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      Copyright © Pandelabra Publishing 2020.

      Published in 2020 by Pandelabra Publishing.

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      This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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      Open Markets And The American Dream

      Creating a new business is part of the American Dream, somewhere right inside the white picket fence, and leaning against the brick and mortar of a modest home. Incorporation asserts the right to advance a new solution or initiative, and most importantly, own private property. Ideally, the mission succeeds on its own merit and within the parameters of law. Starting a business requires no political approval, no allowance by a priest or king. Starting a business requires only the internal motivation and willpower to overcome obstacles and shoot an honest shot.

      Like business ownership, shared ownership has come to play an important role in the American Dream as a bonus or amenity for hard work. Shared ownership is how we structure corporate ownership, the largest businesses that create wealth in the public interest. The growth of the public sector fuels retirement accounts or is shared directly with employees. If business ownership is the backyard of the American Dream, shared ownership has come to occupy the garden.

      Exemplifying this powerful and profound right, to start a business, is New York City. New York City so embodies this ideal that poets and singers write their songs to New York as testament. Any individual from anywhere in the world can follow their dreams in New York City. Where there is a will or work there is a way in New York City. Individuals come from across the world to pursue commerce in a fair environment. New York City is where dreams are made of and the city’s identity reverberates across the world for decades if not centuries.

      The skyline reflects New York’s ethic of commerce. Hard-work, talent, and aspiration can allow for a new liberty, to pursue greatness, flourish, self-actualize regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. I am not schooled in Architecture or construction, but the towering landscape of New York City and now Brooklyn and Jersey City, exemplify this pursuit toward the higher imagination.

      Underpinning the skyline is the marvel of machinery that supports so many individuals living in a small area, the mechanical operations that are required daily to facilitate civilization such as wastewater treatment, garbage pickup, electricity, natural gas provision. To somebody who did not grow up in a major metropolitan area, New York stands out in my own imagination, not as perfect or infallible, but ranking among historical sites across the world as a pinnacle of human achievement, civilization, and most importantly, liberty.

      Merriam-Webster defines liberty as the power to do as one pleases, the power of choice, the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges, freedom from arbitrary or despotic control [1].

      In New York, liberty is enshrined in the city’s great statue. The Statue of Liberty is a monument to this founding ideal of the United States. American civilization is not based on cultural or ethnic identity, but a belief in shared values namely liberty. Our ability to coordinate as a civilization is independent of race, religion, or political affiliation.

      The construction of the Statue of Liberty mirrors the ideals in which it represents.

      On a recent trip, I learned more about the Statue’s construction. I did not realize that the statue’s construction involved much more than a gift and symbol of bond and friendship from one young republic, France, to another [2].

      The artist who designed the Statue of Liberty was Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi who sought to make his mark by creating colossal sculptures, inspired by the Sphinx in Egypt. However, fundraising proved challenging.

      Bartholdi initially raised funds from wealthy patrons in France to support his effort. However, Bartholdi soon looked to average French citizens for support. In time, he attracted funds from 181 French municipalities.

      Bartholdi finished the colossus, but still needed additional funding to construct the stone base. Since the base could not be transported overseas the project needed funding from residents of New York. The persistence and ingenuity to create the colossus speaks to the ability of Americans to come together to support an initiative.

      The base received no financial support the Governor of New York, Grover Cleveland. In the absence of wealthy patrons, a unique initiative was led by Joseph Pulitzer, who at the time was a prominent newspaper publisher. Pulitzer was credited as launching one of the first crowdfunding campaigns. To construct the base, he accepted donations from anybody offering one key benefit. If an individual donated, they could see their name in print as a donor to the pedestal, a high honor of the era.

      Pulitzer’s campaign raised money from 100,000 donors totaling over $100,000 [3]. The funding came in a significant amount from the people, both French and American. The act of participation fueled inspiration and civic pride, an expression of liberty.

      Liberty is often associated with wealth creation and commercial success. A citizenry that starts new businesses, solves customer problems, and innovates will grow their economy. Innovation and commercial success stem from a diversity of perspectives, from new ideas brought forth by the commoner to established wisdom managed diligently by authority.

      In many ways, New York City symbolizes our society’s ability to create wealth. The beautiful skyline is matched by a vibrant financial services economy, and other thriving sectors such as arts and culture, media, and technology. Wall Street fuels a trading platform that most Americans utilize on a monthly or quarterly basis as owners of mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Wealth creation is shared by the masses who are investors in society’s most important firms. New York City remains a beacon of commercial success as evidenced by its skyline, its ability to wield capital, and its ability to create new and exciting industries.

      Yet the collective will toward new initiative, realized through business ownership and aspiration, faces a roadblock. We can cite statistics, and will throughout this book, of the declining rates of entrepreneurship and regional economic divergence. The remarkable development of New York City’s economy is not being realized in smaller to medium sized cities across the United States.

      Smaller to mid-size cities in America is by no means a sad story. In fact, many small cities are marked by their will and spirit towards building economies of the 21st century. Some of the most inspiring stories of grit and determination are occurring at the local level.

      Additionally, many institutional anchors in these small towns such as foundations, corporations, and local Governments are contributing to their region’s revitalization. There is a growing sense that America’s small to mid-size cities are on the precipice of an extraordinary period of economic growth as local entrepreneurship and innovation are empowered in a globally connected, digital economy.

       America’s Next Era of Economic Growth.

      Understanding the context of the American Dream, in today’s world, is challenging. On one hand the global economic system is vastly complex and just a decade ago teetered on the verge of collapse. Many people across the world see their standard of living rising rapidly speed as they obtain access to necessities or new technologies such as the Internet, computers, and medicine. On the other hand, the divide between the haves and the have nots grows to historic

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