Has Small Business Chosen the Wrong Side?

30% of new businesses are gone after the first two years. The number of failures rises to 66% in ten years. And those are conservative numbers. Some say 50% and 90%. Don’t worry about who’s right; it’s the size of the numbers that count. Think about it. What does this say about Free Enterprise as a system? Is it really working for the small businessman?

What About the Failures?

What happens when a business goes under? Well, somebody puts in a few years of his life where he slaves 16 hours a day and throws away a whole bunch of his own money – and usually that of his family and friends – and where does that money go? To the winners in the battle: successful businesses.

How To Have A Successful Business

Don’t buy the bull; success has little to do with intelligence, skill, or talent. To succeed, you must have money. Lots of it. As a certain “businessman” president has amply demonstrated, you can be a complete fool and still make tons of money, if only you have enough to start with.

How Much Money?

I have no idea. It depends on the size of your ambition. But one thing I am sure of is that most businesses that fail do so because they are underfunded in the first place. The winners – people with enough money to succeed – form the elite. They are the 1% that everyone talks about.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Well, nothing, in the economic sense. That’s how the Law of the Jungle has always worked. A majority of less-well-endowed individuals are sacrificed so that the finest can propagate their genes. The problem is when this system gets mixed up in democracy.

Not in a Democracy

The idea of a democratic system is that The People all band together and make sure they are not victimized by those powerful individuals that might want to – and have the wherewithal to – victimize them. The People may divide into groups and argue about what’s best for Themselves, but they always have the good of The People in mind. The moment a group representing 1% of the population swings a disproportionate amount of clout, democracy isn’t happening, and The People do something about it. But if a whole bunch of regular people can be persuaded to get together for whatever inane reason and support those victimizers, they can become a large enough group to form their own legitimate political party. A party dedicated to forwarding the aims of the victimizers.

You’d think all those small business people would be smarter than that. In their own ineffectual way, these are the leaders of the business world. They are trained and/or educated and successful in their field, up to a point. You’d think they would notice that, in their milieu, they are the ones being victimized.

But oh, no. They all have to hang around looking for the financial scraps that fall from the rich man’s table, believing in their country’s version of the American Dream, filling in the blanks that make up a political party. If the elite didn’t have all the losers to lead around by the nose, all their money wouldn’t be worth a heap of coal in the long run: not in a democracy.

It didn’t used to be this way. The elite used to have to join parties whose policies they agreed with, and thus be diluted by all the Other People. In those days they used bribes and control of the police and other forms of corruption to keep society under their thumbs. But gradually, over the past century, democracy has flourished, and political parties have gained real power. So the powerful have found a way to grab that power: buy a political party.

Which is why you’ll find the right-wing parties fighting to hold onto First Past the Post elections, which are really just a small step away from authoritarianism. Small-c conservatives are authoritarian believers in the trickle-down economy, because they have bought the scam that the money is going to trickle down to them first. “Vote with us, and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.” Despite the fact that a large number of them are victims of their leaders just like the rest of us, and nothing is done to make it easier for small businesses to survive. The leaders keep their members in line with the fear that the money they need is being given to the workers, social services, and the poor. Did these guys ever stop to think how much of their money is going to the banks, the big businesses, and the international corporations? Your business didn’t fail because you had too big a payroll. It failed because you couldn’t pay the interest on your bank loan, and you couldn’t compete with the businesses with deeper pockets. They kept their prices down until you folded, then raise them back again when the competition was gone. that’s right. Your buddies in the Party forced you out of business, then laughed all the way to the bank. Which they own.

A more proportional representation system will mean less influence in government by the elite and more influence by The People, whether they are poor, workers, or small businessmen. Help create a voting system that is more representative of the people of the province and you might get some representation yourself.

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