Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

The Faith of Entrepreneurs, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Anybody who thinks launching a business isn’t an act of faith has never tried it. From Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. at lewrockwell.com:

Ludwig von Mises didn’t like references to the “miracle” of the marketplace or the “magic” of production or other terms that suggest that economic systems depend on some force that is beyond human comprehension. In his view, we are better off coming to a rational understanding of why markets are responsible for astounding levels of productivity that can support exponential increases in population and ever higher living standards.

There was no German miracle after World War II, he used to say; the glorious recovery was a result of economic logic working itself out through market forces. Once we understand the relationship between property rights, market prices, the time structure of production, and the division of labor, the mystery evaporates and we observe the science of human action making great things happen.

He is right that understanding economics does not require faith, but there are actions undertaken by market actors themselves that require faith (and Mises would not disagree with this)—immense faith, faith that moves mountains and raises up civilizations. If we accept the interesting description of faith by St. Paul (“evidence of things unseen”) we can understand entrepreneurship and capitalist investment as acts of faith.

Continue reading→

Something Worth Striving For, by MN Gordon

One of the paramount freedoms worth fighting for in America is the freedom to try something different and see if you can make a buck doing so. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

[Editor’s Note: This edition of the Economic Prism was originally published on July 04, 2019, as Independence Day in America Circa 2019.  The themes explored within are even more relevant today.  So we’ve dusted it off, made several updates, and are republishing it.  Enjoy!]

Not Welcome

The days are long and hot in the Northern Hemisphere when real American patriots spit upon their hands and hoist the stars and stripes.  On July 4, the free and brave, with duty and self-sacrifice, begrudgingly accept federal holiday pay to stand tall upon their own two feet.  Rugged individualism and uncompromising independence are essential to their character.

With purpose and intent, they assemble as merry mobs along the shoreline to celebrate American Independence.  Freedom lovers – descendants of Buffalo Bill – gather to eat hotdogs and pitch horseshoes while downing tipples of corn syrup and fermented grain.  When the sun slips beyond the western horizon and the stars twinkle bright, they hoot and holler at the brilliance of fireworks and sparkling pyrotechnics.

Most years, these festivities certify that, even in an era of big government, there remains a time and place to revel in the virtues of representative self-rule.  All are usually welcome, of course, so long as their vehicles are registered, they’ve paid their income taxes, and have proper documentation.  But not this year.  At least, not in certain jurisdictions.

After all, this is the age of coronavirus.  In some reaches of the land of the free, none are welcome.  For example, in Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors closed beaches, piers, beach bike paths, and beach access points from July 3 thru 6 “to prevent dangerous crowding.”

Continue reading

Local government foils evil terrorist entrepreneurs once and for all, by Simon Black

Food trucks and renting out your own home or apartment threaten the American way of life, but fortunately local governments are on the case. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Tens of thousands of years ago, humankind was practically an endangered species.

Our early proto-ancestors had little means to protect against the harsh elements or defend against terrifying predators.

And finding enough food was a constant challenge.

Tribes of humans would roam from place to place, foraging for whatever they could eat until they had exhausted nature’s resources… and then be forced to move on to a new location.

And the idea that early humans were champion hunters is largely myth; we were scavengers for the most part, nibbling scraps off dead animal carcasses that had already been picked clean by predators higher up the food chain.

It was hardly a sustainable way to live.

Then everything changed around 10,000 years ago.

Continue reading

Three Economics Lessons I Learned from My Dad, by Ryan McMaken

There are some economics lessons you only learn by being an entrepreneur. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

As long as I’ve known him, my father has always been the entrepreneurial type. Even now, in his seventies, he picks up side jobs both to keep busy and to have a little extra spending money.

Throughout my childhood and youth, he had always been an independent insurance broker and salesman. He often employed one or two people to help with the phones and the paperwork. But also often just worked alone.

