The creative spirits will put Humpty together again.
As long as you’re working for your money, your money’s not working
for you, you’ll forever be a slave. Bill Gates did not get a big cake
just sitting around waiting for a promotion.
Tommy Bottoms – from the song ‘Basic Economics’
Many economists are living in an age where they clamber for their 15 minutes of fame (and fat royalty payments), in fact the term economist has become so prevalent today that many people are becoming armchair economists, my friend Professor Steve Keen told me recently they are: “false Keynesians, freshwater (shallow) economists,” espousing their beliefs about the state of the global economy and how to fix it… and one thing most of these economists (and indeed governments) have in common is pointing the finger of blame at banks and financial institutions.
Two of the world’s highest profile economists, the famed Alan Greenspan said: “no one saw it (the bubble/recession) coming,” and his successor Ben Bernanke indicates: “monetary policy is no panacea.” On the other hand the much respected Mark Thoma, Professor of Economics at the University of Oregon, believes: “some economists got things mostly right about the recession and what was needed to fix it, but they have been ignored in policy discussions. Conversely, those who got things mostly wrong were given prominent seats at the policy-setting table.”
So fingers are pointing and both professional and armchair economists are hell bent on autopsies; what went wrong and who is to blame whilst espousing short term measures to inject life into the economy which governments and central banks are following, Dr. Stephen Cecchetti who is Economic Adviser and Head of the Monetary and Economic Department at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) the mission of which “is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability,” says the short term policies being pursued by Governments and central banks have the opposite effect of what they are intended to do: “Instead of supplying the oxygen that the real economy needs for healthy growth, it sucks the air out of the system and starts to slowly suffocate it.”
Whilst the governments and central banks scramble and falter the creative spirits, the entrepreneurs, who know monetary policy is no panacea, are not sitting around they are taking their futures into their own hands and in doing so creating wealth and jobs for themselves and others. Mancur Olson wrote in his classic Power and Prosperity:
“Because uncertainties are so pervasive and unfathomable, the most dynamic and prosperous societies are those that try many, many things. They are societies with countless thousands of entrepreneurs who have relatively good access to credit and venture capital.”
This message is repeated in a new book by Philip Auerswald’s The Coming Prosperity: How Entrepreneurs are Transforming the Global Economy which is a breath of fresh air against so many economists’ books currently being released serving to do an autopsy on what went wrong in the global economy instead of offering solutions. Auerswald’s (an economist) term for people who solve problems is not economist it is: entrepreneur. His main concern is that entrepreneurs, a term he uses quite expansively, are not receiving enough attention from “policymakers, economists, political scientists, and philanthropists.”
Do or not do, there is no try
I find it quite bizarre that governments and policy makers the world over are paying scant heed to the entrepreneurs and plowing trillions into areas that is clearly not working. Recall the words President Obama said in January 2009 to the million or so people on the National Mall and billions worldwide who gathered to celebrate his inauguration:
“It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor-- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.”
How important are widespread entrepreneurs to the health of a modern society? Well, I would say very. Thankfully the Middle East is alive and well with the entrepreneur spirit who have carried the prosperity ‘up the long, rugged path,’ with people like Marwan Tamari an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs, who may liken the character trait needed to being "half sane and half crazy.
Being an entrepreneur is about paradoxes: planning and luck, big ideas and small steps, extreme ambition and everyday realism, being bold and being humble, walking through chaos and establishing organization. But the benefits can be rewarding financially, mentally and spirituality.
Why am I writing this? Because I’m speaking to you… I’m encouraging you to get up and make a difference, to make your life count, to do what you want to do. The founder of cashy.me, Nima Abu-Wardeh always says -- ‘do or not do, try does not exist.’ Too many people are stuck in mediocrity because they do not do what they know in their hearts they should do… they settle!!
Invest in Yourself
Here is my personal framework for knowing what to DO. If you have two choices, choose the harder one. If you're trying to decide whether to go out running or sit home and watch TV, go running. When you have two choices and one is harder, the only reason you're even considering the other is laziness. You know in the back of your mind what is the right thing to do with your life.
The truth is the greatest stock market you can invest in is yourself. Will you settle or will you create the life you want? Will you do what looks hardest at first or watch TV? What was it that got you started as an entrepreneur or are you sitting back waiting for Mother Luck to wave a magic wand? Add a comment and let’s make a difference…
Pic Mark Thoma