Entrepreneurs – unprotected species? |
Or the bane of the jealous bureaucrats?
Ask the Ministers of most the near bankrupt members of the European Community about the role of these mysterious elements in the fiscal system and they look sideways wondering how to handle it all. In near hysterically funny public debates, civil servants, bankers and politicians of all these countries strive to explain them away. The conclusion, in each musical chair of meaningless arguments and in every case I could bear to listen to it was agreed among them solemnly that entrepreneurs were not altogether normal - fair enough – but that they were intrinsically mad (I assume, they meant eccentric) in respect of their perverse inclination to pursue risky ventures hit a bit below the belt. “Activities” they continued to ponder, “which most economists would not recommend!” In essence, as far as this modern crowd is concerned, entrepreneurs were a hit and miss affair who sometimes struck lucky and created jobs. The general impression that I got therefore, was that as an advisory exercise, all these screen time seekers were like accountants - garbling mincing machines which depend on what is put in to determine roughly what is going to come out.
Heads in Sand.
With unemployment figures, in some of these countries, close to meltdown, it is a curious indictment of why there is no way forward. Someone, it seems, has built the house without an entrance door.
But how on earth can something as basic as good quality pioneers of industry disappear in one generation when they sprung from the fertile soil of rampant opportunities and high level competition only a couple of decades ago ? The swing of the sixties and seventies – the abundance of ever growing new channels of The Build Up to this generation of very mediocre political expression attached to an equally senseless banking axis, has done much to exterminate the small and medium sized employers. These two elements have always been the nesting grounds of the hard hitting, innovative and successful wealth creators. Yet they were targetted and suprisingly undermined to the point of extinction.
No Lessons Learnt.
Despite the examples underlined by the great western economies and the oft brandished “nation of shopkeepers” that kept Britain in credit for generations, little has been learnt - Why ? The answer lies in the stifling and increasing influence of the the bureaucracy, fuelled by European dreams, over politicians who have become so dependent on its services to the point of even asking for prepared speeches and tailor made facts and figures. With new, unprepared fresh blood fed into the party lines the survival instincts of the bureaucrats in member states and EEC corridors have been revitalized with increasing taxation mopping up the costs. One could say that bureaucracy has grown in inverse proportion to the levels of intelligence of the latter. The deadly Triad of politicians, bankers and top level bureaucrats would see to it that the impudent middle classes inimical to this "crypto Marxism" betrayed by their behaviour, would reduce the number of classes to executive and labour. The law of apathy, applies its own levels and present day power structures show that the demise of the middle classes and their entrepreneurial allies, have raised the alarm. Bureaucratic treatment of the ebullient and ever hopeful wealth creators displays envy of the images that the successful businessmen create in the popular and glossy press - an envy which any struggling investor trying desperately to keep his staff employed knows only too well as the increasing pressure of the fiscal system demolishes all hope. That there is a marked difference of approach to life and social needs, between the wealth creators and government employees, there is no doubt, but wealth creators are not spoiled for security like the civil servants who in turn speak and act as if they were a privileged class - which indeed they are. The question often comes to mind, whether these over abundant members of such an unproductive class, are not trying to dismiss the middles as non essential members of a programmed society. Whatever may be happening, the results are painfully obvious as government employment literally eats up the contents of every new coffer created for the purpose. In some European country where the middle classes have almost disappeared, these employees can touch 60% of the nationally employed and most are involved - in tax collection- as socially beneficial sectors cut back to accommodate them.
Where challenge provides needs in private hands, the politicians with subsidies, indirect banking support for their schemes and party needs, often manipulate imagery aimed at stock exchange results for their supportive high level industries. In many European States, national monopolies offer corruption tainted opportunities for their allies and families – not to mention personal rewards the likes of which very few entrepreneurs are likely to see in the first ten years of their exploits. Politicians of the highest levels ply for top jobs in these as soon as they break their public ties. In fact, in some of these countries, the level of corruption and sacking of public coffers can be seen in the incredible number of ex politicians in the executive hierarchy.
New Times and Old Tricks.
Hitherto, monopolies have always been the subject of investigation of the monopolies commissions and other unwritten codes of conduct that appear to heave gone with the wind. Company within company and offshore holdings see to it that in some countries up to 70%, at least, of a whole market can be manipulated by a single entity. Undercover inflation becomes a hidden factor as basic necessities are avoided even as the consumer bills double up in a few short years. Why this appears to go unnoticed, is because the ever ready eager to please bureaucrats are all to happy to formulate those confusing and ultimately false figures made to order. They touch the obvious but never the underlying unseen, factors. Ultimately, left with no alternative, as a result of robbing Peter to pay Paul, the energy circus comes into play as indirect taxes are plied on to camouflage increasing costs based on those ridiculous stock exchange antics which came into play when they went public. Most Europeans today pay up to 30% of their hard earned, poverty line incomes to pay the millionaire salaries of the executives of these shameless controllers of public basic needs. They have now become part of oppressive government systems hand in hand with the behind-the-scenes ” laissez faire” fiscal privileges doled out to others in attempts to counter balance the macabre results. What it means essentially that rather than face hunger riots, Governments keep some prices down with payments from the public purse whilst allowing others (presently energy) to double their prices over a short period with indirect and illegal additions which treble the cost of consumption.
In countries with incredibly high unemployment caused by the demise of the middle classes, this type of fiscal and consumer pressure is, to say the least, criminal. It also proves to serve little or no purpose in a welfare state already under such cruel pressure. What begs the question, is why modern politicians in so called evolved countries, cannot see this far ?
