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

Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is often initially a small business. The people who create these businesses are called entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship has been described as the "capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit".


The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
Discusses how people may be interested in other people, in events or in material things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
[T]hose 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 ... for some ex-post-facto failure, such as "excessive" smoke emission ... What was his crime? Providing a good that people voluntarily purchased and, in process, keeping the cost within reason so his customers could benefit ...
Altruism? Bah, Humbug, by Radley Balko, Apple Daily, 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
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 ..., it is Welch ... whose "cold-hearted," capitalist management style did the most good for the most people.
Related Topics: Capitalism, Isabel Paterson
A-Scalping We van Gogh, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Feb 1999
Explains the economics concepts of opportunity cost, money, prices and entrepreneurship, based on analysis of scalping of "free" tickets for a Van Gogh exhibit at the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery ... gave away about 2,000 tickets each day ... By giving the tickets away, [it] favored people with lots of time to wait (low opportunity costs) against those with little spare time ... In the spirit of free enterprise, the scalpers gave the second group a shot at otherwise unobtainable tickets. Their profit was the money minus the value of the time they invested waiting for tickets and any other expenses. To criticize scalpers is to say that people who can't afford to wait in line are less worthy of enjoying van Gogh than those who can't afford to pay cash.
Bastiat on the Socialization of Wealth, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 2014
Explains what Bastiat meant when saying that real wealth is constantly passing from the realm of (private) property to that of the "communal domain" (communauté, or community in the original French)
What makes [the "marvelous social phenomenon"] actually happen? Competition, of course. If one producer attempted to charge the older, higher price—if he tried to capture the returns to what Bastiat called "the contribution made by Nature"—he would be inviting competitors to undersell him (unless government privileges, such as licensing or "intellectual property" blocked competition). Rivals would be able to undersell because a lower price would still recover the costs of the human effort involved in production. Competitive entrepreneurship drives prices down toward costs.
Benjamin Franklin: The Man Who Invented the American Dream, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Apr 1997
Lengthy biographical essay, including a section on the posthumous publication and reaction to Franklin's Autobiography
Franklin's Autobiography was a hit in Japan, where [several] thinkers promoted his principles, which inspired entrepreneurs ... The Autobiography inspired Thomas Mellon to leave his farm for business; he became a banker and made his family fortune. "I regard the reading of Franklin's Autobiography as the turning point of my life," he wrote. "Here was Franklin, poorer than myself, who by industry, thrift and frugality had become learned and wise, and elevated to wealth and fame." ... [Franklin] nurtured an entrepreneurial culture which creates opportunity and hope through peaceful cooperation.
The Brilliance of Turgot, by Murray N. Rothbard, Apr 1986
Biography and review of Turgot's major writings; introduction to The Turgot Collection (2011), edited by David Gordon
Turgot's capitalist was a capitalist-entrepreneur. He not only advanced savings to workers and other factors of production, but he also, as Cantillon had first pointed out, bore the risks of uncertainty of the market. Cantillon's theory of the entrepreneur as a pervasive risk-bearer facing uncertainty, thereby equilibrating market conditions, had lacked one key element: an analysis of capital and the realization that the major driving force of the market economy is not just any entrepreneur but the capitalist-entrepreneur, the man who combines both functions.
Carl Menger: The Founder of the Austrian School, by Joseph Salerno
Biographical and bibliographical essay, discussing his life and work and delving into various aspects of Austrian economic theory as presented by Menger
[For] Menger, the entrepreneur's most important function is anticipating future wants, estimating their relative importance, and acquiring the technological knowledge and knowledge of currently available means. In the absence of such entrepreneurial foresight and knowledge, there could be no imputing of value from satisfactions to higher-order goods, and rational resource allocation would be impossible ... Entrepreneurial activity comprises a number of additional functions ... These include "economic calculation," involving the various computations needed to ensure the technical efficiency of the production process ...
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, governing everything from cleanliness to bookkeeping, 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 ...
Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 6 Oct 2006
Comments on the September 2006 North American E. coli outbreak in spinach, the reaction by merchants and intervention by government agencies
Once it became clear that Natural Selection of Northern California was the culprit, distributors started making contracts with Southern California and Canadian companies ... Then ... the FBI got involved ... 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 ... [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.
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 (scarcity, the marketplace, entrepreneurship) in simple terms and contrasts government projects and "services" to those undertaken or provided subject to the market test of the consumers
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 lend money to entrepreneurs for productive ventures. They know that if the entrepreneur fails, they will also suffer losses. So they must scrutinize projects in terms of their potential, ultimately, to please free consumers.
The Economics of Errant Entrepreneurs, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Aug 1987
Discusses whether entrepreneurial error, that is, unsuccessful, unprofitable entrepreneurs provide some benefits to society, compared to the benefits derived from successful ones
If an entrepreneur hires productive services for one million dollars and produces consumer goods that are bought for two million dollars, ... services that might otherwise have produced goods judged to be worth not much more than one million have, in fact, produced goods that are much more valuable to market participants, as measured by money offered. An unprofitable venture, on the other hand, has harmed society insofar as it is likely to mean that it has used valuable, scarce social resources to produce goods worth less than other goods that could have been alternatively produced.
Related Topics: Capitalism, Montana
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"
[A]verage people are beginning to see the great hidden cost of capitalist production: getting from here to there ... [N]ote that with blogging, the problem of distribution is already solved ... 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.
Entrepreneurship and Social Progress, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 20 Dec 2006
Discusses the two usage senses of entrepreneurship, the attributes of an entrepreneur in the "more narrow and heroic sense" and contrasts politicians with entrepreneurs
Consider what it would mean to put a stop to the innovative society. It would mean the end of creative thought as applied to our economic lives. Above all, it would mean eliminating an important aspect of what makes us human, namely the entrepreneurial drive ... [In] a sense ... every human is an entrepreneur, from the time we first seek to make choices and pursue goals ... [In] a more narrow and more heroic sense ... [it] refers to those who make speculative judgments in a capitalistic economy, risking their own resources to bring us goods, services, and techniques that we have never known before.
Related Topics: Capitalism, Free Market, Politics
Frank A. Fetter: A Forgotten Giant, by Jeffrey Herbener, 16 Aug 2000
Biographical and bibliographical essay
Fetter recognized the importance of the "enterpriser" as the organizer of the division of labor. The enterpriser's main skill was "judgment", which referred to accurate predictions about future events ... The enterpriser is "the specialized risk-taker, he is the spring or buffer, which takes up and distributes the strain of industry" and his "profits are due not to risks, but to superior skill in taking risks. They are not subtracted from the gains of labor but are earned, in the same sense in which the wages of skilled labor are earned."
Government Failure, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 5 Oct 2007
Examines the validity of the concept of "market failures" as an argument for government intervention, reviewing arguments made by David Friedman in the article "Do We Need Government?", Liberty, Dec 2005
[I]n a genuinely free market void of privilege [if] scarce resources are not being used in ways consumers would most prefer if they knew what they were missing[, the] entrepreneur rights things in this regard. Profit is his reward. The lure of profit is the incentive to discover how to better serve consumers ... Friedman writes "If the result of individuals acting rationally in their own interest is to make them worse off than if they acted in some other way, it follows that an entrepreneur who could somehow move them to the better outcome would produce a net benefit—some of which, with luck, he could pocket ..."
Henry Grady Weaver's Classic Vision of Freedom, by John Hood, The Freeman, Aug 1997
Expanded version of Hood's introduction to the 1997 edition of Weaver's The Mainspring of Human Progress; discusses the changing attitudes towards business during the second half of the 20th century
Writing about great American entrepreneurs such as Eli Whitney (the father not only of the cotton gin, but of much of mass production itself), John Deere, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford, Weaver pointed out that their contributions to American society were far in excess of that of many political or military leaders better known to the public. Indeed, even early American political heroes such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine were important inventors and entrepreneurs in their own right.
Historian Paul Johnson on American Liberty, by Paul Johnson, The Freeman, Jun 1996
Topics discussed include religious freedom, abolishing slavery, the impact of immigration, the Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution, individualism, reining in government and the prospects for liberty in America
America is unique in being a large country where anyone who has an idea can try it out and encounter the fewest obstacles from government and society. This is still true despite the explosion of government regulations during the twentieth century. Entrepreneurs from overseas recognize the comparatively favorable business climate right away ... after the [Second World] war ... many wartime bureaucracies were dismantled. There was some breathing room for entrepreneurs, and they created the postwar boom which opened new markets, developed new technologies, and in many ways helped renew the spirit of individualism.
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
20. 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.
Israel M. Kirzner and the Austrian Theory of Competition and Entrepreneurship, by Richard Ebeling, Freedom Daily, Aug 2001
Written on occasion of Kirzner's academic retirement at age 71; begins with biographical summary and then focuses on Kirzner's understanding of entrepreneurs in the market "process" and the detrimental effects of government intervention in the market
What guides entrepreneurs in this task is the anticipation of profits—revenues in excess of the expenses to bring goods to market—and the avoidance of losses. But one of the insights that Kirzner has highlighted is that while entrepreneurship is crucial to the workings of the market, it cannot be bought and sold like other goods or resources ... The reason is that the essence of entrepreneurial activity is "alertness," an attention to scanning the market horizon for opportunities and innovations that can result in making better goods, or new goods, or bringing less-expensively manufactured goods to the market place.
James Buchanan's Subjectivist Economics, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Apr 2013
Reviews Buchanan's writings in What Should Economists Do? (1979), a collection of several of his essays
When people act in the market, they are not merely trying to maximize utility, that is, optimally allocate their known resources to a predefined set of ends. Rather, they are entrepreneurs ... [W]hen we make decisions about an uncertain future, we are speculative, risk-taking entrepreneurs who face the prospect, not only of spontaneously discovering means, but also of spontaneously discovering ends we never imagined were there. Serendipity happens! This possibility of dispelling what Israel Kirzner calls "utter ignorance" is not captured in the utility-maximizing model.
Jean-Baptiste Say (1767 - 1832), Religion & Liberty, Jun 2002
Highlights Say's contributions on entrepreneurship, his troubles and later vindication in France, and his influence on Jefferson and Madison
Say was certain that the entrepreneur was 'necessary for the setting in motion of every class of industry whatever; that is to say, the application of acquired knowledge to the creation of a product for human consumption.' ... 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. Further, an entrepreneur 'requires a combination of moral qualities,' such as 'judgement, perseverance, and a knowledge of the world, as well as of business.' He must be a forecaster, project appraiser, and risk-taker.
Related Topics: France, Jean-Baptiste Say
Jean-Baptiste Say: Neglected Champion of Laissez-Faire, by Larry J. Sechrest, 15 Jul 2000
Biographical and bibliographical essay, discussing Say's life, methodology and his writings on money, banking, the law of markets, entrepreneurship, capital, interest, value, utility, taxes and the state
[Entrepreneurs] use their "industry" ... to organize and direct the factors of production so as to achieve the "satisfaction of human wants." But they are not merely managers. They are forecasters, project appraisers, and risk-takers as well. Out of their own financial capital, or that borrowed from someone else, they advance funds to the owners of labor, natural resources ("land"), and machinery ("tools"). These payments, or "rents," are recouped only if the entrepreneurs succeed in selling the product to consumers. Entrepreneurial success is ... also essential to the society as a whole.
Kirzner, Israel M. (1930-), by Brian Doherty, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
Much of his writing concerned the role of the entrepreneur, whom Kirzner noted was not simply a businessman, but any person trying to make the world conform to his hopes and expectations. Humans try to discover opportunities for profit, those areas where people have not yet come to realize they can buy low and sell high. New opportunities for entrepreneurs to profit by their alertness to things others have not noticed always arise. ... The entrepreneurial role is to be alert to the relevant bit of information that will satisfy others' needs better and move toward equilibrating everyone's plans and expectations.
