Avik Roy is president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity think tank and a policy Editor at Forbes. In this interview, we discuss how society can improve social mobility through free markets, individual liberty, innovation, social integration, energy freedom, housing growth and harnessing good deflation.
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America was built on the notion of social mobility. The ‘land of opportunity’ opened its arms to the world. And they came from all corners. Most arrived with little to their name. But countless stories of aspirational success followed. Hard work, tenacity, and innovation were rewarded. It wasn’t perfect, but the American Dream was a theme that built a new hegemonic power not on privilege, but on the closest any major power has come to meritocratic society.
That was America up to the 1970s. Since then social mobility has all but seized up, and has even started to decline. We are now entering a period when future generations are likely to be worse off than their predecessors. Is this because governments have failed? Are the libertarians right? Do we need to unshackle humans from collective interference? Or, is there a way for society to flourish with the help of institutional collaboration?
The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) have a mission to expand “economic opportunity to those who least have it”. They provide policy advice on all the major areas of governmental concern: criminal justice, health, education, energy, finance, housing, trade etc. etc. The tools it advocates politicians use are individual liberty, free enterprise, technological innovation, and pluralism.
The aim is to make society more equal. Reducing inequality makes society more prosperous. American history is the best evidence for that. Misjudged policies and a reactive and intrusive approach from governments have allowed inequality to increase over the past decades. To change means that the status quo must be challenged.
Such change means looking forward not backwards. Whilst history can inspire, it doesn’t necessarily show the way. New ways of thinking must be embraced. The deflationary forces of innovation must be harnessed. And destructive polarisation must be defeated. American exceptionalism requires a renewed collaborative spirit. Bitcoiners can help drive that movement.