I Am Private Enterprise

“I Am Private Enterprise,” is a pamphlet that reprinted the titular article from Benjamin DeCasseres’ column in the New York Journal American.

Though we do not have an example in our archives, online sources state that it was published by the National Industrial Information Committee.

In The Letters of Ayn Rand (Penguin, 1997), we find:

To Benjamin DeCasseres
August 28, 1943
Dear Mr. DeCasseres:
Thank you very much for the San Francisco clipping of your column on Howard Roark. It was thrilling for me to see it, and it was very nice of you to think of sending it to me.
I liked your leaflet “I Am Private Enterprise” which you enclosed. I remember reading that in your column and I am glad that it has been reprinted for distribution to the public.
I do hope that you will regain your health soon—so that I will have a chance to meet you, a purely selfish reason. (That’s an example of how selfishness leads one to benevolence toward our fellow men.)

The article itself, as printed on June 27th 1943, in the Milwaukee Sentinel, is as follows:


I AM the Spirit of Private Enterprise.
Wherever I have existed freedom of mind and body have existed.
Wherever I have been murdered by collectivist laws and governmental strangulation freedom of mind and freedom of body have died.
I was the physical lever of Athenian civilization. I died in the collectivist Feudal ages.
I was resurrected in the Renaissance, beginning the modern age.
With the rebirth of free private trading came the vastest expansion in the arts and sciences the world has ever known.
I. Private Enterprise, have brought men of the same countries and men of distant countries closer together in friendlier intercourse than all the Socialistic and Communistic doctrines combined.
My trade-routes have been the routes of human progress.
I am the expression and sustainer of all that is lordly in the human soul—SELF-RELIANCE, the ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT, emotional and mental INITIATIVE, AMBITION and INVENTIVE RESOURCEFULNESS.
With my rebirth in the Renaissance the human level of living began to rise.
The shackles on slave labor began to rust and crack. Money became international.
Man at my touch took on something of the aspect of a creative god.
I, Private Enterprise, built America.
If she is a giant today in production it is 1: who have made her a giant.
I cleared her forests.
I built her railroads.
I tunneled her mountains.
I erected her factories, dug the coal and ore in her mines and sent out her ships on Seven Seas.
In my brain was born every creature comfort you enjoy.
I, Private Enterprise, with my free laborers and my unshackled captains of industry, built the muskets, the airplanes. the tanks, the submarines, the great guns that were used in the Revolutionary, Civil and World War No. 1 and that are now protecting the United States from invasion.
I am the hope of Europe and Asia.
I, Private Enterprise, am the working classes, the middle classes and the well-to-do classes.
I am the butcher shop, the bank, the newsstand, the great department store, the giant furnaces of Detroit and Pittsburgh and the electric light.
I, Private Enterprise, am Edison, Ericsson, Goodyear, Wanamaker, Westinghouse, Fulton, Whitney, :Morse and the Wright brothers.
I am that FREE BUSINESS, big and little, on which civilization alone depends.
I am the body of a great spiritual entity—LIBERTY. I am the body of a great sociological and biological fact—SELF-INTEREST.
It is I, Private and Free Enterprise, that is winning
this war for Russia, England, China and the U. S. A.
I, Private Enterprise, am the power behind your son,
your father, your brother fighting for you in Africa and
the Pacific.
I am the Minute Man of Uncle Sam.
I am the OLD DEAL.
I am the very essence and body of Jeffersonian democracy, for I am PRIVATE PROPERTY ; and PERSONAL LIBERTY.