The Future Economic Policy of the United States

By William Adams Brown Jr.; World Peace Foundation | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
BREACHES IN THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM

THOUGHTFUL Americans are searching for the answer to the question whether we can proceed farther along the road of modifying our traditional economic system without sacrificing it altogether.

Before attempting to answer that question, it is desirable to gain a bird's eye view of what the recent modifications of our free enterprise system have been. A formal definition of the free enterprise system is one in which final decisions as to the allocation of resources are made by private entrepreneurs--the risk-taking managers--who seek to maximize their profits and who respond to the dictates of the consumer expressed through demand in the market.

Before the outbreak of war the American people became accustomed to and, in a large degree, willingly accepted certain breaches in the free enterprise system without realizing very clearly what the cumulative effect might be. This was partly due to the fact that each breach was in a different field and not closely associated with the others, either in the minds of those who made it or in the public mind. People, also, do not ordinarily think of the free enterprise system as a very intricate mechanism with interdependent parts, but, in their own field of activity and interest, take the existence of the rest of the economic machine for granted. A mere enumeration of these

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