October 26th, 2011 → 4:32 pm @ Norman
My mother is dying. I’m in an airport lounge typing a blog between flights as I head to her death-bed. A couple of days ago she said to me, “I don’t know why I bother.” She was referring to how tired she was of being alive, yet incapacitated. And I guess she’s now decided not to bother any more. (more…)
October 10th, 2011 → 1:07 pm @ Norman
David the tiler is laying new floor tiles in my kitchen. His wife, Frances, is crouched outside the back door cutting the tiles. Steve the gardener is trimming bushes in the back garden. It’s cold and windy, and I feel sorry for Frances and Steve. Their miserable work environment reminds me of a time many years ago when I was a Lineman, sitting atop the cross-arms of poles on bitterly cold mornings, and trying to keep my fingers warm as I worked on the wires.
Yesterday, David and I had a coffee break together. He told me that he’d thought about expanding his tiling business but didn’t want the added risk that came from employing staff. Steve also prefers to keep his business a ‘one-man-band’. In their efforts to minimise their hassle and risk Steve, David and Frances have become dependent on other people taking risk… and succeeding. This year the farmers are doing well and, thankfully, spending. Without the risk-takers… the farmers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs, times would be very tough for David, Frances, and Steve.
It’s appropriate that risk-takers, including entrepreneurs have the opportunity to earn a lot of money from their efforts. But it’s more than ‘appropriate’… it’s also necessary. Without the ‘excess profits’ (to use the economic term) from entrepreneurial activity few people would bother taking all the risk and enduring the hassles of building innovative businesses. And without the successful entrepreneurs, there would be less work for David, Frances, Steve, and the many thousands of other people who benefit from discretionary spending by value-creators.
There’s certainly nothing novel in the idea that the excess wealth created by entrepreneurs ‘trickles’ through the economy. But I was reminded of it again today. If I was still a Lineman, then David, Frances, and Steve would be worse off… and I’d have cold fingers.