As we enter the graduation season, full of hope and promise I find myself asking, why don’t we teach the most powerful engine of economic prosperity? Our children face a large economic education gap. Our school systems do not educate for entrepreneurial leadership any more.
God created us to steward the earth and its resources. He created us with the capacity to create, produce, cultivate and domesticate. He also works through us to bring about the knowledge of him around the world. God desires his “kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.” With all this in mind, prosperous societies are somewhat of a recent novelty. Not until around 1800 did individual prosperity emerge in a few countries in northwestern Europe. Even today, more than 2 billion people in the world live on less than $2.00 a day.
America has been a leading power in economic growth for nearly two hundred years. Even with a quarter of the population of China and India, the United States continues to have the largest economy in the world.
What Makes a Culture Prosperous?
Economic activity rests on the foundation of political, legal and cultural conditions within a society. The societies that are most economically free, prosper the most. Economic freedom can be measure using key cultural indicators like private property rights, just justice systems, public infrastructure, low corruption in government, low government red tape, strong family structures and future orientation toward time. America is now ranked seventeenth in the world in economic freedom with Hong Kong and Singapore vying for the top spots. (See http://www.heritage.org/index/)
The Most Powerful Engine of Economic Prosperity
There are different paths to personal prosperity but the most powerful engine of economic growth has always been entrepreneurial activity. We can define this as: Initiating economic activity through ingenuity, effort and risk, with the goal of achieving profit. If a nation wants to raise its standard of living, the best thing it can to is encourage entrepreneurship.
Knowing this, we should implement a scholastic initiative to educate our population on the rules, benefits and opportunities of entrepreneurial leadership. We should start teaching accounting principles and terms, legal structures and the basics of investment opportunities. This should be required learning. We teach students to find “x” in compulsory algebra, but they can’t fund an IRA or start their own business. If this is indeed the land of opportunity, we should equip our students how to take advantage of the opportunities.
Often when I’m in a store, I’ll ask an attendant where I go to buy stock. They look at me like I have three heads. I say, “Stock in your company, do I get it at the information desk?” Over 90% of people I talk to have no clue where to buy stock in their own company. They have never been taught how to play in that sandbox. Their ignorance imprisons them.
Five years ago, we started a summer program for junior high students called Life-Works. https://www.facebook.com/lifeworksboys/ This program helps train students through eight-hour days, five days a week in the fine art of work and entrepreneurial enterprises. We take students from impoverished backgrounds and try to give them the tools to provide for their families and the vision God gives them. One of the books we use is called The Accounting Game that uses the template of a lemonade stand to help learn the basics of bookkeeping. We also teach, the four levels of workers and how work is worship unto God.
They earn currency they can spent at auctions that we hold throughout the summer. They can invest their money instead of spending it to have more for the next auction teaching them delayed gratification. We have now watched as students have grown and entered the workforce in food service, the military and as carpenters. Some have even started their own business.
Take the time to invest in your knowledge and help the next generation know that they can participate in entrepreneurial activity in many ways. To help you learn, we have put together a fantastic resource called, The Christian’s Guide to Wealth Creation. You can learn more here: http://wealthcreation.careywaldie.com/