The U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off 2024 with its annual State of American Business address, delivered by CEO Suzanne Clark. The address took the ambitious aim of combating negative narratives that permeate conversations around business and politics. Clark highlighted the success of the free enterprise system and the role of American businesses in enhancing our quality of life.
At the outset of the address, Clark showcased headlines that encompass the prevailing negative sentiments about the state of American politics, business, and society.
Clark struck a much more optimistic chord when singing the praises of the free enterprise system and its standing in society. She illustrated that markets are collaborative systems that benefit everyone from business owners to employees and consumers, not a zero-sum game that divides society into haves and have nots. On the issue of global trade in particular, Clark warned against growing trends of protectionism, stating that trade contributes to the prosperity and stability of countries across the world.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and local chambers of commerce across the country have a role to play in such public policy conversations. “The role of government is to foster the conditions that enable human potential and empower businesses to serve people, solve problems, and strengthen society,” she said. The Fort Worth Chamber’s aim is to achieve that at the local level in collaboration with policymakers so Fort Worth can remain a great place to do business.
Clark’s ultimate message was one of opportunity for the business community; in an age of declining trust and sentiment in various societal systems and institutions, business owners and organizations like the Chamber can tell a different story. “Those who believe in free enterprise – those who have lived it and been lifted by it – must stand up and say so,” Clark said, before reiterating that the U.S. Chamber and its partners will lead the way.
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