I’m going to get right to the point of this blog post. Sometimes, shocking information is best delivered in a no-nonsense, unapologetic manner. So, I’m just going to hit you with this right now and I just don’t want you to be completely freaked out. So, sit down. Here it is.
Entrepreneurs are the only people in the history of the world that have ever created jobs.
Are you ok? The truth can really knock you for a loop, and sometimes facing the truth can cause sweating, rapid breathing, faintness, nausea and more. If you’re experiencing any of those, get a cool drink (or a mixed-one) and come back to finish reading.
Some people running for elected office this fall and next spring, and every fall and every spring forever after, will tell you that they either will create, have created or could have created jobs faster than some other people running for the same elected office. They may try to convince you that entrepreneurs “didn’t build that, we all built that.” They may try to convince you that because they invested borrowed money in otherwise failing companies, that they created jobs. Neither of these things is true. Sometimes hearing things more than once helps you to accept it, so “Entrepreneurs are the only people in the history of the world that have ever created jobs.”
Allow me to provide some additional details about the history of the world so you can begin to accept this. In the beginning, there was work to be done. There was hunting and gathering to be done, fire to be discovered and maintained and apple trees to be managed. These were jobs and for the first several dozen centuries humankind, we were all pretty much self-employed. Eat what you kill. The first self-employed entrepreneurs pretty easily identified needs like food, water, shelter. And people either fended for themselves or gathered together to help each other fend for themselves. Needs existed, and therefore, so did jobs.
Some were better than others at all these things and for the next couple thousand years or so, the first creators of jobs for others came into existence. These were kings and princes and sultans and, unfortunately sometimes, slave owners. Regardless of their morality, these people were entrepreneurs who decided to build things…even some great things like pyramids and castles, cathedrals and canals, aqueducts and armies. These “supreme” entrepreneurs observed needs for their people and subjects. Needs like clean water, eternal resting places, safety from invasion all not only existed, but were also observed. Greater skills at gathering and organizing resources were needed. The pyramids weren’t built in a day…they were built over decades and generations of resource management. Some of the tactics of entrepreneurs weren’t exactly noble. Nevertheless, needs of humans led to certain people comprehending those needs, and their personal efforts at the gathering of resources created jobs.
Perhaps we can fast forward to the last 250 years or so. Representative democracy was created, most notably in North America. And representative democracy begat capitalism. Capitalism created corporations. Corporations were created by…please tell me you know this answer…Right! Entrepreneurs! Entrepreneurs create corporations. Why? Corporations allow contemporary entrepreneurs to solve human problems that they’ve observed. That should sound familiar if you’ve been reading along. Modern day entrepreneurs see lots of human needs. For example, modern humans need new ways of obtaining information to keep their apple trees healthy. We need ways of keeping the meat that we kill fresh for later eating. We apparently need 309 different configurations of clean water in a bottle. Entrepreneurs observe these needs and begin to organize the resources needed to satisfy these needs for humans. Oh, and by the way, the organizations tend to need…you got it…jobs.
So, there you have it. You now understand that 1) jobs have always existed; 2) jobs are needed in order to satisfy human needs, and; 3) entrepreneurs organize resources, and thereby create jobs, to satisfy human needs. One Presidential candidate may tell you that the entrepreneur who started that high tech company in Ben Franklin’s TechVentures incubator didn’t really build that…his policies did. One Presidential candidate may tell you that the founder of that little office supply company didn’t grow the business into Staples…his capital did. One way or the other, these and virtually every other elected official ever will attempt to claim credit for the 132 million or so employed people in this country. But you now know the brief truth. Entrepreneurs have a special combination of skill and willingness to take action when they see need. They go about organizing the resources around them, sometimes in spite of surrounding economic conditions and sometimes gifted by them. Always, they do so in the absence of firm knowledge of how the effort will turn out…will they eat or starve? The cumulative effect of these entrepreneurial humans in pursuit of personal interest while solving the needs of others is the beautiful and wondrous creation of jobs.
Long may they roam the earth.