Growing up, the idea of going to work for a big company for 30 or 40 years, and then retiring to a golf course or rocking chair somewhere, was something completely alien to me. People my age nowadays mostly expect to work full time until age 75 or more. We can forget about pensions and Social Security. But even when a multi-decade retirement seemed like a viable option in the old days, that wasn’t something to aspire to in my house.

In short, Dad has always been part of a small minority group in America: people who make their living from running their own business. It is estimated that only about 10 percent of Americans actually make their living from businesses they own. The numbers are higher if we look at people who have some small-business income on the side. But when we’re talking about people whose main source of income is their own business, the numbers are smaller.

Not surprisingly, people who are in this minority group have a different way of looking at the world.

For them, there’s no boss or manager to complain about when your income isn’t as high as you like. If there’s not enough money to make payroll at the end of the month, business owners stare failure in the face, and they know they may even be taking some other families down with them. Ultimately, the most important question is always this: How can I get more customers to voluntarily give me their money? A failure to answer this question leads to the failure of one’s business.

This may seem like a very simple observation, but for those who are daily forced to ask the question, it leads to a world view that can be quite distinct from millions of other workers who work for wages.

To continue reading: Three Economics Lessons I Learned from My Dad

Migration of the Tax Donkeys, by Charles Hugh Smith

The productive will go where the productive are treated the best. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Dear local leadership: here’s the formula for long-term success.

A Great Migration of the Tax Donkeys is underway, still very much under the radar of the mainstream media and conventional economists. If you are confident no such migration of those who pay the bulk of the taxes could ever occur, please consider the long-term ramifications of these two articles:
Allow me to summarize for those who aren’t too squeamish: a lot of cities and counties are going to go broke, slashing services and jacking up taxes, all to no avail. The promises made by corrupt politicos cannot possibly be kept, despite constant assurances to the contrary, and those expecting services and taxes to remain untouched will be shocked by the massive cuts in services and the equally massive tax increases that will be imposed in a misguided effort to “save” politically powerful constituencies and fiefdoms.
These dynamics will power a Great Migration of the Tax Donkeys from failing cities, counties and states to more frugal, well-managed and small business-friendly locales. I’ve sketched out the migration in this graphic: the move by those who can from incompetently managed and/or corrupt cities/counties/states to more innovative, open, frugal and better managed locales.
Unlike Communist regimes which strictly control who has permission to transfer residency, Americans are still free to move about the nation. This creates a very Darwinian competition between sclerotic, corrupt, overpriced one-party-dictatorships whose hubris-soaked political class is convinced the insane housing prices, tech unicorns, abundant services, and a high-brow culture ruled by an artsy elite are irresistible to everyone, and locales that are low-cost, responsive to their Tax Donkey class, welcoming to new small businesses, employers and talent, unbeholden to a politically-correct dictatorship and conservatively managed, i.e. not headed for insolvency.
Not everyone can move. Many people find it essentially impossible to move due to family roots and obligations, poverty, secure employment, kids in school, and numerous other compelling reasons.
However, some people are able to move–typically the self-employed independent types who can no longer afford (or tolerate) anti-small-business, high-tax municipalities and their smug elitist leadership that’s more into virtue-signaling than creating jobs and a small-biz conducive ecosystem. (Giving lip-service to small-biz doesn’t count.)
To continue reading: Migration of the Tax Donkeys

There Are Two Ways To Be ‘Rich’, by Karl Denninger

Karl Denninger gives some good advice about unplugging from the credit/consumer matrix and seeking self-sufficiency. From Denninger at theburningplatform.com:

The first is to grind at the wheel, take small amounts of money as you acquire them and risk everything, fail early, fail hard, and fail often.

This usually works, but exactly how many times you will fail, and at what cost, is another matter.  Personally, my number was “three”; that is, the third time I wound up with something durable (in terms of a large multiple of what I put in originally.)

But there’s a problem with this path — it takes a hell of lot out of you and if you “crack” before you hit your personal number of failures then you’re utterly screwed.

