Managerial skills and willingness to take risks in the production of goods and services


Altruism? Bah, Humbug, by Radley Balko, 22 Dec 2004
Contrasts the story of Aaron Feuerstein and Malden Mills with that of Jack Welch and General Electric to argue against activists that believe that corporations that put "altruism" before profits lead to better, more moral results
"... former General Electric CEO Jack Welch ... was considered by many to be the epitome of the ruthless, cold-hearted, profit-minded corporate executive. He laid off thousands of workers in his efforts to streamline and change the focus of the company. ... [He] turned GE from a sleepy home-appliance company into an international mega-corporation that today is a leader in several industries. For every job he slashed, he eventually created dozens of new ones. For all the praise heaped on Feuerstein and scorn heaped on Welch, it is Welch, not Feuerstein, whose 'cold-hearted,' capitalist management style did the most good for the most people."
Claiming Paine, by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason, Jul 2007
Review of the book Thomas Paine and the Promise of America by Harvey J. Kaye
"Both Edison and Carnegie made their mark in the commercial realm, but Kaye has little appreciation for entrepreneurship. Paine did. He was an inventor who patented a single-span iron bridge and a smokeless candle, and he was involved in the early development of steam engines. He was a businessman who failed many times and always tried again. He was a bridge builder, a freelance schoolteacher, a magazine editor, and a printer."
Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 6 Oct 2006
Comments on the September 2006 North American E. coli outbreak in spinach
"These sorts of investigations actually encourage the view that free enterprise is a source of danger and a health hazard rather than our source of service and health enhancement. After all, a century ago, people would have found it to be nothing short of a miracle that greens could survive a cross-country trek and land on your dining table in pretty much the same state as when they were picked."
Related Topics: Business, Free Market, Government
Entrepreneurship and Social Progress, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 20 Dec 2006
"Philanthropy and entrepreneurship, then, do not stem from opposite impulses, as is commonly thought. They originate from the same source: the intellectual and even spiritual commitment to serve others and make a difference in the world for the good. They are different means of doing the same thing, distinguished from each other only in the method we use to account for them."
Related Topic: Politicians
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"What do these cherished pleasures of American life have in common: cowboys, hamburgers, movies, oranges, bowling, frankfurters, tomatoes, swimming, pizza, libraries, peas, onions, railroads, potatoes, salsa, picnics, symphony orchestras, and Christmas trees? ... All these good things which now seem 100 percent American originated elsewhere or owe much to the enterprise of foreign-born people."
Jean-Baptiste Say (1767 - 1832), Religion & Liberty, Jun 2002
"... only the entrepreneur—or the 'master-agent,' as Say sometimes described him—can combine these factors to bring to market products that meet human needs and wants. ... He must be a forecaster, project appraiser, and risk-taker. ... the entrepreneur is the rare yet indispensable individual who actually makes the economy work."
Related Topics: France, Jean-Baptiste Say
On Equality and Inequality, by Ludwig von Mises, Modern Age, 1961
Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
"It is hardly possible to misconstrue more thoroughly the state of affairs prevailing in capitalistic society than by calling the capitalists and entrepreneurs a 'ruling' class intent upon 'exploiting' the masses of decent men. ... Under capitalism they are vying with one another in serving the masses of less gifted men."
Pleasing Consumers Isn't Easy, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Jan 2007
Comments on the challenges faced by high tech gadget entrepreneurs, before the release of the first Apple iPhone
"For an entrepreneur, it's a little like stumbling around in the dark. Particularly with cutting-edge hi-tech products, entrepreneurs can't always see the obstacles to success. ... That's where entrepreneurial risk comes in. The daring business people won't know what we consumers want until we are given the choice. Meanwhile, big bucks ride on our decisions."
Robert A. Heinlein's Soaring Spirit of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jul 1997
Biographical essay, including multiple quotes from fellow authors and significant excerpts from Heinlein's novels and stories
"In January 1940, Astounding Science-Fiction published 'Requiem.' The hero, an entrepreneur named Delos D. Harriman, recalling the nineteenth-century American railroad entrepreneur Edward Harriman, built a company that developed communities on the moon. He fights 'damn persnickety regulations' issued by a government bureaucracy which, because of his frail health, opposes his planned trip to the moon. But he goes anyway and dies happy."
Smoking Bans Are Dangerous to a Free Society's Health, by Thomas A. Firey, The Baltimore Sun, 6 Dec 2006
Argues against proposed legislation in the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland to ban smoking in restaurants and bars
"In fairness, some safety regulations do involve recognized risks, but few of them are outright bans. Coal mining, farming and commercial fishing are all extremely risky jobs and heavily regulated, yet there is no push to ban them. We respect the entrepreneurs' choice to own these businesses and the workers' choice to operate them. If smokers want to smoke in a bar, and an entrepreneur wants to provide that bar, and workers are willing to work there, why shouldn't we accept their choices?"
Related Topics: Health, Society
The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
Discusses how people may be interested in other people, events or things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
"But those who function at the level of people-interest ... do not see into the heart of their neighbor, who, by tireless effort, great personal restraint and long years of rigid self-discipline has brought a business into existence. They do not recognize his loss of freedom when he is set upon by agents, attacked in the press, brought to trial, ridiculed and smeared before his peers for some ex-post-facto failure, such as 'excessive' smoke emission."
The Challenge to the U.S. Postal Monopoly, 1839-1851 [PDF], by Kelly B. Olds, Cato Journal, 1995
Analysis of the operation of the U.S. Post Office in the 1840s, including estimates of subsidies to various groups, and discussion of the private competitors and the effects they had on the postal service
