The WSJ Says America Infected By “Risk Averse Culture” Very few new companies created - People seek safe employment -There is far less mobility, and fewer new jobs created

By Paolo von Schirach

June 3, 2013

WASHINGTON – The US stock market may be doing well, but America seems to have lost its trade mark spirit of adventure and enterprise. And it is The Wall Street Journal, the chronicler and record keeper of US capitalism, giving us the bad news with a front page story: “Risk Averse Culture Infects US Workers, Entrepreneurs“, (June 3, 2013). Words have meaning. The WSJ editors say “culture” and not “mood”. And the word “culture” suggests something engrained and permanent, as opposed to a temporary phase.

Risk averse America?

And the article tells us –in great detail– about the progressive shrinking of the small business base in America. It reports that far fewer people are willing to start their own company or voluntarily change jobs, hoping to do better with a new employer. Furthermore, Americans no longer move from one state to another seeking better opportunities. There seems to be a widespread craving for job security. “Keep that job, even if it is not great, as opposed to seeking financial independence by taking a chance with a start up” . Likewise, venture capitalists invest less and concentrate their investments on fewer targets.

Have we “lost it”?

The net result of this cautious approach is fewer new businesses created and fewer new jobs. If this trend is indeed deeply rooted, expect America to become another Europe: an aging, slow growing economy where voters demand more public services, welfare and subsidies that a weak economy cannot pay for.

If the WSJ editors are right, if this is indeed a new, risk averse “culture” that replaced the culture of enterprise, then America lost it. We can only hope that the editors are wrong, and that this is only a bad patch.

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