Monday, May 6, 2013

Where are the start-ups?

Glenn Reynolds links his own column, "Where are the start-ups?" It quite eloquently echoes most of the now longstanding themes of this blog, to wit:

[T]he latest data indicate that start-ups are becoming rarer, not more common. A new report from JPMorgan economist Mike Feroli indicates that employment in start-ups is plunging. New jobs in the economy tend to come from new businesses, but we're getting fewer new businesses. That doesn't bode well.

In fact, it is yet another sign of a United States that is looking more like Europe: A society in which big businesses have cozy relationships with big government, while unemployment remains comparatively high. If you're fortunate enough to have a job at one of those government-connected businesses, GE, for example, your situation is pretty good. If you're a recent college graduate looking for work, your situation is not so great. If you're a low-skilled worker, your situation is dreadful.

So what's to blame for this change? A lot of things, probably. One reason, I suspect, for a job market that looks more like Europe is a regulatory and legal environment that looks more like Europe's. High regulatory loads -- the product of ObamaCare and numerous other laws -- systematically harm small businesses, which can't afford the personnel needed for compliance, to the benefit of large corporations, which can.

Word. And this bit speaks to us, as any regular reader knows:
But I wonder if the biggest problem isn't cultural. Since 2008, this country hasn't celebrated achievement or entrepreneurialism. Instead, we've heard talk about the evils of the "1%" " about the rapaciousness of capitalism, and the importance of spreading the wealth around. We've even heard that work in the public sector is somehow nobler than work in the private sector.

Countries where those attitudes prevail tend not to produce as much entrepreneurialism, so it's perhaps no surprise that as those attitudes have gained ascendance among America's political class and media elite, we've seen less entrepreneurialism here.

We hear a lot about the role of financial capital in economic development. But just as important -- perhaps even more important -- is the role of moral and intellectual capital. A country that celebrates achievement and risk-taking is likely to see more economic success than one that does not. And while the economy was lousy under Carter, there was less of this sort of anti-entrepreneurial talk.

Correct. Entrepreneurs need positive reinforcement as anybody else does, so celebration of their ambition and achievement is important, and that is why we do it here and hope our readers do the same.

The White House obviously wants to avoid the blame for the start-up drought, which has been getting more publicity in the last few months. The president is descending on Austin this week, all part of his "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour." Yes, we expect the "tour" t-shirt will be cool, but mostly we wonder whether President Obama is coming to Austin to listen, or to lecture. If the former, there is a great deal he can learn in this liberal Texas city which, left as it is in its cultural values, loves nothing more than a start-up and celebrates business to a far greater extent than college towns on the coasts. We hope he exceeds our expectations, but we expect to be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. In my small town situated between Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, I've noticed a whole lot of pickups and SUVs hauling closed trailers decorated with signs for roofing, remodeling, lawn care, and painting. We were hit hard the last few years with the eviscerating of the Big Three automakers, and other large employers, and it looks like people are starting to employ themselves doing the necessary maintenance things they can do, and hiring only one or two handymen to help out, thus avoiding Obamacare and the other regulatory crap. Americans are resilient, but we're not supermen, so we need to end this horrible governmental Regulatorlanche.


Web Statistics