The Good Fight

Corporate America can't stop the entrepreneurial revolution. Come on, people! Who's with us?

It took us less than 225 years to go from revolutionaries to corporate thinkers. As a nation, we may proudly don a badge of innovation, but in reality, we wear the uniform of a superpower, saluting the corporate dollar. Sad to say, the United States now personifies exactly what it fought against in the Revolutionary War: inflexibility, bureaucracy, arrogance and bloat.

It's time for entrepreneurs to come to the aid of their country. We must prepare not just for recession, but for revolution. Our revolution is not against the corporate world per se, but against a corporate mind-set. In other words, it's time to get entrepreneurial.

This call to common sense may not have happened if September 11 had not shaken us to the core. The ensuing confusion led inevitably to re-evaluations, some of which seemed to steer us like startled sheep even further into a corporate daze. A Los Angeles Times article in late September stated, "The 'new economy,' already tattered before the assaults, is dying. In its place will emerge a shadow war economy."

They aren't the first skeptics to put the term New Economy in quotation marks. But a shadow war economy? The ominous term becomes downright scary as the Times describes it: "The private sector, whose entrepreneurial enthusiasms defined the passing age, will become more corporate and more controlled. And the new economy-the deregulated, wired, just-in-time, globalized new economy of the '90s-will be gone."

This is the attitude we're compelled to fight. It's an attitude that has led to offenses on two fronts: a public bias toward Fortune 500 corporations and a private discouragement among some entrepreneurs starting or continuing with their businesses. This is no time for defeat, or for hunkering down. In Common Sense, Thomas Paine called the verge of the American Revolution "the seed time": "'Tis the concern not of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now."

When since Common Sense's publication has this statement rung so true, both for our national and our personal economies? Let's consider nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense to determine why the role of entrepreneurs is more important than ever.


Looking for our "Econo-Future," our online-only look at Joseph Shumpeter's theory of creative destruction? Click here.

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This article was originally published in the March 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Good Fight.

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