The lessons of Indonesia, by Thomas Sowell, 22 May 1998
Highlights the plight of Chinese minorities in the 1998 Indonesian riots (that led to the fall of Suharto) and blames both Suharto's regime and the IMF bailout for the economic crisis leading to the riots
... the Chinese, who are just 5 percent of the population of Indonesia own an estimated 80 percent of the capital of the country. ... People from India once had a similar predominance in the businesses of much of East Africa ... because they created them. So did the Jews in prewar Poland, the Germans in southern Brazil, the Ibos in northern Nigeria, the Italians in Buenos Aires, the Lebanese in West Africa ... and on and on. If we want to understand why the majority populations of these various places did not have the same entrepreneurship as these minorities, then we can talk about history and culture.
Related Topic: Indonesia
Letters to Mr. Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1820
Full title: Lettres à M. Malthus, sur différens sujets d'économie politique, notamment sur les causes de la stagnation générale du commerce
Series of five letters from Say to Malthus, written in response to the latter's criticisms in Principles of Political Economy (1820); the letters were translated from the French by John Richter
The profit of the [entrepreneur] on whose account this operation has been effected, deducting the interest of the capital which he may have employed, represents the remuneration for his time and talents; that is to say, his own productive services employed in his own behalf. If his abilities be great, and his calculations well made, his profit will be considerable. If instead of talent he evinces inexperience in his affairs, he may gain nothing; he may very probably be a loser. All the risks attach to [him]; but on the other hand he takes the advantage of all the favourable chances.
The Nature and Significance of Economic Education, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Oct 1998
Revised version of lecture given 19 March 1998; explains why economic education of both the general public and legislators is needed and why a teacher, such as Mises, must remain scientifically detached even if passionate about the teaching goals
From the subjective perspective, however, it becomes possible (if not indeed imperative) to recognize the market process as involving processes of mutual discovery (to use a Hayekian phrase) on the part of market participants. It becomes possible to recognize scope for superior entrepreneurial vision into the future, and for the consequence that such vision can be expected continually to shake up existing patterns of production and of market exchange (in directions inspired by more accurate or, at least, more up-to-date assessments of the underlying realities).
Objectivist Ethics in the Information-Age Economy, by Nathaniel Branden, Navigator, Feb 2001
After reviewing human progress, from hunter to farmer to laborer to thinker, argues that what he calls "Objectivist ethics" are more relevant to current society
In the last two decades there has been an explosion of entrepreneurship, almost entirely in small- and medium-sized businesses. They led the way in showing the path big business must follow if it is to remain competitive. While many companies are still struggling with the problem of balancing traditional administrative management on the one hand and entrepreneurial management on the other—the first focused on protecting and nurturing what already exists, the second on making it obsolete—it is now increasingly obvious that entrepreneurship cannot be the prerogative of small or new business.
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. All their thoughts aim at perfecting the methods of supplying the consumers ... What has multiplied the "productivity of labor" is not some degree of effort on the part of manual workers, the accumulation of capital by the savers and its reasonable employment by the entrepreneurs.
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 ..., but [he] 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.
Perfect Competition and the Transformation of Economics by Frank M. Machovec [PDF], by John B. Egger, Cato Journal, 1995
Review of the subject book, which argues that economics "embracing of perfect competition", over rivalrous competition, was a scientific revolution (as per Thomas Kuhn), but that led the profession down the wrong path
Lacking the rivalrous-process competition of the classical economists and Austrians that provides the analytical structure for understanding and appreciating entrepreneurship, they also undervalued the institutions required for its implementation. These include the recognition that since entrepreneurship is costless yet can create immense value, gargantuan rewards stemming from little or no effort are not necessarily undeserved (p. 84). Citing writers as diverse as Dostoyevsky and Mises, Machovec concludes that 'entrepreneurship and the process of a private-enterprise market are inseparable phenomena' (p. 94).
Pleasing Consumers Isn't Easy, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 12 Jan 2007
Comments on the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, in particular those selling "high-tech gadgets", shortly after Steve Jobs announced the first Apple iPhone
No, entrepreneurs can't rely purely on surveys and contrived situations. They have to find out the hard way. They have to take risks, invest money, and bring products to market, where we flighty, unpredictable, merciless consumers get to put thumbs up or down ... 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.
