"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free Enterprise, Capitalism and Risk

What do administrators, politicians and bureaucrats have in common?

They are risk adverse. They seek safety, reelection and the avoidance of risk.

What do good businessmen, entrepreneurs and Bill Gates have in common?

They are risk takers. They measure events and circumstances with their knowledge and vision and take measured risks. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. In a capitalist economic system risk takers make or lose their investments based on the market provided result of their decision making. When they are successful their returns can be phenomenal and the results of their actions can benefit millions. When they fail they usually fail in degrees of personal difficulty. When administrators, politicians and bureaucrats fail they survive. They have no comparable success factors because they are not risk takers. Selling books and becoming lobbyists are not measures of success in economic disciplines.

Today very few observers are critical of the success of Bill Gates. The vision and risk taking and execution of he and his partners/supporters built an industry that improved productivity and efficiency around the globe and created millions of jobs (the credit for which was taken by WJClinton in a powerful example of the survivability of non risk takers.)

Is risk taking a good or bad thing or is it just a fact of life?

Depends on who you ask. In controlled economies risk taking is minimal to naught. The nomenklatura pretend to be in control. Do we want the US of A to follow this path? Big question for the American taxpayer/voter. As we follow this path and encourage the safety of the masses we discourage the risk takers. The current political regime likes to depict the successful risk taker as a pariah.

In free enterprise economies risk taking is the mechanism by which change occurs. Most folk think this change has been good but it is most certainly difficult when it fails or sputters or gets out of whack. Many folk cannot succeed in free enterprise. It is just too difficult. They need safety nets and effective charities. What they don’t need is risk adverse politicians, bureaucrats and administrators pretending to extend the benefits of risk takers to those who have difficulty competing in a tough, competitive environment. This activity is selling snake oil. In recent history in showed up in Ann Arbor, MI in 1964 with an unlikely Texas politician offering to solve the problems of the world.

Whither goes the US of A?

That is the $64.00 question. A self described community organizer is the director for the next four years. His decisions will have some impact, particularly if he seizes the opportunity to revitalize the environment for risk taking. His training does not suggest that he grasps the nature of the current events but TheFundamentals believes he can grasp the choices if he does his homework. His first risk taking would be to challenge the powerful imbedded forces in his constituency. Only he can take that risk. The early returns are not looking good.


Pat said...

You omit one salient point:It was Al Gore, a risk aversion politician,who invented the Internet.

For an agreeable perspective Theodore Roosevelt.

veronica said...

I don't think the early returns are in yet, but your points are well taken.

You were at that speech in Ann Arbor in '64, weren't you.