by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist

Entrepreneurs, those people who create something original in business, must necessarily be disruptive. The entrepreneur sees something others don’t see. It could be an idea, an invention, the application of an idea, an improvement on something existing, a gap in the market. The entrepreneur is often a non-conformist and a contrary thinker.

Because the entrepreneur is different, he or she is often not appreciated, or the ideas that are put forward are not immediately appreciated. The entrepreneurial person may be socially inept and difficult. Often the person with the new idea, the different slant on things, gets frustrated with the existing order, with the product or service or system.

Governments say they like employment, and they say they want entrepreneurs, yet they put so much red-tape in the way of new businesses and new ideas that many start-ups don’t happen. Entrepreneurs are not good Red Tape Conformists; and if they can’t cut through the red tap, or if they don’t feel they can ignore the applications and permits and fees, they become Red Tape Cripples, bound up in a quagmire of Approvals, Health and Safety issues, Licences, Insurances, Training Courses, and on it goes ad nauseum.

A good thing about immigrants is that they often don’t know the rules. They are ignorant of the many reasons why they can’t do something, why they can’t start a business, and they just do it. They get going and address the form-filling when a crat comes knocking and asks for the paperwork. By this time they are up and running. The form-filling and fee-paying can be easier after the event as the crat seldom wants to close up a business, but may actually assist with the “conforming” process. These Inspectors are not bad people; they are just doing their job. The trouble is that it is not a productive job and they should go out and create something new for themselves. Perhaps they are frustrated entrepreneurs themselves.

We need more civil disobedience (Responsible Civil Disobedience) when it comes to starting new businesses. If we had, for example, some gypsy cab drivers who plied their trade without the outrageously expensive licence plates, we would have real competition and lower fares. Gypsy Cab Drivers could fill the demand when they are most needed, compete to lower Australia’s outrageously expensive taxi fares and may eventually break the taxi monopoly.

Mini Bus operators too could offer services that the market wanted (but the bureaucrats didn’t) and create something new — and disruptive. There are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of new businesses, new ideas, innovations that can come along and many get thwarted by permit requirements, taxes, fees, zoning laws, etc., etc.

Sometimes it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission” is a policy to adopt quite often with bureaucrats and governmental decrees and restrictions. Weigh up the consequences, then decide if it’s worth the Begging Forgiveness (“Gee, I didn’t know I needed approval to try that … Sorry!”) explanation if the entrepreneur gets reprimanded for his initiative.

Bureaucrats and existing operators in many industries, small and large, like the orderly status quo. New entrants, new ideas, innovations that new entrepreneurs offer can threaten to disrupt this cosy arrangement. When existing operators collude with government to keep out competition, upstart unlicensed and unapproved rule-breakers may be needed to rock the boat, and break the collusion.

When told by a bureaucrat, “You need an approval / permit / application to do this or that,” I like to answer “No I don’t need the permit / approval / licence, you need it!” It doesn’t work, but at least it is stating the reality.

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, male and female, educated and illiterate, young and old — they don’t conform to any tidy recognisable category; they may not be on any list. They may not have the required education or permit or have past the required test. They are heroes and need nothing more than be left alone to try, to create, to work, to have a go.

The chaos of the market, the creative destruction, the constant change and disruption; these are the things that make an economy and a society vibrant. But governments and bureaucracies often don’t, can’t, won’t get it.

Further Reading

Neville Kennard’s “Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement.”

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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