We can find much to be thankful for as the season of Thanksgiving descends upon us. I pondered that thought as I enjoyed a beautiful fall weekend with my grandchildren.
Perhaps we could start by being thankful that our stock market is in an uptrend, but maybe we should be more thankful that we even have a stock market. Many people consider the stock market a malignant casino, rigged to take all of their money. In fact, it embodies the very essence of what makes our capitalistic system work. It gives us a way to finance the business enterprises necessary to our way of life. It also gives us a place to share in the risks and rewards of an entrepreneurial market place.
While Thanksgiving has come to be a commercial waypoint between Halloween and Christmas for the retail industry, it actually has some deep historical roots in capitalism. Thanksgiving has also acquired significance beyond the bare historical facts. Without it to “officially” kick off the Christmas shopping season, economists would have nothing to theorize about, the stock market would have little to cheer for, school would go a full week (instead of three days), all NFL games would be on Sunday, and only the turkey population would celebrate.
On a more serious note, as a nation, we do have many reasons to be thankful. We live in a great land, under a system of government that has endured for two centuries, allowing us to use our many freedoms to improve our lives and those of others throughout the world. We are living longer and healthier lives because of the advances of medicine. We worship and speak as we please. We have the right to choose our leaders. And, as my granddaughter reminds me, we have the freedom to pick our own friends. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and remember to give a little thanks to some early venture capitalists!