Entrepreneurs who down their tools are often perplexed as to why they avoid investment in personnel. Faced with such an unlikely environment as bureaucratic fumblings, licence payments, long delays and ambiguous measures,they recoil after the first sting. Cash flow which had the friendly banker over all those decades close at hand suddenly becomes a deterrent. in the absence of traditional banking facilities it turns the whole process of employment and growth into a nightmare. As a result at the first unlikely clash with unions and their labour chambers, there is an increasing tendency to close down and never to employ again. The new approach to investment clearly shows the fear of complications when evaluating a project and a quick in and out with a capital gain is probably no further than they are prepared to go.
Entrepreneurs instinctively share the blatant mutual disgust with politicians and bureaucrats who stifle the excitement of growth and crush the early shoots that show the promise of the milliards of jobs that often ensued. Depressive paperwork brings the State into the heart of the business, whilst contributing nothing except demands on time and profits as first beneficiaries even if these are not there to provide.The first fiscal declaration and advisory bills were often enough to cause a shutdown of promising businesses in many European State as tough investors realized that they were in partnership with the State itself with profits securely in the hands of the latter. Vat, the most despicable of all taxes, like a dragnet, involves the business community in its collection and handover despite decreasing the capacity to negotiate prices or create a competitive margin. As a result, it has broken down many a business having to work against the tendency on the part of competitors who break the rules. This alone, often kills the desire to continue with the hard, but enjoyable task each project creator in the labour market feels at the onset. It is difficult under the socialistic and mistaken ideologies that have crept into the worst of the sinning countries to envisage any form of growth in this respect whilst the giant, arrogant bureaucracy that grew in them remains in place. All attempts at cutbacks in these sectors have failed to even dent the excessive costs. In some, these have even increased to the point of union threats against any attempts to reduce it. As a result,civil service employees are the only real union backers and by far the most destructive. They represent an unmistakeable face of Crypto Marxism which the average political weaklings are loathe to tackle.
Reality however will have to take its course and public conflict of a serious nature is not so far away if for example, Europe is to survive.
However much effort comes in from subsequently more enlightened and clearer minded governments, only the painful dismantling of the elaborate, hugely expensive and generally wasteful hierarchy of the civil service can bring the entrepreneur back. North America is a show case where the innovation investment culture is admired and full banking facilities are demanded by canny governments.
The entrepreneur is an economic artist and this capability to drive nations into the frontline of economic growth is behind most of the enterprises that later take wing or inspire others to do so. The pioneering spirit which inexplicably surges in some societies unpredictably is a fragile element which requires full government and banking support as it did in the heyday of the 7O´s in Northern Europe. It needs a license to grow with all the benefits that can be bestowed on it before it can take root in the present sterility of today´s economic conditions. Just looking back at the days of great growth with a typical unsecured overdraft that was flexible and inexpensive, it is not difficult to see just how many new industries and innovative products created employment to the point of having to import labour in the Northern countries. The bank manager was a member of the team and long chats over lunch and at home provided that essential element that provided all the encouragement needed. It was only when the banking world discovered the taste of the lucrative risk factor within the stock market and meddled in the world of company launches, stock portfolios and mergers that the entrepreneur ceased to become useful to them. Today that alleyway that has ridden roughshod over enshrined principles like share pushing and dumping has broken every rule and many banking systems where computer mechanics have taken over from sensible deliberation, faced the horror of overnight collapse. Unfortunately, as always, the defenseless, small investor became the real victims.
Communist principles at work.
Whoever or whatever political leaning considered that employment in the public sector and state nurturing of giant monopolies was the answer to employment did not take into account the way it has driven the small and medium sized businesses to the wall. They probably knew it well enough, but ignored the fact that this deadly cocktail was but a platform for the ever ready state monopolies to create slave employment overseas whilst limiting expansion at home where taxes were discouraging. These "Queen Bee" measures enjoyed extreme socialist support under the shallow misunderstanding that employment could be enshrined within the state and create a veritable army of citizens ready to block any political move in the direction of free enterprise and personal wealth. It is not surprising therefore that corruption crept in so effectively with industrialists eager to keep the left from interfering unnecessarily in their employment commitments (union backhanders and family posts).
In many European countries the lifestyles and income levels of union executives reflect what they do not teach, if spreading wealth among their class is anything to go by.
In countries where educational standards were not able to create politicians and functional institutions with the capabilities of fully assimilating complex issues associated with critical economic factors. As a result, the move to manufacture cheaply abroad and make their profits there, defied all local industries with the subsequent increase in unemployment. Yet legislation did not prevent it for the same corrupt reasons previously underlined. Additionally, the extra weight of cheap products with built in obsolescence took a heavy toll on consumer spending and savings which sparked off the throwaway society and predictable impoverishing results.
Quality European products were copied and mass produced in China and not only damaged the very industries of the EEC, but set back the concept of consumer protection by decades. Some countries did not even apply them or sign the treaties associated with them. The surprising thing was that the Union had been set up in the first place to encourage inter member trade which in the main did not happen. Brexit was just one of the results.
European goods have stood side by side with cheap dangerous copies under any unknown name and often pretending to be the real thing. Eventually the original product would disappear from the shelves and the copies proclaiming the same benefits.Such disloyal practices have gone unheeded despite the cost to some of the major, high quality manufacturers harmed by the practice. Had it been a positive gain to the consumer, it could perhaps have been tolerated in moderation, but it was and still is tantamount to costing the end consumer much more in the end.
In short, where industry, employment, innovative talent and economic growth are concerned, much of the blame for the present ridiculous state of affairs can be blamed on lack of controls and foresight. Indeed, the run away expensive exercise that has put such opportunities and wealth in political hands may well have destroyed any vestige of credibility of the European dream on the part of the stricken entrepreneur whose right to that support is still being questioned.
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