Prospects for a humming future in the Beehive State

A recent publication by the Gallup organization is the latest to suggest a humming future for the Beehive State. In “Utah Poised to Be the Best U.S. State to Live In,” Dan Witters reports that the state leads all others with respect to 13 different categories of inquiry that address economic, workplace, community and personal choices.

As noted in the article, the selection of the 13 metrics was not based on any statistical model, but rather on their presumed relevance to future livability. The findings are based on the results of more than 530,000 interviews with U.S. adults conducted Jan. 2, 2011, through June 30, 2012, as a part of Gallup Daily tracking and the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

The specific categories include

  • Percentage of workers employed full time for an employer
  • Economic Confidence Index
  • Job Creation Index
  • Employee-supervisor relationship
  • Standard of living optimism
  • City optimism
  • Daily learning – of something new and interesting
  • Easy access to clean, safe water
  • Easy access to a safe place to exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Dentist visits
  • Future life evaluation

It’s interesting to consider the many touch points between insights available in this Gallup assessment and the message shared by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, as he delivered the keynote address at Sutherland Institute’s annual dinner in May. Highlighting factors he presents in his most recent book, The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise, Brooks emphasized moral foundations. “If we want a better future, liberated from statism and corporate cronyism,” he said, “the answer is the system that removes these shackles: free enterprise … a beautiful, noble system — so revolutionary in an imperfect world — that rewards aspiration instead of envy.”

Brooks underscored the significance of free enterprise as the system of values and laws that respects private property and limits government; encourages competition and industry; celebrates achievement based on merit; and creates individual opportunity.

As the Gallup reporter, Dan Witters, notes in his “Bottom Line” summary commentary, “Clearly, the future livability of any given state is not yet determined. Leaders and residents alike have a keen opportunity right now to set the foundation for creating a place where people will want to live.”

To which Arthur Brooks would add: that foundation is vibrant and functional free enterprise.