Quenching of America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

The following is a guest post fromĀ Brabble Director of Business Development Patrick Mackaronis.

In America we pride ourselves on our freedoms. The great American dream tells the world we are the land where hard work can obtain a successful life. It is a fact that the poorest Americans have higher living standards than scores of people in third world countries around the world so we are indeed a land in which to prosper. This is a country built by hard labor and enterprising minds. Inventors and small business men worked diligently to make America the super power it has become. Individual spirit and drive made up the country’s unstoppable spirit of moving forward doing things better and faster than ever before. However, government regulations and big box retailers have quenched the entrepreneurial spirit and made it more challenging than ever for an individual to realize the great American dream of becoming a self made success and sent them to the time clock to follow the orders of managers.

In India Wal-Mart sits poised at the doors begging for entrance which at least for the foreseeable future has been denied in their original form. They have entered under another name as a wholesale bargain center selling to retailers but not to consumers, in the way that Sam’s club does here in the states. The reason why India has not slung the doors wide open for the retail giant is for the protection of their vendor’s who would not be able to compete with it. When looking at the Indian government’s actions and the laws they produce to protect their local vendors the natural question becomes why it is our government does not offer protection to small businesses. The resounding answer from those who tend to hate big government would have to include statements on free enterprise and fears of the government over stepping their bounds by entering into the private owned businesses. However those statements would be ignoring the fact the government is already heavily involved in every industry by heavily regulating every step of production, delivery, sale, and use of any product you can think of. Perhaps to an extend of regulating the small business out of business by driving cost to meet government regulation to the point of outrageous expectation for a small business trying to compete with retail giants.

While the government tends to over regulate the small business owner they turn a blind eye to the corporate giant’s who step all over the smaller competitors. These retail giants rob consumers of choices by forcing producers to cut corners and streamline production at the cost of quality and variety. Consumer’s are trained to think cheaper is better and quality is a luxury that can’t be afforded by the average family. Consumers are challenged with marketing, packaging, and display tricks that are designed to make it impossible for the best deal to be found. All of these tactics hurt not only the consumer of goods but make it next to impossible for the small business owner to draw the weary consumers into their shops without the smoke and mirror tactics. When you take into consideration the way the cards are stacked against the entrepreneur who wants to try and start a business from scratch the overall view can be discouraging. Whereas other countries such as India have took steps to protect their smaller business people it appears that the green fields of America have been left to the wolves.

Understandably persons will argue that regulations are meant to protect the consumer and the health of our environment. All regulations are not bad, it is over regulating that is the problem. For example while it is helpful for health inspectors to visit the local eatery to ensure foods are being served in a safe clean environment, the equipment regulations are often so expensive to meet that mom and pop eateries are becoming a thing of the past. If a mom and pop eatery can keep foods in safe temperature zones using cheaper equipment they should be allowed to serve their food. The regulation oversteps safety and declares only the more expensive commercial grade food equipment is acceptable even though we as consumers eat daily food prepared on standard equipment. Lofty regulations squash many entrepreneurial spirits who can’t raise the money to buy high dollar commercial equipment but can produce a quality product that given the option many consumers would safely purchase and consume.

The entrepreneurial spirit of American’s has suffered many blows including overly regulated business practices, high dollar marketing schemes by larger retailers and training through repetition to the American people that cheapness is preferable to quality. Even though a highly crafted piece of furniture may last it’s purchaser a life time overwhelmingly Americans are choosing to buy cheaply made furniture that will need to be replaced many times over during their lifetime. Choosing to pay less upfront can cost more over a period of time. In countries where vegetable vendors, clothes makers, and bakers still offer their products in open air street markets there are families who pass down their skills to their children and provide for their families through their own entrepreneurial efforts. Globalization could threaten these countries entrepreneurial spirits as large retailers move in and take over if individual countries do not protect their people as India has done. On the other had perhaps the information age that has came along with globalization will give a view to us in America that will cause us to demand protection for our own entrepreneurs. One can only hope that the result of that would result in revival of the entrepreneurial spirit in America. Additionally benefits would include an enhancement of our cultural experiences with an explosion of individual enterprises popping up on every corner.