Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



What Is the Purpose of America?

At this week's Conscious Capitalism Summit, Motley Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner sat down with Roy Spence, founder of The Purpose Institute and author of It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For.

In the video below, David asks Roy, "What is the purpose of America?" Roy responds by discussing the crisis of leadership in this country, and then considers ways we might get things back on track.

For Roy, the purpose of America is to give everyone the opportunity to dream and build, if they are willing to play by the rules and work hard. He concludes by suggesting we quit asking our kids what they want to do. Instead, we should be asking them what they love to do.


Read/Post Comments (21) | Recommend This Article (61)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2013, at 5:26 PM, puresoapbox wrote:

    Brilliant! I've been a fan of this fellow Austinite for years. He hit the nail on the head.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2013, at 8:41 PM, awallejr wrote:

    Play by the rules and work hard? While others robbed the Country blind easily and got away with it? Sorry that really is a sucker's game now.

    The rules have been changed too much now. Things will only get more lopsided until the Average Joe says enough is enough and takes back Washington.

  • Report this Comment On October 11, 2013, at 10:11 PM, VExplorer wrote:

    very rare case: I'm 100% agree with "awallejr" (even ways out I like, probably, to opposite direction)

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2013, at 12:07 AM, blablableh wrote:

    This is pretty much just babble. Scary that the guys I pay for stock advice appear to be lapping it up like cult members.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2013, at 12:43 AM, ezfast wrote:

    Very inspirational speaker, but I find nothing useful so far as buying or selling stock profitably is concerned.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2013, at 2:00 AM, ihussaini wrote:

    Roy, the country is broke. Why is it broke? Because Wall Street lacks vision. It's filled with number crunchers who know how to talk.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2013, at 3:02 PM, randSaver wrote:

    In my opinion, citizens of European nations are more likely to choose what they love than are Americans, generally speaking. I'm basing this on the European and American friends I've had. The average American, it seems to me, is going to be much more concerned about "keeping up with the Jones", simply trying to make the highest salary possible to get more material things. When you choose a profession based on pay alone, that's going to many times lead you to a field/career that you don't even like.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2013, at 8:07 PM, awallejr wrote:

    @ randsaver, You probably haven't met the "average Amercian" because if you did you would see it is more about surviving than "keeping up with the Jones." That train left the station decades ago.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 7:10 PM, johaba wrote:

    I agree with his statement that before at least all Americans kenw what we were fighting for.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 9:09 PM, wolfman225 wrote:

    "What is the Purpose of America?"

    Simple, yet profound.

    The purpose of America is (or, at least, was) to provide a framework allowing for it's citizens to attain their fullest potential, free from the oppression of aristocratic elites (government).

    The purpose of America is/was to guarantee and safeguard, for the first time in history, the rights of the individual in preference to the demands of the mob.

    America first went adrift when it forgot it's purpose and is now in real danger of running aground.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 2:15 AM, strelna wrote:

    I am not sure this long drawn-out, rather uninteresting wail was worth distributing. America no longer exists in America. To find America, Americans must seek out somewhere else where liberty still withstands the incursions of the state. Not easy!

    I thought Gardner Bros. were literate! 'Conscious' means you are mentally aware; not in a coma. The word I think they are looking for is 'conscientious'.

    It is perfectly possible to be a conscious capitalist while you whip and starve the workers while your yellow, toxic effluent runs across a children's playground, spontaneously catching fire: you are truly conscious you are doing it. But if you were conscientious, you might try and avoid these things.

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 7:53 AM, drgroup wrote:

    Roy... I hope you are well intentioned in your words. But you have just made obvious that which is obvious. Where are the answers to the issues that really are impacting every American today. Talking in metaphors and riddles is not the solution...

  • Report this Comment On October 14, 2013, at 9:38 AM, NYUnited wrote:

    wolfman225 gets it. He's 100% right.

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2013, at 12:12 PM, mbirdlebo wrote:

    Play by the rules....

    It was hard to do with only 10, impossible with 600+, what makes us think adding 4,000 per year will make things better?

    We are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!