Related Topics: Technology, Walter E. Williams
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.
Rock and Roll Entrepreneur: Frank Zappa's true legacy., by Nick Gillespie, Reason, Apr 2005
Discusses Zappa's life, based on Barry Miles' book Zappa (2004) and comparing Zappa to Herman Melville in their attitude towards their audiences
Zappa fared much better, in part because of one final kink in his life: Though he railed against consumer culture in a glib, rock-star way, he was from the beginning a sharp businessman who knew that controlling the means of reproduction–including running his own record labels and retaining control of his copyrights–was central to his aesthetic and economic independence. In the '80s, he was able to sell his back catalog for $22 million, a tidy sum that made him rich even as it helped to bankrupt the purchaser, Rykodisc. The rock star as entrepreneur: That may be Frank Zappa's most interesting legacy?
Related Topic: Freedom of Speech
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.
Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand: Three Women Who Inspired the Modern Libertarian Movement, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, May 1996
Triple biographical essay on the women who in 1943 published The Discovery of Freedom, The God of the Machine and The Fountainhead
Paterson celebrated private entrepreneurs, who are the primary source of human progress. For instance: "Everything that was the creation of private enterprise in the railways gave satisfaction. Private enterprise mined, smelted, and forged the iron, invented the steam engine, devised surveying instruments, produced and accumulated the capital, organized the effort. In the building and operation of the railways, whatever lay in the realm of private enterprise was done with competence. ... What people hated was the monopoly. The monopoly, and nothing else, was the political contribution."
Schumpeter, Joseph (1883-1950), by Thomas M. Humphrey, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical essay
Profits (supplemented perhaps with a desire to create a business dynasty) motivate entrepreneurs, who, financed by bank credit, innovate new goods, new technologies, and new methods of management and organization. These innovations fuel growth and generate cycles. Why cycles? Schumpeter maintained that they start with a mass of potential innovations seeking to override the forces of habit ... When the first successful entrepreneur overcomes the stubborn resistance of incumbent interests and eases the path for other entrepreneurs, the ensuing wave of innovation boosts aggregate investment spending.
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
Proponents justify a ban by arguing that secondhand smoke is a health risk ... 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
Tax Cuts Are Unfair? It Just Ain't So!, by David Kelley, The Freeman, Jul 1999
Discusses Republican proposals for a 10% cut in income-tax rates, countering arguments made by opponents
Each of us is an entrepreneur in his own life, with the capacityy—and the responsibility—to find ways of acquiring money through trade, each in accordance with his talents and preferences. Each of us is an active agent, constantly making choices about how to exploit the opportunities we have—and how to create new opportunities for ourselves. And over time, virtually everyone increases the income he can earn as he acquires experience, training, knowledge, contacts, savings, and other productive assets.
Related Topics: Ayn Rand, Taxation
The Undiscountable Professor Kirzner, by Roger W. Garrison, The Freeman, Aug 1997
Review of Kirzner's 1996 Essays on Capital and Interest, a collection of three previously published essays
If interest is to be understood in terms of time preferences, capital is to be understood in terms of multiperiod plans. An Austrian subjectivist perspective on capital features the plans of individual entrepreneurs—plans that are subject to revision as the attempts to carry them out reveal conflicts with reality and with the unfolding plans of other entrepreneurs. ... the process that Professor Kirzner elucidates, the ongoing attempts on the part of many entrepreneurs to carry out their individual multiperiod plans (as guided by market rates of interest or as misguided by the central bank's rate of interest) ...
Vouchers or School Choice?, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Nov 2007
Examines the vote in Utah that refused ratification of a bill on school vouchers, and explains how only entrepreneurs, free from government interference, can provide real choice and innovation in education
The point is to free the system from the dead hand of bureaucracy so that innovation can flourish. That can happen only in an entrepreneurial setting. But entrepreneurship requires freedom for both buyers and sellers. Government must not be allowed to interfere in transactions ... Great ideas are often the result of trial and error, and entrepreneurship consists in the profit-driven effort to discover how to satisfy consumers. When the government dominates education, entrepreneurship is all but ruled out. The demand for alternative schools is suppressed when government provides apparently free schools.
