I contend that prosperity is not something that can be measured. Prosperity cannot be compared in the way that you might add and subtract numbers. I believe that the root of prosperity is simple. One is prosperous to the extent that he believes that he has acquired those things in life that are of most value to him. It is quite possible that a man of great wealth could feel he has not prospered while a poor man could feel quite prosperous since only the individual himself can determine what he values, to what ends he directs his efforts, and judge the effectiveness of his actions in obtaining his most valued ends.
It’s dangerous to define prosperity in terms of a specific end. For instance, if we define prosperity as how much money someone has, the temptation would be to count the number in individuals within society who have reached the defined threshold and form assumptions regarding the percentage of prosperous to non prosperous people. But this number would not truly indicate prosperity. It would only shed light on the number of people who have valued large hoards of money more than the rest of society. Surely a certain portion of those who had worked to acquired great sums of money may consider themselves prosperous, but others who had not, cannot rightfully be judged by the same scale.
So because prosperity is subjective and only the individual can determine for himself how prosperous he feels his efforts have been, it must be true that in order to achieve prosperity, man must be free to invest his own resources towards ends that he values most. Only within this framework of freedom can society hope to be prosperous.
I believe that for America to return to prosperity, the consensus among the individuals who comprise it’s population must be that, all men have the Right to determine for themselves what actions to take and how to use their personal resources to reach their own personal goals. We have to stop using the force of the State to curb the actions of others to our liking. For true prosperity, mans mindset must be one of tolerance. It must be engrained in every individual’s mind that the freedom that allows them to seek their own passions in life is the same freedom that allows others to act as they desire. To co-opt the power of the state to pass laws intended to legislate morality, does nothing but limit everyone’s freedom and empower the state.