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"Free Market" versus Free Enterprise

The term 'Free Enterprise' does not have a separate listing on Wikipedia. Instead some wiki editor placed it under the category Capitalism. Given current usage no shoehorn can make that fit. We can and will redefine 'capital' and 'capitalism' in a moment. Free Enterprise refers firstly to one’s ability to enter the marketplace as a producer of goods & services, and secondly as the resulting ability to control one’s own financial destiny.

Let's define Capital as anything to which we can assign monetary value. That includes some ineffable qualities such as good looks for an actor or model, skills and talents of any sort that get used in the marketplace such as advanced mathematical abilities or songwriting or engineering and design or medical doctoring, as well as more commonly considered objects such as real property, leases and mortgages and various other financial instruments, industrial equipment and supply chains, and of course money in the bank.

With that definition the term Capital Free Enterprise begins to make sense, and even Capitalism broadens to admit pretty much anyone as a capitalist. And we can let our Wikipedia editor off the hook. It also gives the term “sweat equity” a bit more flesh.

The operative principle Free Enterprise remains unaffected whether it refers to capital free enterprise, social free enterprise, or some hybrid. By defining ‘communism’ as ‘access to means of productions by the producers’, we can easily entertain Communist Free Enterprise in complete accord with Jeffersonian Free Enterprise – in actuality, synonymous. The only notable difference derives from end-results - what gets produced. For early 19th C. Commies, that meant manufactured goods. For Jefferson it meant agricultural produce. Jefferson envisioned that division-of-labor as the basis for Trade with Europe. For us today it encompasses those along with virtual goods and services almost unimaginable in the 19th C, including Intellectual Property and Rapid Prototyping home manufacturing on a grand scale.