It forces you to be a bastard in some fashion, because the world is not a nice place.  The people in it aren’t nice either, and a huge percentage of them not only will cheat, lie and steal, if they’re in a larger business than you are they’ll do it and the government won’t stomp on them even if what they’re doing is illegal.

If you try the same thing, on the other hand, you will be bankrupted and will probably go to prison.

This means you need to get real creative.  You can get lucky, of course, but in truth that’s a bad strategy.  Oh sure, there are those who do it in every business cycle and “win”, but the “out of business” signs massively outnumber the lucky ones.  For everyone who makes a million or ten with a large component of luck there are fifty who wind up with nothing at all.  This leaves the alternative as a strategy to adopt: (1) be a five alarm bastard so that nobody dares **** with you hard and (2) stay on the right side of the law so that if someone tries (especially on the criminal side) they get nowhere with their allegations because everyone who actually cares has already looked at you and figured out that you’re almost-certainly not cheating.  The hard part is doing both while watching those larger than you lie, cheat, steal and commit crimes which nobody does a damn thing about.  You damn well better have your head on straight going down this road because if you don’t you’ll either join them (and get caught) or worse, go postal.

To continue reading: There Are Two Ways To Be ‘Rich’

America’s Great Unsung Hero, by Robert Ringer

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of America. From Robert Ringer at lewrockwell.com:

Heroes are people who accomplish extraordinary feats under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, such as the firefighters who marched into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 in an attempt to save lives while everyone else was scurrying to get out.

But there’s another kind of hero — one who makes a living accomplishing extraordinary feats under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, day in and day out.  The hero I’m referring to is the individualist known as an “entrepreneur.”

In our current age of envy, the entrepreneur is perhaps the most misunderstood, underappreciated, and reviled human being on earth.  He represents everything that thug-infested groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter hate.  The truth is that the entrepreneur is not the greedy, win-at-all costs monster that haters like to portray him as.

On the contrary, it is the entrepreneur who is the primary driver of a healthy economy, not only by creating products and services but, in the process, jobs.  And through the invisible hand of the marketplace, he improves the lives of people (sometimes millions of people) whom he will never even meet.

It should not be surprising, then, that many of our Founding Fathers were entrepreneurs, perhaps the two most famous examples being George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  They are also good examples of just how far apart the results of individual entrepreneurs can be.

Though they were both farmers, Washington was one of the richest men in America, while Jefferson struggled financially throughout his life and died broke.  But Jefferson’s financial difficulties never dampened his enthusiasm for entrepreneurial pursuits, which resulted in the building of his beloved Monticello estate and the founding of one of America’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, the University of Virginia.

It’s important to understand that there are no guarantees for the entrepreneur.  On the contrary, he labors long, hard hours without the luxury of a safety net.  Either he gets results or he starves.  And that’s what makes the entrepreneur unique — his willingness to shove all his chips to the center of the table and bet everything he owns on the farm, literally.

To continue reading: America’s Great Unsung Hero

They Are Killing Small Business: The Number Of Self-Employed Americans Is Lower Than It Was In 1990, by Michael Snyder

You have to throw tons of sand into the gears to really screw up the American economic machine, but our government (Michael Snyder blames “leftist politicians,” but they’ve had plenty of help from the right) has done it. From Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:

After eight long, bitter years under Obama, will things go better for entrepreneurs and small businesses now that Donald Trump is in the White House?  Once upon a time, America was the best place in the world for those that wanted to work for themselves.  Our free market capitalist system created an environment in which entrepreneurs and small businesses greatly thrived, but today they are being absolutely eviscerated by the control freak bureaucrats that dominate our political system.  Year after year, leftist politicians just keep piling on more rules, more regulations, more red tape and more taxes.  As a result, the number of self-employed Americans is now lower than it was in 1990

In April 1990, 8.7 million Americans were self-employed, but today only 8.4 million Americans are self-employed.

Of course our population has grown much, much larger since that time.  In 1990, there were 249 million people living in the United States, but today there are 321 million people living in this country.

