Wednesday, 2 September  

The Entrepreneurial Society and its Enemies

Dr. Mark Sanderstarted by stressing the ultimate aim of the FIRES project: increase well-being in Europe.

The Entrepreneurial Society creates such well-being. Not only because it is the most powerful engine for economic growth and innovation, but also because it is inherently inclusive, offering opportunity to all, and caters to fundamental human desire to live “the good life”. The entrepreneurial society is not only about material wealth and competitiveness. It offers Positive emotion, Relationships, Intensity, Meaning, Accomplishment and in the end even improves Living conditions in general (PRIMAL). Things people will continue to aspire to even when material needs are met as in Galbraith’s (1958) affluent society.

Desirable transition

This makes the transition to a more

entrepreneurial society both necessary and desirable. But to facilitate this transition institutional reform is needed in Europe. In the entrepreneurial society openness and contestability are the keys. That is, entrepreneurs should be allowed to challenge the status quo. If new, better ideas are to replace the old ones, we need to channel more of our financial, human and knowledge resources to entrepreneurial activity. 

Enemies of Entrepreneurial Society

The problem is that established, managed, industrial economy institutions channel them into the wrong activities. The protection of workers, creditors and inventors locks out the entrepreneur from key inputs in entrepreneurial venturing. Our well-developed welfare states lock these resources in a golden cage. Paraphrasing Karl Popper (1945) this implies the open, entrepreneurial society has its “enemies”. But progress requires we win them over. FIRES therefore needs to mobilize her allies for its reform agenda to be effective.