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Why Itís So Important to Appreciate the Fruits of Free Enterprise

Chairman's Column - December 2015

Manuel Perez de la Mesa, NAW 2015 Chairman of the Board, and President and CEO of Pool Corporation

More than seven billion people share this planet. It took millions of years for the first humans to surface on earth. It took thousands of years for humans to evolve into a society. However, it has been only in the last 250 years that most human rights and wealth have been created.

While trade and merchants have existed during the past several thousand years, there were (at best) limited property and human rights with monarchies ruling largely based on terror. While there are still monarchies or dictatorships that rule certain countries based on terror, today there are more people who enjoy the benefits of human and property rights than at any other time in our planet’s history. At the root of this transformational change in human history is free enterprise.

Free enterprise is defined as “a system in which private businesses are able to compete with each other with little control by the government.” This means that the larger the role of government, the less “free” an enterprise is. The less “free” also applies to human and property rights, reverting back to days long left behind in many countries. What’s important to distinguish is that the enterprise of free people is what has created wealth and knowledge at an exponential rate over the last 250 years.

This enterprise of people comes from their emotional engagement as they realize their ambitions in the fields that they choose. To the extent that they are unencumbered in this process, and to the extent that their success is recognized and rewarded, their behavior is replicated indefinitely. This ability of free people to exercise choice and be rewarded is why free enterprise has unleashed the power of the people.

Although these truths are well-known and clearly evident, there are always those who prefer the “good old days” and the associated limitations of freedom. Sometimes this preference is driven by the naïve notion that one’s superior know-how can serve as a means to a greater equality of outcomes instead of focusing on the equality of opportunity. In other cases, the preference is the result of ignorance about how competitive markets work. Of course, in other cases, this preference is driven by a desire for power much like it existed for thousands of years in monarchies, except that now it’s disguised in the form of government regulation and legislation—the currently most-popular form of limiting human and property rights. It is imperative for the continued evolution of society that free enterprise continue to expand, both into new countries and further within existing countries.

How does all of this relate to NAW? NAW represents wholesaler-distributors and advocates on behalf of our industry to federal policy makers for protection against the overreach of government that infringes on free enterprise. NAW is not alone in this regard; it shares a seat at the table with representatives of other free enterprise interests. NAW is the most efficient means by which distributors can communicate with those entities that understand how markets work to limit the damage that government regulation and legislation can have on a free society. Learn more about the intensive networking that NAW conducts on your behalf with federal legislative and regulatory bodies in Washington, DC by visiting here.

We want the exponential creation of wealth and knowledge in concert with human and property rights to continue infinitely into the future. Just like our society is beyond the imagination of those who preceded us before free enterprise (or outside the reach of those that still live in dictatorships), the hope is that all who share this planet will come to appreciate the fruits of free enterprise and know the freedom of human and property rights.