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
Who Is Garet Garrett?, by Jeffrey Tucker, Mises Daily, 25 Oct 2007
Biographical and bibliographical essay, including both his novels and non-fiction writing
[The Driver] is brilliant and thrilling, one that provides an excellent lesson in how entrepreneurship works. Writes Edward Younkins, "Not only is The Driver a novel of high finance and Wall Street methods, it also paints a portrait of an efficacious and visionary man who uses reason to focus his enthusiasm on reality in his efforts to attain his goals." ... In the course of [The Cinder Buggy], the reader discovers ... how risk and entrepreneurship are at the very heart of it all ... [I]t is hard to imagine that anyone can come away with anything but love for the whole subject of enterprise.
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
There are countless ways to create value. All must ultimately pass muster in the-eyes-of-the-beholder if they are meant to enter the economy as objects of exchange ... 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 Topics: Capitalism, Politics, Taxation


Claiming Paine: The contested legacy of the most controversial founding father, by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason, Jul 2007
Review of the book Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (2006) by Harvey J. Kaye
[T]o skip over what Carnegie and Edison loved in Paine—... his resourcefulness, his rationalism ...—is to miss an important aspect of the revolutionary's thinking. 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.


The Kirznerian Way: An Interview with Israel M. Kirzner, by Israel Kirzner, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1997
Topics discussed include Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian School, equilibrium, entrepreneurship, capital, business cycle theory, time preference, Hayek, Lachmann and Rothbard
KIRZNER: ... Very often people object. "You say entrepreneurship is coordinating, but surely an entrepreneur who discovers new ways of doing things is putting people out of work and disrupting people's expectations." Yes, he is, but in a more fundamental sense, he is correcting an already existing discoordination. He is redirecting resources that are already misplaced. People do not have to go on for years and years behaving in ways that are socially inefficient. The person who abruptly draws their attention to this inefficiency is assisting in the process of economic coordination.
Libertarian Profile: Richard Maybury, by Richard Maybury, Jim Elwood, Freedom Network News, 2003
Topics discussed include: how Maybury became a libertarian, his "Uncle Eric" books and homeschooling, the "packaging" needed to sell liberty and his Early Warning Report investment newsletter
Maybury: ... One day my wife pointed out that if I abandoned the missionary model and switched to the entrepreneur model, I might get better results ... For me, the entrepreneur model has been far more effective–and lucrative ... I am convinced there is no product more valuable, or profitable, than liberty ... As an entrepreneur, I am interested in what works. It has been my experience that, as an outreach tool, libertarianism doesn't work, and the two laws do. At least, that's what our company's monthly P & L statement tells us, which means that's what the market tells us.
The Peters Principles: An Interview with Tom Peters: The management guru as playground director, provocateur, and passionate defender of open societies., by Tom Peters, Virginia Postrel, Reason, Oct 1997
Topics discussed include: Peters' public persona, Robert McNamara, Hayek, Silicon Valley, corporate planning, his political views, Republicans vs. Democrats, technological change, nostalgia for the 1950s and the future of business
Anybody who is an entrepreneur is a person who essentially has impaired judgment. The odds of success are zilch. This valley is loaded to the gills with a whole lot of totally insane people who honest to God believe that they can be the next Bill Gates ... But entrepreneurship is about distorted views of reality ... My half-baked reading of history is that we continue to go through these waves of entrepreneurial explosion followed by merger mania and consolidation. Out of that come big sluggish companies that eventually collapse under the weight of what they've created, and are killed off by the next wave of entrepreneurs.


Competition and Entrepreneurship
    by Israel Kirzner, 1978
Contents: Market Process versus Market Equilibrium - The Entrepreneur - Competition and Monopoly - Selling Costs, Quality, and Competition - The Long Run and the Short - Competition, Welfare, and Coordination


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

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 introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Entrepreneurship" as of 26 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.