The American Dream means something different to everyone. Whether it is that father wishing to support his family without a government handout, or that Hip-Hop artist that sells his first million copies and chooses to own expensive diamond jewelry, while leasing real estate. These examples embody the beauty of the American Dream; it means whatever you want as you pursue your brand of happiness. However, at the core, it is the opportunity to achieve prosperity by way of one’s determination, hard work, and personal ingenuity. Nowhere in the world does a country guaranteed this privilege so clearly and eloquently as in the Declaration of Independence.
My maternal great-grandfather left Cuba for the chance to pursue that dream after becoming disenchanted with first the corruption of Batista and then the socialist ideologies of Castro. He was an enterprising man that owned a small tobacco processing business that took the product from harvest to cure. The Cuban government killed any opportunity of free-enterprise by requiring most processors to sell their product to the government for a disgustingly low price. Coming to the U.S.
with a few dollars and the clothes on his back, he fully understood that it was a privilege to become a U.S. citizen and never took his advancement for granted. This American Dream fuels the concept of the free-enterprise society.
Free-enterprise regulates itself by the fundamental principle of supply and demand; identify the unmet need, and find a way to meet it. To be a real free-enterprise system, it must be free from excessive government regulation. Free enterprise is not just materially fulfilling; it is what makes this nation so great as so many, both native and immigrant, can create a growing marketplace through innovation and creativity. The fundamental component of free-enterprise is Entrepreneurship.At the turn of the 21st century, America was one of the first countries to globalize their economies. Most recently, the expansion of the internet and social media has helped to make the world a lot smaller by bringing a distant continent as close as your nearest device. Apparently, there has been both positive and negative effects of global free-enterprise including the expansion of global business opportunities, while losing jobs overseas to outsourcing.
Thomas Friedman, the author of “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,” presented a fascinating analogy on globalization that he coined as the ‘golden straitjacket.’ His philosophy states that a nation must sacrifice some degree of economic sovereignty to global economic institutions. As he studied the economies of various countries around the world, he noticed a definite theme; Communism failed. Socialism failed. But capitalism is here to stay for even the most primitive of nations.My grandparents and parents have been entrepreneurs all my life, owning businesses such as restaurants, jewelry stores, farms, property maintenance, electrical contracting and business consulting firms. Growing up, I have worked in both of my parent’s organizations.
There was always a clear focus on balancing work and home life. It was a blessing to have had both my parents frequently attend school functions and sporting events around their businesses giving us the quality of life that most desire even if it meant earning less. The entrepreneurial spirit runs through my veins, and I hope to continue the legacy set forth by my great-grandfather to stay motivated and artistic while understanding that success is a work in progress. I plan to not only create my interpretation of the American Dream but to assist others in achieving the same in this new global economy.