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Can There Be Too Many Entrepreneurs?

In a recent post on LinkedIn, Ben Mangan (Who?, you might well ask) wrote this:

[S]ome of the most influential people in [Silicon] Valley seem to believe that the panacea for the country and the world is for nearly everyone to become an entrepreneur.

I think this is a dangerous idea. [Emphasis added-MM]

Really?! This Ben Nobody thinks that the idea of having nearly everyone become an entrepreneur is a dangerous idea?! He gives hokey reasons behind this wild critique of entrepreneurism. For example, it’s really hard; most people don’t have the appetite for the risks and hardships; most enterprises don’t make it.

Huey! Look back at the thousands of years of human history…or even that last couple hundred. By comparison to the hardships endured by the vast majority of early American settlers, struggling through being an entrepreneur is downright royal! Face it, in the economy of only 150 years ago, most people were either farmers (a kind of entrepreneur) or journeymen (another kind of entrepreneur). It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution drove swarms of people off farms and into crowded cities that most people began to have the luxury of not thinking for themselves and working for someone who does.

I’ve heard this argument before, often from law school professors: “Most people aren’t cut out for doing X (running their own company, negotiating their own pay, deciding on what kind of lightbulb to use, deciding whether to buy health insurance, choosing the right school to attend, choosing the gas milage of the cars they buy, selecting investments, …), so they should not even try.” Were people in the 19th Century agrarian economy really smarter, more risk tolerant, and uniformly successful than people in the 21st Century Internet Economy? If that is so, it is no doubt a result of the miserable job public schools do at educating people for real life. (Mind you I am sure those same public schools do a fine job of indoctrinating future welfare recipients on how to vote for corrupt politicians that preach the economic of victimhood. But the public education system is now designed more for propaganda and less for teaching.)

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too stupid, lazy, or unlucky to start your own business. Don’t worry that public school didn’t teach you anything useful. All you need to start is ideas and personal drive. You can learn the rest from the myriad resources designed to help entrepreneurs succeed. The trove of Internet resources has replaced formal schooling.

All the wealth in the world has been created by people with ideas who have the drive to work on those ideas. Be one of them. Don’t be one of Ben Nobody’s statistics.

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