Now that the Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten and the relatives are gone, it's time to say thanks for a few economic blessings you may have forgotten. As Americans, we are lucky, but we sometimes forget that compared with many other countries that are corrupt or impoverished, the United States is still thriving.
Often, we get absorbed in our daily lives and take for granted the things we think of as "basic," many of which are absent in undeveloped and even developed countries.
What are some of these basics?
In the United States we have a fair and just judicial system. It's advantageous to have rules and even better that they are followed. When they are not followed, there should be a consequence.
Second, we also have a contract law system that is followed and allows for recourse if there is a dispute. Many Americans will not do business in other countries because they have no legal recourse. In a world of governmental strong arming and corruption, having an adequate contract system is imperative.
Third, we have a financial system that, while not perfect, is grounded on open market principles and backed by rules of the federal and state governments. We can borrow money (loan or mortgage), lend money (buy bonds), own companies (buy stock), and sell shares of our companies. We can do all this with the confidence that the transaction will be done (mostly) in good faith and (mostly) without government intervention. These are the basics of a free market system. That is also why small businesses can thrive and grow in the United States.
In our country, you can get a loan from a bank (with a contract), purchase a piece of land (with a contract), hire a builder (with a contract), have that builder construct your home (following rules set by your local government), and move in after the house is inspected (verifying it followed building codes). That is what America is all about.
Sure, there are flaws with the system, but in some other countries, there are no systems at all. A lack of systems leads to chaos, which precludes safety and advancement.
Kelly Campbell, Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Investment Fiduciary, is founder of Campbell Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor in Fairfax, Va. Campbell is also the author of Fire Your Broker, "a controversial look at the broker industry written as an empathetic response to the trials and tribulations that many investors have faced as the stock market cratered and their advisors abandoned their responsibilities to help them weather the storm.