August 7, 2012
President Obama’s comment to entrepreneurs that “you didn’t build that” was misdirected. Rather than exalting the government for building bridges that help transport goods and services, we should instead realize that it is a free market system that allows us to prosper and grants us the ability to build up our own businesses.
Heritage Foundation intern Dylan DelliSanti explains on The Foundry that “the government has a role in society, but it is only through the market process that individuals can cooperate effectively on a grand scale.”
DelliSanti expands on the market’s role in helping individuals and their enterprises:
President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment has drawn much attention. The reactions from both the President’s defenders and his critics illustrate a profound misunderstanding about how the market actually allows us to cooperate.
As Milton Friedman, echoing Foundation for Economic Freedom founder Leonard Reed, pointed out: “not a single person in the world can make [a] pencil.” This may sound strange at first, but the reality is that it takes many people, each with different skills, coordinating with each other from around the world to produce a single pencil. The graphite may have come from Italy, the wood from Oregon, and the rubber in the eraser from Malaysia.
Yet no government direction was needed to bring these people together.
It is the entrepreneur who brings these people and resources together, guided by a market system in which prices determine the most efficient use of resources. Government planners can never match the ability of the market process to facilitate an environment for cooperation and coordination—no matter how intelligent the bureaucrats or how benign the governing elite.
Do you think free enterprise is more helpful to entrepreneurs than big government?