The 'hard-working' entrepreneur: another liberal myth collapses in America
The myth of the young, incompatible and risky businessman who finds success thanks to hard work and (perhaps) a kind of genetic predisposition on risk-taking has collapsed officially at the end of 2017. If you are born poor you will probably die poor. And if you are born rich you will do whatever you want.
Philip Alston experienced some horrible pictures from his trip to the US. He saw people with rotten teeth who could not visit a dentist. He saw homeless and citizens dying from curable diseases or just from ... environmental pollution.
As a UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, he had the duty to record that at least one in eight inhabitants of the world's richest country lives below the poverty line and presented some examples that would make his report a bit more "attractive" to the international media.
Alston also included a phrase, which is the final shot on the half-dead body of the American Dream: "If you want to talk about the American Dream," he said, "you should know that a child born poor in the US, statistically has almost no chance of escaping poverty".
His conclusion contradicts the core of the myth of excellence, which argues that hard work is all that is required for someone to secure success in liberal America ... or even in the Greece of crisis.
In fact, a recent survey, published in the Child Development Review, says that poor children, who believe in concepts such as "meritocracy", "excellence" and "social justice", end up being disappointed and often are being led to dangerous and self-destructive behaviors "as they begin to challenge themselves for problems they could not control."
Instead, as the head of the research, Erin Godfrey, explained, “If you're in an advantaged position in society, believing the system is fair and that everyone could just get ahead if they just tried hard enough doesn't create any conflict for you … [you] can feel good about how [you] made it,”
Additionally, Alston's and Godfrey's remarks, overthrow a legend that has spread over recent years as a mystical heresy at the heart of modern capitalism: that entrepreneurs often owe their success not only to excellence but also to a genetic predisposition.
According to the theory, risk taking by young entrepreneurs, starting their own companies, is a hereditary gift. Obviously, because this argument is in conflict with the principles of capitalism and brings us back to the years of enlightened aristocracy, its devotees emphasize that it is not enough to have the gene of the entrepreneur unless you combine it with hard work that will distinguish you from the rest (excellence).
The hundreds of texts that promote this genetic theory have a unique source of a book by Scott Shane, who teaches entrepreneurship (?) at the University of Case Western Reserve in the US - therefore a person without any knowledge of genetics.
Instead, dozens of recent scientific research show that the increased trend towards high risk, which (admittedly) exhibit quite a lot of successful entrepreneurs, is usually related ... to dad's or mom's money.
As early as 1998, the researchers David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick, have shown that risk-taking is only "inherited" in the sense that successful entrepreneurs have inherited a significant amount from their relatives, which they used as initial capital in their business. In a survey in 2013, economists Ross Levine and Rona Rubenstein, from University of California, Berkeley, said that "if someone does not have money from his family, the chances of opening his own business are diminishing."
Researchers do not usually try to prove that the entrepreneurs use Dad's money to open their business (although this is usually the case) but that family property is an invisible safety net that allows them to take more risky business decisions.
Therefore, what they inherited is not a gene, but the comfort of "smashing their face" with safely and - if the investment succeeds - the audacity to appear as risky, successful entrepreneurs.
Article by Aris Chatzistefanou under the title 'Entrepreneur with dad's money', translated from the original source: