Free Enterprise by Fulter Hong




What is Free Enterprise? To some people it could be what to have for lunch or where to buy your shirt. Yet it is much more than just that. Webster's Dictionary defines it as a venture with a character of determination, energy and initiative. It's the spirit and heart of capitalism. It's the motivation that creates the best in people and promotes creativity.

The American Free Enterprise system has proven itself beyond measure to be beneficial to society. It creates the best products at competitive prices. As a computer salesman at Best Buy, my first priority is to evaluate the need of the customers, not to survey their wallet. With a smile and a handshake, my customers know that I'm not a commissioned salesman looking for a quick dollar, but I'm here to answer questions, discuss product features, and make their shopping experience enjoyable. As a result, I have been a top salesman ever since I've worked for Best Buy. And after just recently getting a nice raise for sales performance, I like Free Enterprise more than ever. In the Free Enterprise system, three things are essential: The needs of the customer, the quality of service provided, and competitive prices. At Best Buy, the numbers speak for themselves, as stock prices have risen from $8 to $66 a share during the last 52 weeks.

We live in a society where there are hundreds of computers, monitors, printers, scanners, as well as mere breakfast cereals to choose from. It is so easy to overlook the benefits of Free Enterprise, since it has become an inherent part of our daily living.

Microsoft, for instance, is a living example of American Free Enterprise. When a company spends $2.6 Billion in research and development, it is obvious why Microsoft has dominated the software market. Some may shout "Monopoly" and it may not seem fair that smaller companies cannot compete, but in a Free Enterprise system, quality supersedes equality. Winston Churchill said, "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

Free Enterprise is founded on hard work, integrity, and education. Education not based merely on knowledge, but rather a value-centered education. For how can the future shine brightly if educated people are unconcerned about American Free Enterprise?

Joe Clark, probably America's most famous principal, showed the true value of education. The movie "Lean on Me" was his story of how he turned a drug and crime filled high school in New Jersey into a true learning environment. Because of Joe Clark's dedication, many lives and futures of his students were prosperous. That is a solid foundation. That is education!

I don't know the secret recipe for a perfect tomorrow. However, I am convinced that one ingredient which is essential for success is a value-centered education. This won't necessarily provide us with utopia, yet it will surely guarantee a chance to better ourselves and pursue the American Dream.

It is time to take part and be involved. We cannot simply sit up and take notice, but we must stand up and take action. Of course we will encounter some barriers which are inherent in life. But as Lyndon Baines Johnson once said, "There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves." How do we carry on the legacy of American Free Enterprise? The answer lies within the question. The key word is "we". WE, together, with a sound education, integrity in work ethic, and most importantly, innovated creativity, can continue the legacy of the American Spirit and of Free Enterprise.

We live in a nation of quality goods and services. So if you're in the market for a computer, please look me up at the Best Buy store. I'll be more than happy to help you out. But don't leave home without your charge card. The future lies in our hands, both yours and mine, and it is our obligation to succeed and carry on the torch of American Free Enterprise!

Original Speech
Van Kuren and Wright Chapter Speech Contest
March 14th, 1998

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This page updated on 11/06/98.