We primarily depend on the government or business to create jobs so we can earn a living to provide housing, transportation, medical care, education, entertainment and all that is needed for ourselves and those we love. We give away our money in taxes and hours of our life in working with the hope that government or business will provide for our needs. We may give up our freedom and neglect our families to serve government and business in return for the wages and benefits they promise.
Sometimes this system works. As it does, business tends to become greedy and rewards those at the top with a salary and bonus for top executives that may be 400-500 times the salary of the average worker. When government grows, it creates a larger bureaucracy with red tape and waste that dampens the spirit of enterprise and personal responsibility necessary to economic health.
When the system isn’t working, corporations and the banks that support them become fearful and hoard resources needed to create jobs. For their own survival, costs are cut back and jobs are lost. In lean times of great need, governments become overextended in attempting to care for citizens. Raising taxes and using credit hurts the very people government is attempting to rescue.
When we depend on corporations, we become consumers, addicted to the things we can buy. We fall into the trap of believing we need just a little more, the new improved product, or something it seems everyone else has. We build stuff so we can buy stuff, locked into the system as consumers. What we consume becomes our goal in life and what we own becomes our identity.
When we depend on government, we become clients. Over time we come to expect and take for granted the assistance that is offered. We learn to manage the system in order to receive what we need. A battle arises in negotiating our rights and benefits with those who make decisions about how government programs are administered.
The group of people that refuse to depend on corporations or government are entrepreneurs. They may seek the blessing or assistance of both government and business, but they depend more on their own effort to create what is needed for economic survival in this world. Few are able to take this route because it requires creativity, great determination, resistance against failure, a worthy product or service and an initial investment to get started.
Entrepreneurs take risks without the safety net of corporations or government to back them up. They tend to be fiercely independent and sometimes rough in their pioneer spirit. They are often willing to do “whatever it takes” to succeed and may lose friends or family in the process. Although figures vary, one conservative study showed that 34% of business start ups fail during the first 2 years and by the end of 4 years, 56% have failed. Of those remaining, some are still at a break even point.
Is there is a safer way to invest and build on our social relationships collectively rather than independently? Can we cooperate in a way that creates a livelihood for those who are connected for the common good? With a believe in abundance, there is enough profit to go around for everyone to share. If we realize that WE are not broke, then maybe we can find a way for many to prosper. Some are suffering financially, but the GNP of our country is sufficient for everyone to make a living if we can create ways to provide an opportunity that neither government or business is doing.
A responsibility we all share is to provide a ladder up for anyone ready to climb it. By creating jobs through our connections around community needs and resources, we can. Collaborating for the common good will strengthen our neighborhoods and families through economic development opportunities made available to everyone.