What this means is that the percentage of the population that is self-employed is way down.

In fact, one study found that the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

And if you go back even farther, the numbers are even more depressing.  It may be hard to believe, but the percentage of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” declined by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.

Sometimes I like to watch a television show called Shark Tank, and on that show they make it seem like entrepreneurship in America is thriving.

But the exact opposite is actually the case.  In a previous article, I discussed how the number of new businesses being created in the United States has been steadily falling over the years.  According to economist Tim Kane, the number of startup jobs per one thousand Americans has been declining for several consecutive presidential administrations

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

To continue reading: They Are Killing Small Business: The Number Of Self-Employed Americans Is Lower Than It Was In 1990


Free Gulliver, by Robert Gore

The future is held hostage by little minds and small ideas.

A gaggle of intellectual Lilliputians gaze upon their handiwork—productive people on their backs, bound by government strings of taxes, debt, phony money, out of control spending, entitlements for the unproductive, regulation, war, etc.—and proclaim Gulliver permanently disabled, he’ll never walk again. Invariably their palliatives never involve cutting strings, only more government.

It’s claimed that true innovation is dead, except for innovation directed by bureaucrats and funded by governments. Or there’s going to be so much innovation—automation and artificial intelligence—that there’ll be no work left for humans to do. Then government will have to confiscate the increased wealth flowing from those innovations and dole it out to the unemployed legions. Or soon it will take more energy to produce fossils fuels than the energy derived, so government must push us towards its chosen alternative energies. You get the idea: humanity faces a grim future and only governments can make it less grim.





There are economists and historians of a certain political bent who claim that government is responsible for every innovation since the wheel. Government, however, is a coercive, zero-sum endeavor. Every dime it spends comes from either a taxpayer or creditor, and is a dime the taxpayer can’t spend or the creditor can’t lend elsewhere. Government dimes have funded nuclear weapons and flights to the moon, but we don’t know where those dimes might otherwise have been spent. Left in taxpayer or creditor pockets, they could have funded more prosaic innovations of greater real-world utility than H-bombs or moonshots.

Given the checkered record of government, especially over the last century or so, it may seem that those who still believe in it are engaging in something akin to religion. That maligns religion, which generally involves a belief, or faith, in one or more deities whose existence and powers cannot be objectively proved or disproved. Belief in government is faith in an ersatz deity—incompetent, often malevolent—who ignores prayers, squelches hope, and destroys lives.

Naifs believe in government beneficence; more sinister acolytes’ worship not government and its alleged good works, but power. Beneath the slogans, bromides, and expressions of righteous intent, they live for subjugation and obedience. They are like a drum master to whom it’s more important that the slaves row to his beat than where the galley might be going. Compliance is an end—the end—in itself; everything else is secondary. Relationships are those of superiors to inferiors, rulers to ruled, Lilliputians to Gullivers.

President Trump, who was not the candidate of superiors, rulers, and Lilliputians, elicits abject horror and furious demonstrations over what he has done or said, or might do or say. The powerful realize their power may be a thing of the past. The demonstrators are horrified that the “victimization” concerns to which every right-thinking American and major institution, especially government, has reflexively genuflected will be ignored. Trump could be the turning of that page, Americans concluding that there are more important issues than race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Do the “victims” even want an America where people don’t care about irrelevant factors and accept or reject them based on their virtues and flaws? If that day comes, it will be not acknowledged and would leave many of the victims unhappy. They’d have to find something else to bitch about.

To his detractors’ consternation, the president has pledged to eliminate 75 percent of the federal government’s regulations. At least 95 percent are useless or counterproductive, but if Trump can get rid of 75 percent, celebration will be in order. Compared to other strings regulation is almost invisible, but it’s an important Lilliputian spool. When they come up against a true Gulliver—a productive giant, an innovative genius—the difference in stature is obvious. Regulation keeps the giants on the ground where they belong, and leaves the Lilliputians in control. Selective enforcement lets officials reward..and punish— imposing costs, wasting producers’ precious time and energy, crippling their ability to compete.

