Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leading Us Out of This Mess

We’ve been talking on this blog and other places about entrepreneurs being the force that can help lead us out of this economic mess. Today’s Wall Street Journal carried an opinion piece from Tom Hayes and Michael S. Malone on the subject. Hayes is a Silicon Valley executive and Malone is a columnist for ABCNews.com; both are authors as well.

The piece begins with the wonderful title: Entrepreneurs Can Lead Us Out of the Crisis. In particular, it begins with a discussion of the stimulus from the perspective of the entrepreneur:

Missing from this legislation is anything more than token support for the long-proven source of most new jobs and new growth in America: entrepreneurs. These are the people who gave us everything -- from Wal-Mart to iPhones, from microprocessors to Twitter -- that is still strong in our economy. Without entrepreneurs, we will never get out of our current predicament.

This recession is more than a business-as-usual downturn caused by bad lending practices, government incompetence and Wall Street avarice. A greater, underlying dynamic is at work, a fundamental change taking place in the global marketplace. The U.S. economy isn't built for this new world (indeed, neither is any other nation) which is why our problems are racing out of control, while our solutions are proving both slow and inadequate. The danger now is that by merely fixing the old economy we will leave ourselves even more unprepared for the new one. Only entrepreneurs have the flexibility, the freedom and the risk-everything ambition to find the path back to prosperity in a rapidly changing, technology-driven global economy.

The piece then gets into some recommendations on the fix, and while I don’t necessarily agree with everything, it gets at a point that’s critical for the administration in Washington to understand…that corporate America and the banks will not get us out of the recession alone, and that entrepreneurs cannot be the forgotten foot-soldier in this war.

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