Episode 047: Connor Boyack – Free Market and Family Culture

Throughout this episode, Connor often refers to the importance of incentives. In any situation, there are rewards and there are incentives. Incentives are the anticipation of a reward, and the reward comes after the work is done. Without an incentive, it may be harder to motivate yourself or others to do a job well done. There are some inherent incentives to certain things. For example, we have an incentive to earn a living so that we can provide for ourselves and our families, and avoid going into debt. We have a natural incentive to exercise, even a little, because we know that it will help us stay healthier than if we didn’t. These are systems that work because we have motivation to follow a certain course to avoid unpleasant outcomes, or to affect desired rewards.

Connor describes an example of an initiative in his state to encourage young entrepreneurs by setting up a summer farmers’ market run only by kids. By learning about what it takes to run a business, these kids gain an incentive to learn about business accounting, production, and sales. Incentive is nothing more than being inspired because you can visualize the outcome. When that vision is blurry, or the promised rewards aren’t received, those incentives dissolve.

Even children can understand the proper role of government. This is how: The Tuttle Twins Series

But what about an incentive to break from standard procedure to do something that deviates from the norm? What is the cost to you for going against standard systems that are “normal” for our society? If you are in a work setting, will you look insubordinate, or like you’re brown-nosing? When family culture is concerned, if you do something that deviates from the norm, will it cost you friends, relatives, or maybe even a struggle with your own self-confidence??

These are the things I explore with family culture. We have an incentive to intentionally shape our family culture by doing what Connor is suggesting in this episode: to take some time to have the initial thought and creation of a plan, and then defending that plan. When we are intentional, we recognize when there is something that is worth defending. That takes work, and it takes commitment, and maybe some sacrifice. It isn’t easy. Sometimes the promised rewards of family life, and intentional living don’t seem to be there at times. Life is hard, and the challenges are real. Family culture is about getting clear on that vision so that we can realize that the incentive to keep up with our goals, and our values, and the culture we envision is important and worthwhile!

The ability to work, and understand these things about family culture, are really interwoven into this idea of economic understanding. A free market society described by Connor is about how people interact in pursuit of a common goal. Our families have the capacity to develop these kinds of values, with education, and understanding that how we develop our culture matters. Our national culture is the aggregate of our family culture.

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It’s important to have these conversations with our families, to discuss what a free market is, and to discuss our place in this bigger puzzle of society. It’s important to question whether the systems we adhere to are serving our family and encouraging these appropriate incentives, or if we are simply falling into an expected mode of thinking simply because that’s just what is done.

What I appreciate about the Tuttle Twins, and the work of FEE.org is that they are creating conversations around systems to help us recognize them for what they are. They are stirring our minds to consider whether we agree with societal expectations, or if we need to be a little more proactive about what is being offered.

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About Connor Boyack:

Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. In that capacity, he has spearheaded a number of successful policy reforms in areas such as education reform, civil liberties, government transparency, business deregulation, personal freedom, and more.

Connor is also president of The Association for Teaching Kids Economics, a nationally focused nonprofit training teachers on basic economic principles so they are empowered and motivated to help their students learn more about the free market.

A public speaker and author of over a dozen books, Connor is best known for The Tuttle Twins books, a children’s series introducing young readers to economic, political, and civic principles.

Connor lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and two homeschooled children.


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About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.