Pundits and “experts” have declared the end of growth, without any demonstration of what would happen if the strings were cut. The stagnation they decry—but accept as inevitable—has been government-sponsored, but they assign an even larger role for government in “managing” future decay. The best the Davos crowd has to address manifest disgust with the ruling class is more redistribution from the productive to the unproductive (see “The 2017 “Davos Consensus”—More Welfare and Warfare,”). Not a peep at their conclave that redistribution—and the taxes and debt that fund it—are the problem for decrepit, bankrupt welfare-warfare states. Government is always the solution, never the problem.

Growth comes from innovation and increased productivity: using existing resources more efficiently. Is that the province of politicians and bureaucrats, who regard larger appropriations every year as their divine right, or profit-driven, cost-minimizing innovators and entrepreneurs? Say, for example’s sake, that someday soon it does require more energy to produce fossil fuels than the energy derived from them. The global economy would have to transition away from petroleum, a daunting undertaking. Do you trust that transition to markets, producers, and the price mechanism, which would signal a rise in the relative cost of petroleum, spurring more energy-efficient petroleum production, development of alternative energy sources, and conservation and substitution by consumers? Or do you trust taxes and increased debt, regulations, government-funded research, and bureaucrats and politicians who have never produced anything selecting winning and losing technologies and companies?

To the Davos crowd the answer is obvious, which is why much of the world is rebelling against their top-down, command-and-control regime. Their media has taken to “explaining” the revolt, but they rarely mention the strings. Among the “average” and “ordinary” people the media now purports to understand, there are many Gullivers whose productive and innovative energies could and should be unleashed. Strings are the source of Lilliputians’ status and power and they’ll never willingly sever them. Unfortunately, the world faces a plethora of pressing problems, and if the Gullivers aren’t freed soon, the bleak future the Lilliputians promise will assuredly come to pass.


TGP_photo 2 FB




The Choice, Part Three: One or the Other, by Robert Gore


This is part three of a three-part series. For part one, click here. For part two, click here.

I and members of my family are minority investors in Dr. Kelly’s majority-owned company, fouRy LLC, or 4Ry. I have performed and will continue to perform, various services for 4Ry, for which I may be compensated. The opinions and analyses are mine alone. This blog post is neither a solicitation of investment nor an offer to sell securities. 4Ry is a Delaware Limited Liability Corporation and its trademark application is pending.

The guillotine is the most effective and humane way to execute someone. It severs the head and brain from the body; it’s quick and foolproof. Would that society’s ongoing attack on its own brain were so quickly effectuated. There would be an almost instantaneous regression back to the mindless miasma with which so many are comfortable, and that would be that. Unfortunately, the execution of creativity, invention, innovation, enterprise, and logic is death by countless brain excisions—each deeper than the previous one.

Pick your candidate for what, singly or in combination, causes the collapse of present civilization: debt, war, pollution, moral rot, statism, or any of the other ills besetting the world. They all have their champions. Rarely if ever mentioned is the effort to stymie the best human minds. It’s not new, having gone on since humanity made the evolutionary leap. The malevolent and malicious recognize that if the mind is threatened, persecuted, and ultimately, stopped, disaster takes care of itself. Of course this is suicide. but that’s precisely what the malevolent and malicious are after (see “Life, or Death?” SLL).

Historically, the times when the best minds have had the freedom to flourish have been blinks of an eye compared to the eons when they have not. The progress and innovation we take for granted are orchids, growing only under a limited set of conditions, not impossible-to-eradicate weeds. The weeds are the doctrines that hold that people’s lives and minds are not their own, they are common property, which boils down to the property of whomever exercises coercive power at the moment. The battle for freedom is the enduring theme of history. As it has waxed and waned, human hardship and misery have waned and waxed.

