Spokane Journal of Business

Guest Commentary: New message on free markets intended for next generation

‘Creative destruction’ …

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A bold, inspirational, and first-of-its-kind campaign to highlight free markets has hit Washington state billboards, computers, and smart phones. 

But it might not contain the message you’d expect.

Before getting into the logic behind Washington Policy Center’s seemingly counterintuitive “Free Markets Destroy” advertising campaign, here’s some background. A 2019 Gallup poll showed Americans don’t believe in socialism. During the past few years, however, young adults’ overall impression of capitalism and free markets has declined steadily.

Most fair-minded Washingtonians have been shocked by the recent events in Seattle. Failed city leadership and a political movement concentrated on turning Seattle into an American socialist experiment are ripping the city apart.

Down I-5, in Portland, a similar situation is playing out. Protestors view capitalism as the enemy, and they are intent on ruining the city.

Bottom line: we have a real problem in this country. Young generations are warming to the idea of socialism and are skeptical about our free market system. They lay all of the challenges we have as a society at the feet of capitalism. What they want is change and reform. They want to destroy what’s broken and replace it with something better.

We are in the fight of our lives advocating for free enterprise. It’s the future of the country.

What young people have never heard—until now—is that it’s markets that actually bring about change, through a process known as creative destruction, or the process of continual improvement. Free markets tear down what’s broken. They take on companies and institutions that are no longer serving people.

That’s why Washington Policy Center this month is launching “Free Markets Destroy.”

This marketing campaign will focus on the power of the marketplace to destroy society’s worst problems and continually improve our lives.

Free markets destroy monopolies. They destroy bigotry. They destroy broken models of education. Free markets destroy pollution, hunger, poverty, and boredom. Free markets can bring us together by breaking down the barriers that stand in our way. They are a force for revolution. It’s a message young people have never heard, and never heard in a way we’re going to deliver it.

Consider the fact that more than 100 companies currently are competing to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Meantime, sports have returned, and a Pittsburgh company has designed a solution to clean stadiums via electrostatic drones. Free markets are destroying disease.

Meantime, Walmart is partnering with Tribeca to destroy boredom by turning store parking lots into drive-in theaters.

Elon Musk got America back into space in six years – and for less than $1 billion. A government committee claimed it would take more than a decade and cost $26 billion. Free markets are destroying our absence in the Final Frontier.

Free markets are the reason we have 1,246 genres of pop music instead of 12.

The price of a 50-inch 4K HD television dropped 80% between 2012 and 2017. Free markets destroy outdated technology.

Time and time again, we witness the power of the market in our everyday life. Free markets are a revolutionary force for good. It’s a message young people have never heard in the way we’re going to deliver it.

Chris Cargill is Washington Policy Center’s Eastern Washington director and the director of WPC’s Free Markets Destroy marketing campaign. Online at freemarketsdestroy.com.

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