The American Way of Life (Part 12 of 28)

Part 12: of a 28-part series

Now I’ll say it again: America is not a capitalist nation. Now, you need capital to start, but America is built on individual enterprise. She’s entrepreneurial, not capitalistic. Capitalistic is European, but it is not attributed to be applied to America.

Entrepreneurship has taken many forms, from the self-employed individual to the global conglomerate.  Now, watch this – in the 17th and 18th centuries, the public extolled the pioneer who overcame great hardships to carve a home and a way of life out in the wilderness. In 19th century America, as small agricultural enterprises rapidly spread across the vast expanse of the American frontier, the homesteading farmer applied many of the ideas of the economic individualist.

But as the nation’s population grew and as cities increased in economic importance, the dream of being in business for oneself evolved into independent merchants and self-reliant professionals as well. The 20th century, continuing a trend that began in the latter part of the 19th century, brought an enormous leap in the scale and complexity in economic activity. In many industries, small enterprise has trouble raising sufficient funds and operating on a large enough scale to operate most efficiently [to provide] all the goods demanded by an increasingly sophisticated and affluent population.

So in the 20th century, because of the difficulty of acquiring capital as a small businessman, we did have different corporations. “Large” was okay in the 20th century, or the beginning of the 20th century. But corporations began to diminish as we began to see [a new trend]. The modern corporation began to hire hundreds, and thousands, and tens of thousands of employees, and they depended on the corporation.

To be continued…