I invested in 4Ry for the usual reasons one undertakes such an investment: to make money and further promising technologies. I’m also buying a front row seat for the ongoing battles: freedom versus repression; progress versus decay; happiness versus misery. How badly has the commercial, legal, and political environment deteriorated, and how much worse will it get? As I said in Part 2, “you don’t really know how things work until they’re tried out under real life conditions.” 4Ry offers a real life demonstration of how well innovation and entrepreneurship, the fonts of progress, are working, or not working, in today’s economy.

This may seem like an odd, irrational motivation for an investment, but look at the current financial universe. Like most people in my age group (I’m fifty-eight), I have to generate a return on my savings if I’m to provide for my impending dotage. Where does one go for return? Many bonds now carry negative nominal yields, and virtually every bond’s real yield is negative after one factors in inflation, taxes, and credit risk. Capitalization rates for commercial and residential property have followed bond yields, and offer correspondingly unappealing yields. When interest rates rise, investors will be handed capital losses to go with their tiny or negative yields. Equities, valued on either GAAP or phony-baloney adjusted earnings, are trading at valuations that historically have been followed by minimal or negative long-term returns.

Consider the foundations of my investment in 4Ry versus the foundations of investment in today’s crop of financial instruments. The sprayer and other ESD technologies have been developed and tested by the foremost expert in the field. Importantly, I’ve seen demonstrations and understand the theoretical basis for the technologies—although not all the engineering nuances—and their potential applications. I know and trust Dr. Kelly and David Bird. I have an ongoing role in the company and its business plans, and can pick up a phone and get answers to my questions. There are substantial business risks, but in my judgment the potential returns are commensurate.

The prices of stocks, bonds, and property are artificially propped up by governments’ and central banks’ something-for-nothing perpetual motion machinations that must inevitably fail. I have no way to cut through the PR screens maintained by managements to evaluate their ability and integrity. From what they do disclose in their reports to shareholders and the SEC, many companies are earning less and borrowing more, often to speculate in their own shares or fund overpriced acquisitions, egregious wastes of corporate assets.

I can’t follow or understand the many ways earnings are adjusted and manipulated through accounting maneuvers. As financial engineering and accounting gimmickry has flourished, investment in raising labor force and industrial productivity, innovation, and invention—the foundations of long-run growth—has dwindled. Although it is difficult, bordering on impossible, to investigate individual companies, there are thousands of mutual funds and ETFs that bundle together stocks of multiple companies. I’m assured by financial salespeople that investing in companies I know next to nothing about will build my wealth. There’s certainly nothing odd or irrational about that.

Investing in financial assets is an implicit bet on the health of the underlying economy. Our economy is a camel burdened by an ever-increasing load of regulations, taxes, cronyism, financial repression, and debt, awaiting its final straw. We’re a seasonal or inflation adjustment away from a recession by the officially cooked figures, which means we’re already in a recession. Given the overhang of debt that cannot be repaid and the inevitability of debt deflation, this recession will either kick off or herald the resumption of a depression. (I prefer the latter interpretation, but ultimately the statisticians and historians will decide.) Which brings up one last reason for my investment in 4Ry. What’s coming will be relentlessly deflationary, and Dr. Kelly’s technologies can cut costs significantly.

Invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship are the foundation of a functional economy. Among all the economic statistics, the most ominous is that net business formation has gone negative—more businesses are closing than opening. Undermine the foundation and the structure collapses. Stop the Dr. Kellys and David Birds of this world—the inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs—and it’s only a matter of time before the economy collapses. That could have a negative effect on the prices of stocks, bonds, and property, even if all the world’s central banks were to monetize debt full-time.

Grand designs to build new world orders from the rubble amount to grand fantasies. Stopping the mind stops logic and creation, and what will be left after the collapse is blind panic, irrationality, and terror. It’s one or the other: a world where the best minds have the freedom to create and thrive—and humanity benefits—or chaos, destruction, and death. The former requires a conscious choice and a relentless struggle against its foes. The latter requires only the failure to choose the former.



TGP_photo 2 FB