Don Mathews and "The True Spirit of Enterprise"

Essay by kamis February 2006

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Today, when looking at the American free market system, it is not easy to keep ourselves from thinking about how businesses have transformed over the last few decades. Yet when capitalism brings many benefits to everyone, questions and criticisms about the different ethical aspects of the free market arise. In the article "The True Spirit of Enterprise", the author Don Mathews, who is an economics professor at Coastal Georgia Community College, argues against all criticisms and doubts upon the idea that capitalism nowadays results from nothing but "greed and unethical competitiveness" (539). He strongly disagrees with any statements in which "successful entrepreneurs" whose businesses have influenced and shaped the American society are being criticized as "ruthless businesspeople" (539). His argument appears in The Free Market, one of the periodicals of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. It is apparent to see that the article is aiming towards a target audience of businesspeople who are in the age range of late twenties or up.

Much more important is the fact that the major audience of Mathews's True Spirit of Enterprise or The Free Market is conservatives. This assumption is revealed through the supporting evidence and the language that Don Mathews applies in his argument. These clues strongly designate that he is attempting to get his arguable point across to his conservative target audience. It also shows in the article that the audience belongs to the middle social-economic class. Through reading Mathews's article, I found that his target audience does not necessarily have a high educational level or professional status in order to comprehend the text, yet they are very much concerned about their political orientation since they are primarily conservative businesspeople. Don Mathews's successful techniques in persuading his target audience are firmly based on the three rhetorical appeals: Ethos, Pathos,