Arnold Kling  

An Entrepreneurial Generation?

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Michael Malone writes,

Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.

I'm all for entrepreneurship, but I wonder if these high school students aren't being a bit unrealistic. My guess is that only a fraction of high schoolers who hope to make a living in popular music or sports will actually do so. They may have a similarly skewed outlook on entrepreneurship.

My sense is that young people do not want to work in large organizations. Working in the bowels of a government agency is nearly unthinkable to them.

You would think that entrepreneurial ambitions and dislike of bureaucracy would translate into support for smaller government. But that does not show up in the aggregate.

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CATEGORIES: Business Economics

COMMENTS (6 to date)
scott clark writes:

If they do try to start their own businesses, and run up against their local govt rules and regs, they will be supporters of small govt very soon.

biwah writes:

I agree with Scott Clark. We can quibble with (a)the magnitude of the entrepreneurial trend and (b) just when it will lead to changes in popular attitudes toward government. However, there are both strong attractions (personal flexibility; a technology-leveled playing field with many constantly emerging niches) and strong propulsions (e.g. shrinking opportunities in the traditional business environment) pushing this trend, and it will continue here as well as globally for at least a generation.

As far as the role of government, it is coming to be seen more as a service provider for an entrepreneurial culture, e.g. universally available health care. We will also see streamlining in government red tape from greater transparency, faster paper-free processes, and a consumer mentality. We are well into the first phase of this already.

Lord writes:

The reason is their experience and knowledge of business is worse. A good employee may be hard to find, but a good business nearly impossible.

Jeff H, writes:

I know that I, as a 23 year old recent college graduate, hate the idea of working for large organizations of any kind. By my fellow graduates, even the ones who have an entrepreneurial streak, don't seem to share that sentiment.

Currently I work indirectly for a state government in Germany, and now I just want to work for an organization that actually produces something tangible in order to survive.

Dain writes:

Many of the young people I know want job security, a steady paycheck and few demands, so they can dedicate their free time to having fun with friends, usually with intoxicants and music. That means they actually prefer a government job. They see entrepreneurship as a load of stress with a high likelihood of failure.

Miguel writes:

Increasing or flooding the markets may improve regional inflation rates; as entrepreneurs enter the markets with little to no barriers saturate the stronger markets to minimize risk. But it seems like a downward spiral. I wouldn't want to find myself competing with larger corporations without even knowing I had been.

Innovative and creative entrepreneurs work to reduce the cost of development and so does modeling the markets or becoming sensitive to market need in order to satisfy (which can lead to a sales oriented platform or marketing platform which can be costly according to small business owners).

Serving need is crucial in the development of a strong business plan and just maybe a strategic marketing plan I would think.

Surely it is more complicated than what I have indicated. Oversimplification has it's problems.

I think understand the cause. There are large corporations out there ordered to give to it if I'm not mistaken, other than the usual venture capitalist or angel.

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