. It has been described as mixed capitalism where the mix is a blend of regulatory constraint with entrepreneurial freedom. The theory of free enterprise and laissez faire business sounds good and has proven good attributes, though capitalism as we have known it is fraught with problems stemming from unmitigated greed, corruption, and immorality that may be associated with the drive for profit at all costs.
Every private enterprise has its own culture that is surely influenced by founders and corporate executives who are the sources of values and beliefs that are shared among the cadre of participants and stakeholders.
In theory, successful private enterprise exists and thrives by accomplishing the following:
- Producing competitively superior products and services that people need and want and who have the economic resources to buy them
- Continuously improving
- Producing a profit and investing the profit wisely to generate needed capital for higher yield uses
From these things, government receives tax revenues that compensate for sustaining a healthy and vibrant economic environment.
In addition, workers contribute tax revenues as their share in contributing to benefits required and expected from government.
Now, in the United States of America today, there are solid indications that the American political system and government is failing to produce sufficient performance to ensure the things that people expect. Indeed, there may be debate about what people expect and about their role as citizens toward that end.
From the viewpoint of individual citizens, consider what is needed for people to live a complete lifecycle in America without fear and uncertainty so long as they perform diligently to the best of their ability.
In America, we operate under a Constitution that declares our equality as individuals with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We can debate what is meant by the “pursuit of happiness.” It doesn’t guarantee happiness although it does ensure fair and unencumbered pursuit. Therein lies room for more discussion and debate.
Citizens are born into the world under vastly different economic circumstances. Some are born by wealth and others into poverty. Yet, our belief, backed by government, ensures that children are not deprived of the opportunity to learn and to improve their circumstances on individual merit. That may require public assistance in various forms.
Economic inequality without reason or justification is another topic worthy of discussion and understanding. So might be economic advantage for which the recipient or possessor has produced no justification for the reward.
In America where 90% of the wealth is controlled by 1% of the people as that is our starting position today, it is unacceptable to have anyone living at or below poverty because resources are sufficient to ensure they don’t.
The cost to society of having people struggle inhumanely below poverty manifests in crime and underdeveloped people from which we fail to achieve optimal return on potential. Poverty tends to proliferate problems and compounds cost and burden to society. For human value and for economic reasons, society must invest to prevent poverty.
America is a very young nation. Our system and Constitutional democratic republic was designed with brilliance to be adaptive and to improve in response to changing needs and maturity, and increasing knowledge.
To assume that capitalism and mixed capitalism is the only economic model or paradigm suitable for our future would indicate that no thinking about alternatives is desired or required. There is need to rethink our purpose to re energize America’s considerable assets to produce a high quality outcome with greater certainty.
Humanity lives in states of nature. People born in the USA inherit what is potentially one of the best environments for self-sustainment.
Self sustainment means having the ability to support oneself. That is a starting position. In America today, what is the basic essential investment required to support a person who has completed high school?
- Food and water
- Shelter and utilities
- Education and training
The sources of capital to cover expenses include performing work, job, vocation, and profession. Initially, a poor start is with work of any kind. That may improve and progress commensurate with education, training, and experience.
Typically, parents and family provide an initial start, though that is not always the case or possible. Therefore, in planning a sustainable economy, consideration must be given to population demographics, considering numbers of people stratified by need for basic support and types of support.
In a macro perspective, sustainable economists are concerned about population totals by geographic locations. It cannot be assumed that people are optimally located where the economy and resources are available to support them. In a laissez faire economy, answers about where people live is left to chance. In a more determinant sustainable economy, thought is given to the best locations for supporting populations. Plans, policies, and regulations are adopted that encourage optimal population size and location.
In today’s environment, economic developers from free enterprise work with local communities and governments as well as capitalists to prepare communities for attracting business, making them competitive.
From a sustainable economics perspective, the question is how much should be left to market-driven risk and chance and how much additional effort should be given to planning and engineering opportunity?
How do communities plan and organize to achieve economic sustainability?
Community sustainability means having sufficient employment opportunity to provide income and quality of life for the population over its lifecycle. This idea is full of different considerations.