Every child that is born in the U.S. is born with the privilege and advantage of living in the greatest democracy the world has ever seen. However, the preservation of our democracy depends on the education we offer the younger generations.

We need to do a better job teaching our kids and young adults the importance of a free market. Most children grow up with a conventional education that lacks instruction about the economy and its impact on our daily lives. We must empower our children with financial literacy.

I lived in Cuba until the age of 16. When people ask me if I have happy memories of my childhood, I respond that I do, because back then, I did not know any better. For instance, while 6-year-olds in the United States are fantasizing about visiting Mickey in Disneyland, Cuban children are used as props in political acts while they unwittingly chant communist slogans praising dictators. The government in Cuba does not teach its youth the true and stark difference between socialism and capitalism and their economic consequences. Their doctrines are extreme and go from cartoons to specific courses in the classrooms. This has affected many generations. For 63 years, their strategy has always been to criticize capitalism and its free market structure. They blame capitalism for poverty around the globe, but the truth is a different one. It is their command economy that impoverishes the people.

In America, we can provide our youth with the right tools to be prepared through a legitimate education. All school-aged kids should take courses that help them understand the differences and consequences of living in a capitalist versus a socialist economy. These courses should explain how families are affected by the ways these economies work. School-aged kids should grow up with a clear understanding of what it is to choose the advantages and disadvantages of either of these two systems.

The first step is to explain that in a socialist or communist economy, the factors of production like labor, natural resources, or capital goods are under the control of the government. By contrast, in a capitalist one, with a fair and free market as a key component, private entities hold the power.

The second step is to show them the levels of success that individuals and nations experience under each one of these economies. The moral responsibility of governments is to create a market that facilitates success. 

Last but not least, the third is to create a comprehensive curriculum that stimulates them enough to want to learn about money and the systems that allow it to flow into their lives.

The importance of teaching our children financial literacy is one of the most important undertakings we have as a society. This is a job for our school system, but also for the parents because education starts at home. Advancing financial literacy can help address issues such as pay parity, homelessness, student loans, and financial stability, among others.

Some could argue that the topic of understanding how a free market economy works is too complex a topic to teach to young kids, but I believe our youth are smart, and learning about this is a better use of their time than becoming indoctrinated by subliminal images on social media or playing violent video games.

For those who are of voting age, financial literacy and learning about the benefits of a free market can contribute to making an educated decision about which candidate to support at the polls. If our children and youth grow up knowing which economic policies will affect them, they can become empowered members of our society with the knowledge to make a change.

If we don’t act now, our education system will become the playground of those who are pushing for age-inappropriate courses in our classrooms instead of teaching the cornerstones of what makes America a great nation. It is necessary to have additional courses that enlighten our children about the consequences of not having a free market in our society. 

Let’s empower future generations with the necessary knowledge and create a moral responsibility to advocate for a fair free market that leads to prosperity for this great nation and the world.