Here’s an interesting article on the subject of “crazy entrepreneurs”. Though I agree with most of it, I strongly take issue with the simplistic approach enshrined in the following threadbare soundbite:
“Jobs are created by the private sector not by the public sector. Wealth is created by the private sector not by the public sector. [...]“
In truth, the situation is far more complex than this, as today’s news in the Guardian indicates:
Unpublished estimates of the impact of the biggest squeeze on public spending since the second world war show that the government is expecting between 500,000 and 600,000 jobs to go in the public sector and between 600,000 and 700,000 to disappear in the private sector by 2015.
The close relationship between public and private which New Labour’s period in government exemplifies gives at least a partial lie to the notions expressed by Google’s Eric Schmidt. Working in an intelligent partnership with those who know not only how to invent but also how to innovate, clever governments can do far more for a wider populace than the restricting matrix of venture capitalists and budding Edisons may ever hope to achieve. We need the brilliantly oddball, that is true – but we also need to be clear that what drives them most is not money but opportunity. And, on a 21st century planet where everyone’s fate is now clearly common, we can no longer take a granular approach to innovation. Every iPod which is manufactured and sold and serves to add value for Apple obviously has its downsides – downsides which end up affecting us all.
The innovators, like our physicians before them, need a moral framework and culture before we can allow them the freedoms that Schmidt is understandably arguing on behalf of. Otherwise, they will continue to create at the longer-term expense of future generations.
This is no longer justifiable.
This is no longer enough.
Freedom with responsibility. Even the crazy can understand that equation.