Georgia is On My My Mind-Again!

When I was asked to speak in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi about the importance of enterprise, I was pleased to accept.

Fewer places in the world can understand just how powerful free enterprise is to both individuals and a sovereign nation than Georgia, which only 30 years ago was a bankrupt country which had just left the newly collapsed Soviet Union.

At that time Georgia was in turmoil with massive job losses and with little idea of its place in the world.

Georgia was a fiercely independent sovereign nation way before it was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1921. From what I understand, the following 70 years of Soviet domination under communism was an uncomfortable time for many people.

Following independence from the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Georgians struggled to make ends meet, but gradually the newly formed democratic government of Georgia adopted an open market system where free speech, free enterprise, innovation, business, and prosperity for all became their new focus.

No longer were the people told what to do, they were asked what ‘they’ thought should be done through free ballots and if the elected government didn’t do as they wished they were voted out so that a new government, which obeyed the majority, were elected instead. That is democracy in action!

Democracy has served countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom well for hundreds of years. The prosperity in those two countries alone prove the system of democracy when attached to free enterprise and open markets to be the best prosperity system on offer. It has stood the test of time in a way that Marxism never has.

I have always believed in free enterprise because, as a child who grew up in relative poverty myself, I saw it as a way out of that life and into a better way of living.

Free enterprise when accompanied by free speech and democracy releases people from poverty rather than creates it, as many communist and Marxist sympathisers would have you believe.

It isn’t that I believe in the survival of the fittest at the expense of those who aren’t so able. It is precisely because I believe that the best way to protect the poor and vulnerable is by creating wealth so that much more of it can be shared out.

Of course those who created it may have bigger cars and grand houses but so what as long as those at the bottom have access to first class health care, education, excellent food, drive a decent car, have decent public transport and have a lovely secure home to live in. They too must be able to live life to the full and importantly become even richer in every way themselves.

Billionaires may holiday in Barbados but I would argue that democratic enterprise and the free market economy has brought those same destinations to millions of what may be termed “the working class”.

The free market economy certainly has its faults but aspiration and inspiration are two very positive attributes which largely outweigh most of them.

Georgia is often on my mind because through the will of its people, who adopted democracy and free enterprise as a preferred prosperity system in 1991, it has created a fairer society and with it a diverse economy with growth of over 5%, which is pulling more and more of its people out of poverty and into a more enriched future.

The young people of Georgia and the rest of the world have a choice. Work to create a better and fairer democratic free market economy where they are free to vote, free to build their own businesses and free to prosper from their own success or slip into the miserable world of envy and jealously touted by old fashioned and outdated adherents of a centralised closed command based economic system which has been proved time and time again not to work.

Entrepreneurs & enterprise bring prosperity to every society where they are allowed to flourish so we must all be careful not to bite the hand that feeds us.

Stephen Fear

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