Entrepreneurialism flourishes where government gets out of the way


Britain's hard-pressed entrepreneurs will find much to agree with in this heart-felt polemic from American business guru Irwin Stelzer published in yesterday's Sunday Times.

Entrepreneurialism flourishes where government gets out of the way. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” is a sure laugh-getter.

Potential entrepreneurs are not going to take risks when they know that the profits of their risk-taking will be snatched from them by higher taxes or costly regulations. Brown has steadily increased the share of the nation’s wealth that he is claiming for the armies of civil servants whose mouth-watering pensions are the envy of the private sector.

Worse still, entrepreneurs work hard and take risks so that they not only can take home more money, but also spend it as they choose. Denied a choice of schools for their children, and of doctors and hospitals when they are ill, they have little incentive to put in the extra effort that would earn income that, in America, would increase their range of choices. And that might very well create income inequalities of a magnitude that the chancellor would surely find offensive.

. . . . the small enterprises that the chancellor is so eager to see flourish in Britain don’t have human- resources departments to study the latest workplace rules, or an army of accountants to determine whether the employment of the founder’s wife will bring down the wrath of Inland Revenue, perhaps retrospectively.

In sum, the chancellor has his sights set on America, and has indeed completed part of the journey towards its dynamic society. But he won’t get there unless he is willing to make some non-trivial mid-course corrections.

Sunday Times | The lesson from America: don't stifle entrepreneurs