Friday, August 12, 2011

Geezepreneurs and the depression - we're not dead yet

America is a dog that's been beat too much.

Our publicly traded corporations can't get much pull from America's dwindling middle class. Their growth and future is abroad. The vast compensation of their executives will build higher walls around the estates of the new aristocracy.

Left Behind, we are the Detroit Windows 7 of nations.

So now what?

Now we need to climb out of of the ruins. Because we're not dead yet.

We could use some help. Roosevelt style investments in infrastructure and schools would be a good thing, but they are not enough and the Tea Party is too powerful to allow them.

So instead we need lots of small to medium privately held businesses [1]. It would be great if we could get something like a national small business generation service, but good-enough health insurance, an accelerated and expanded loan program for small businesses, reduction of the tax and accounting scams that favor large corporations [2], rationalizing regulatory frameworks and providing startup education programs would all help.

Who will start these businesses? The usual suspects - the young, the immigrants [3], the restless. They're not enough though. This time America needs geezer entrepreneurs - geezepreneurs. In a global economy where talent is plentiful and cheap, we have a surplus of the undead gray without hope of retirement. Might as well use 'em.

The forty plus set aren't going to do all nighters any more, but we have learned a lot about leading and managing people, and about how the world works. I admit, even as a geezer myself, I'm surprised by how productive 60+ software engineers are. Maybe it's selection bias -- perhaps by that age only the very best are still coding. Whatever, these guys are really good, even if they need flexible schedules to help their kids, grandkids, and parents.

Small business growth driven by geezer entrepreneurs and the underemployed young. It's different. Try it.


[1] In theory these measures are GOP friendly. Alas, that's confusing rhetoric with reality; to the extent that the modern GOP has any guiding philosophy it would be directing short term benefits to its voters, donors, and office holders. They are at least compatible with past GOP rhetoric, so that might help a bit.
[2] Removing those advantages from large corporations helps level a currently very uneven playing field. On the other hand, they will never surrender the fruits of their political investments. So, perhaps disguised as deficit reduction, we try for reduction rather than removal.
[3] Canada mitigated its social security problem largely by importing wealthy and/or highly educated citizens. I'm amazed this isn't talked about in the US.

Update 8/17/11: See also - Tillman and Phelps, National Bank of Innovation

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