The entrepreneurial society requires a new approach from political parties
Simon Bridge is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Ulster.
He’s written for us before about the change from an agricultural to a Fordist to an entrepreneurial society.
Simon has now given us more food for thought. This time he considers the change from a managerial to an entrepreneurial society. The change, he says, is quite profound—particularly for government policies that aim to create economic and jobs growth. The task is not to target favoured entrepreneurs but to target an entrepreneurial economy. This marks a significant shift in thinking.
To my mind the challenge is also to politics. In 1956, Galbraith suggested that economic management is about ‘big business’ balanced by ‘big labour’ and ‘big government’. That thinking still dominates how political parties approach their task. But the challenge is to reverse that thinking.
Take these simple Australian statistics:
• 2.1 million Australians are self-employed.
• 1.1 million don’t employ anyone, the other 1 million employ about 6 million people.
Of a work force of about 11.5 million more than 8 million are in small business.
• About 1.7 million work for government
• About 1.7 million are in medium and big business
If political parties are going to be serious about economic growth, then surely their thinking has to start from the individual, self-employed, small business perspective. The days of elitist ‘big’ handing down economic prescriptions to the ‘little people’ must eventually disappear.
Ken Phillips is the executive director of Independent Contractors of Australia and author of Independence and the Death of Employment.