    None of our institutions are prepared for the revolution in information and communication technologies that has already overtaken us.

    As crew members on a single spaceship, we need to get much better at working together to identify and resolve problems quickly. That requires listening and cooperating skills that are in woefully short supply.

    While achieving our "fullest potential" as Americans was a noble objective for the 18th Century, we need to think, see, and listen far beyond our shores in the 21st.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 10:30 PM, Netteligent09 wrote:

    All the crooks got our country in this huge mess should spend the rest of their lives in jails, not yatch or private plane with cigar in their mouth laughing all the way to the banks.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 9:15 AM, hoarsecanary wrote:

    Leadership has not existed in many areas of government and education for decades. Instead of actually teaching the Constitution to children in school we have taught them that hurting feelings is a no no. That playing and working hard is dangerous so just don't do it (dodge ball, tag outlawed). Those that get honors and AP classes are bullied while the jocks get everything; attention, recognition, the girls and under cover cash rewards. Now there's an oxymoron. Kids die from sports but the emotional reward to the adults is worth it. They have made emotional reward greater than success. But the true goal of that emotional response instead of reasoning is that they push a social agenda which one day will even make pedophilia legal cause it's love and there is nothing wrong with love no matter it's form. And because you love your fellow humans you will set aside any need for financial security and jump into the cesspool of communism; where 99% suffer without and 1% enjoy the cream of the 99% work. There won't be a market for you to create wealth with your fingertips. All who don't demand a restoration of the Constitution is who we can thank. The political figures are just doing what we allow them to do with our power. 1929 can be around the corner, someone has to pay for the losses some time winter for everything remember?

  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 7:11 PM, Sunny7039 wrote:

    What is the purpose of America?

    Ask Huck Finn.


  • Report this Comment On October 22, 2013, at 7:13 PM, Sunny7039 wrote:

    I think Roy Spence is very sincere in what he says.

    This alone is great to listen to -- and remarkable.

    (Sorry, but I'm originally from Chicago. :)

  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2013, at 3:11 PM, Sytsr wrote:

    I am astonished to hear such near-total rant. I hope, and pray, that this is becausre that's all we hear from the media, whether our conservative or liberal sources. And it becomes self-fulfilling.

    Meanwhile the good things that are going on, and there are actually many, go unnoticed or unreported. I follow the political and international news at the same time I follow the financial news, and if you do it carefully it has some enlightening and positive notes in both directions. But anyone listening to this "conversation" would throw up their hands and jump off the cliff. Why on earth are they investing if they don't like their country? It's not productive, nor does it help build/rebuild a nation.

    Your writers who point out the difficulty the U.S. is having keeping up with technology are surely right. It's an incredible speed of development and has mixed benefits. But thank heaven, for example, Congress worked that fast. It would become catastrophic very quickly. This is a country full of all sorts of people: different economic backgrounds, different philosophies, different experiences, different certain beliefs. It belongs to all of To shore up its leadership we need to be both flexible in our own certainties and articulate in stating our specific concerns and suggestions.

    I was really interested that Tom and David were willing to go to this place. I do wish the general public, and Washington, could be hearing more helpful direction from business. The things that they would say could add useful facts and suggestions that they don't articulate now - out of fear of the "madding crowd". So we have an unbalanced set of facts to make our decisions on.

    Our difficulties are to agreat degree because of the freedoms we're given - including the freedom to rant. We are also given the freedom to think and act. Our investments in this country can be part of our thank you.

    I'm no Pollyanna. I just believe deeply in America.

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2013, at 7:08 PM, rotorhead1871 wrote:

    Life Liberty and the pursuit of the document....

  • Report this Comment On October 30, 2013, at 1:02 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    I remember J.P. Morgan locking Bankers in a room demanding Millions from them before they could leave after the 1930's crash.

    He even said of Social Security " I don't care if you give them $1,000 a month as long as they will spend it all each month back into the Economy".

    The last true Banker that was a real Patriot too !

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2679375, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/27/2016 1:32:29 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,223.20 128.37 0.71%
S&P 500 2,159.29 13.19 0.61%
NASD 5,296.22 38.73 0.74%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes