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By James F. Gatti

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By James F. Gatti

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Yet, too many Americans, especially those who have known only the affluent society, are unaware of the real source of economic growth in our country. The material abundance, the freedoms of choice, the opportunities for meaningful work are all largely the result of the creativity and productivity of our free and competitive economic system. This is the crucial theme that must be communicated to all Americans until they understand it. The free market economy is the wellspring of our nation's basic strength in every sphere—political, social, military, and economic.

They also tend to engage in high levels of travel and entertainment and own large homes. Yet no one would argue that travel, entertainment, or housing are the reasons or the ways by which one rises from poverty to affluence. A detailed study of the occupations of Jewish immigrants showed that they rose to affluence first, and then were able to afford to send their children to college. This is even more clear in the case of the Japanese immigrants on the West coast. Most of the Japanese were farmers as late as 1940, and most of them spoke very little English.

Does our strength depend only on the qualities of our people? We are clearly blessed with one of the largest and most talented populations that the world has ever known. However, in China today we see a population that is four times as large as our own, whose civilization at one time was developed far in advance of the rest of the world. Yet their present material standard of living and personal freedoms are most disappointing. Thus, although our land, resources, and people have been essential parts of the American story, there is a third factor that has contributed to America's progress, a factor that is too often missing in other countries.

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