"The most successful private mail company was that of James W. Hale. Hale first worked for an express company on the Boston-New York route and formed his own post office about the same time as Spooner formed his. Hale, Spooner, and most other private mall carriers charged 6.25 cents per stamp or 20 stamps for $1.00. unlike the Post Office, which did not use stamps, private companies required payment of the sender. ... In January 1845, after a year in business, his company had grown to 84 post offices and had 260 employees (Boston Evening transcript, 10 January 1845)."
The Death of Politics, by Karl Hess, Playboy, Mar 1969
Discusses libertarianism, contrasting it with both conservatism and modern liberalism, including specific policy differences
"In a very poor neighborhood there may be many with the natural ability to open a retail store, but it is much less likely that these people would also have the ability to meet all the state and city regulations ... which very often comprise the marginal difference between going into business or staying out. In a real laissez-faire society, the local entrepreneur, with whom the neighbors might prefer to deal, could go openly into business ... He could forget about ledgers, forms and reports and simply get on with the business of business, rather than the business of bureaucracy."
The Economic Role of Saving and Capital Goods, by Ludwig von Mises, The Freeman, Aug 1963
Explains there is a third factor of production aside from nature's resouces and human labor, and also that entrepreneurial judgement is necessary to attain the desired end of production
"Mind—reason—is the most important equip­ment of man. ... Equally indispensable in the con­duct of affairs is the role played by the human mind. Entrepre­neurial judgment directs the toil of the workers and the employ­ment of the capital goods toward the ultimate end of production, the best possible removal of what causes people to feel discontented and unhappy."
Related Topics: Capital Goods, Technology, Wages
The Economics Lesson Obama Needs to Learn, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jul 2013
Explains economics in simple terms that even a statist politician ought to understand
"If a private entrepreneur acquires resources in a quest for profit, she must create value for consumers or she will fail. The market's profit-and-loss test will see to that. That test is administered by countless millions of consumers who are free to take or leave what the entrepreneur offers. This test is relayed back to the investors who ... must scrutinize projects in terms of their potential, ultimately, to please free consumers."
Related Topics: Economics, Government
The Economics of Errant Entrepreneurs, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Aug 1987
"The great economic virtue of capitalism lies in its ability to stimulate vigorous and imaginative entrepreneurs who create profitable enterprises ... not on any supposed altruism evinced by entrepreneurs who lose money while catering to the tastes of a too-narrow group of consumers ..."
The Economics of Here to There, by Jeffrey Tucker, Mises Daily, 17 Jan 2007
Discusses the necessity of product advertising, how more people are becoming aware that it is needed and why it is "tacky and unbearable"
"Imagine if you had a book or a tire or an air conditioner part to sell. That presents all sorts of new problems. You must produce something physical. How many? You must have a warehouse. How big? You must be prepared to process credit cards, do the accounts, meet a payroll. And you must do all of this, not after you have the revenue, but before! It all seems like a wild act of faith. It is indeed."
Related Topic: Capitalism
The Origin of Economic Theory: A Portrait of Richard Cantillon (1680-1734), by Mark Thornton, 3 Aug 2007
Examines the sections of Cantillon's Essai relating them to episodes in the author's life, then delving into several Austrian economics insights that can be found in the work
"The role of the entrepreneur is one of Cantillon's great contributions to economic understanding. He speaks of the entrepreneur in the classic sense of the undertaker of great business adventures, but Cantillon also has a theoretical distinction between those who work for a fixed return or wages and those who face uncertain returns, including farmers, independent craftsmen, merchants, and manufacturers. These entrepreneurs purchase inputs at a given price to produce and sell later at an uncertain price. In the pursuit of profit, the entrepreneur must bear risks as he faces the pervasive uncertainty of the market."
The Role of Venture Capital: Turning Science into Money, by Bill Frezza, MRS Bulletin, Aug 2002
"In general, venture capitalists look at hundreds of business plans for every one that they finance, so getting their attention is an exercise in itself. ... Start early and be prepared to be turned down many times before you get a nibble. Do your homework and understand the strategy and prior investments of a target venture capitalist before you make your approach."
The Yin Yang of Value Creation and Value Capture, by Bill Frezza, 18 May 2009
Contrasts collectivist vs. laissez-faire ideologues and their views on the relationship between value creation and capture
"A scientist can create enormous value by publishing a breakthrough paper even if he never captures a penny of it. ... A risk-taking entrepreneur can both create and capture value by bringing a new product or service to market, charging willing customers top dollar. Take away a shot at riches and the entrepreneur decamps to another clime."
Related Topic: Taxation
Wages, by Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949
Chapter 21 "Work and Wages", section 3; discusses labor, wages, how are wages determined and erroneus attacks on that explanation
"As with all other sectors of the market, the labor market is actuated by the entrepreneurs intent upon making profits. Each entrepreneur is eager to buy all the kinds of specific labor he needs for the realization of his plans at the cheapest price. But the wages he offers must be high enough to take the workers away from competing entrepreneurs."
Related Topics: Labor, Wages
What Makes Entrepreneurs Tick?, by Gary Williams, The Freeman, Oct 1994


Competition and Entrepreneurship
    by Israel Kirzner, 1978


Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs, by Cameron Herold, TED Talks, Mar 2010
Cameron recounts his own childhood entrepreneurial stories and encourages others to nurture the same spirit in children
Related Topic: Children
The Entrepreneur as a Hero, by Peter G. Klein, 6 Sep 2011
Video interview conducted by Mónica de Zelaya, Director of the Kirzner Entrepreneurship Center at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín