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In Barron’s, Paul Theroux argues that 150 years of aid to Africa has not helped much — and may have hurt more than it helped.
Theroux discusses the failure of several recent externally-generated efforts, including Jeffrey Sachs’s top-down Millennium Project and the long history of well-meaning “Telescopic Philanthropists,” as well as Africa’s internal problems of governance.
(1) Charity undercuts self-sufficiency: If goods are provided free by foreigners, local small businesses cannot compete and go out of business. A cycle of dependency is thus created.
(2) Corrupt governments are a major problem: Bribery, oppressive regulations, extortion, and theft on a grand scale are endemic.
So Theroux calls for fresh thinking about how economic development occurs: “the self-sufficiency of ordinary people” must be enabled, by getting the politicians off their backs and asking the well-meaning to stop creating dependency.
In the language of ethics, I’d frame the moral dimension of the overall problem this way: predation and altruism are both problematic, and egoism is the moral and practical framework.
Phrasing it positively: Respect the self-responsibility of individuals and allow them to develop win-win social networks — and they will prosper. Phrasing it negatively: Do nothing that undercuts productivity individually or free trade socially — and people will flourish.
Senegalese-American businesswoman Magatte Wade on entrepreneurship as the fundamental route out of poverty for everyone, not only Africans.
William Kamkwamba’s windmill.
Interview with Phyllis Johnson on entrepreneurship, coffee, and empowering women in Africa.
My “What Business Ethics Can Learn from Entrepreneurship” [pdf].
Posted 2 days, 20 hours ago at 7:26 am. 2 comments
At the CEE site, my full interview with entrepreneurial agriculturalist Enrique Duhau.
Be sure to read about how his first business was wiped out by a tornado, how he competed successfully against smugglers, and how he built his family’s agriculture business into one of Argentina’s largest.
From the introduction: Enrique Duhau is President of Administración E. Duhau S.A., one of the largest producers of grains and beef in Argentina. Educated in Buenos Aires, London, and New York, he was also co-founder of Apple Argentina and Maxim Software, which produced software for Apple products to be sold internationally. In 1990, he co-founded Junior Achievement Argentina, to teach young kids entrepreneurial abilities and philosophy.
The whole story is here.
More of my Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs.
Posted 3 weeks, 5 days ago at 8:24 am. Add a comment
The latest issue of Kaizen [pdf] features my interview with entrepreneur Enrique Duhau. We met in Buenos Aires to discuss the challenges of doing business in Argentina’s complicated political economy, Mr. Duhau’s experience in co-founding Apple Argentina, Maxim Software, ESEADE, and Junior Achievement Argentina, as well as the character traits necessary for success in entrepreneurship.
Also featured in this issue of Kaizen are guest speaker Professor Terry Noel, the High School Entrepreneurship Day, and the accomplishments of Rockford University student Jennifer Harrolle.
Print copies of Kaizen are in the mail to CEE’s supporters and are available at Rockford University.
Our next issue will feature an extended interview with Surse Pierpoint on the theme of Entrepreneurial Logistics in Panama.
More Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs are at my site here or CEE’s site.
Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 8:20 am. Add a comment
The thirteen arguments are:
1. Liberal capitalism increases freedom.
2. People work harder in liberal capitalist systems.
3. People work smarter under liberal capitalism.
4. Liberalism increases individuality and creativity.
5. Liberal capitalism increases the average standard of living.
6. The poor are better off under liberal capitalism.
7. Liberal capitalism generates more philanthropy.
8. More outstanding individuals flourish under liberal capitalism.
9. Liberalism’s individualism increases happiness.
10. Liberal capitalist societies are more interesting.
11. Tolerance increases under liberal capitalism.
12. Sexism and racism decrease under capitalism.
13. Liberal capitalism leads to international peace.
And here is the full playlist at YouTube.
Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 8:22 am. 12 comments
Forbes columnist Michael Noer has a nice feature on the Acton MBA — “Startup School: An MBA Designed For Entrepreneurs, Not I-Bankers.”
Acton is unique because of “its relentless focus on a single goal: educating aspiring entrepreneurs. The curriculum discards the traditional M.B.A. silos of finance, accounting and marketing to revolve around the entrepreneurial cycle of creating, growing and selling a business.”
My Kaizen interview with Acton’s founder, Jeff Sandefer, is at the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship’s site. The Acton method is now also in place at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.
Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 8:11 am. Add a comment
An audio edition [mp3] of my 2009 essay “What Business Ethics Can Learn from Entrepreneurship” [pdf], first published in Journal of Private Enterprise. Or listen to it at YouTube:
The abstract: Entrepreneurship is increasingly studied as a fundamental and foundational economic phenomenon. It has, however, received less attention as an ethical phenomenon. Much contemporary business ethics assumes its core application purposes to be (1) to stop predatory business practices and (2) to encourage philanthropy and charity by business. Certainly predation is immoral and charity has a place in ethics, neither should be the first concerns of ethics. Instead, business ethics should make fundamental the values and virtues of entrepreneurs — i.e., those self-responsible and productive individuals who create value and trade with others to win-win advantage.
All versions of the essay:
* “What Business Ethics Can Learn from Entrepreneurship” [pdf]. Journal of Private Enterprise, 24(2), Spring 2009, 49-57.
* Also available online at the Social Science Research Network.
* At Amazon in Kindle e-book version.
* Translated into Serbo-Croatian by Alma Causevic.
* Translated into Spanish by Walter Jerusalinsky.
* Audio edition in MP3 format and at YouTube.
Thanks to Christopher Vaughan for his work on the audio production.
Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 7:32 am. Add a comment
Silicon Valley entrepreneur John Chisholm visited Rockford University recently, during which I interviewed him about the themes from his “Unleash Your Inner Company” talk. Topics:
* What values motivate entrepreneurs — freedom, security, opportunities unique to each of us.
* Flow — how passion and perseverance can and should work together.
* Personal psychology and making positive thinking habitual.
* Entrepreneurs as leaders and what to look for when hiring the key members of your team.
* The right and wrong times to seek funding.
* The ethics of entrepreneurship’s positive value creation.
Here is our 18-minute discussion:
In his talk and workshop, Chisholm used this worksheet with the participants: “STAARRS. Skills, Technologies, Assets, Accomplishments, Relationships, Reputation, Strengths” [Word] and [PDF]. This 2010 interview with Chisholm for Kaizen may also be of interest.
Posted 2 months ago at 8:34 am. Add a comment
John Chisholm is a serial entrepreneur based in San Francisco. He graduated from MIT and Harvard and then worked for Hewlett-Packard before starting his own companies, Decisive Technology and CustomerSat. I interviewed him for Kaizen in 2010. Here is his “Release Your Inner Company” TedX talk from 2011, in which he shares lessons of success (and failure) from his entrepreneurial ventures.
At Rockford, he’ll be conducting a workshop for students. In preparation for the workshop, please read the first six pages each of “Passion & Perseverance” (Chapter 1) and “Don’t Ask for the Moon; You have your STAARRS. Skills, Technologies, Assets, Accomplishments, Relationships, Reputation, Strengths”.
Bring with you to the session your own completed STAARRS sheet. Sample and blank STAARRS sheets here in Word and PDF.
The prep materials for the workshop are also at the Courses page.
Posted 2 months, 1 week ago at 9:04 am. Add a comment