An old A&L link reports on French start-ups.
It’s not exactly haute culture, but these days this is a vital topic here in France, where the unemployment rate has been stuck between 9 and 10 percent for a quarter of a century and where not a single enterprise founded here in the past 40 years has managed to break into the ranks of the 25 biggest French companies. By comparison, 19 of today’s 25 largest U.S. companies didn’t exist four decades ago.
Small business people tend to want different legislation (and less of it) than do big companies who are more likely to effectively lobby. Small business people tend to be independent; I think I started one because it had not been my experience that I would enjoy being part of an institution or to work at a 9-5 government job. I never really thought I’d get rich but I did think I’d get independent. That probably isn’t that unusual. Some of my staff were not so happy with the lack of firm and separated job descriptions but many liked learning a variety of skills and making decisions on their own.
Of course many small business owners are more competent and more ambitious. That 19/25 reinforces my earlier post about the churning among quintiles of net worth–obviously, such size is rare but movement upward through small business is common. Little outside the most intensely personal is as exhilerating and requires as much creativity as small business start-ups. That energy comes from the challenge of responsibility; France recognizes the need but will need to work against their inclinations to foster these. The role of such businesses in introducing new workers to the marketplace, in fostering independence and creativity should always lie somewhere in the back of legislators’ minds.