An entrepreneur in every pot

Jennifer Senior, writing at New York:

In certain segments of the population, self-employment is markedly expanding—like baby-boomers between the ages of 55 and 64, who, according to a report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, make up 23.4 percent of new entrepreneurs. Bully for them, you might say. But it’s not clear how many of these 55-to-64-year-olds willingly made this choice. Kathleen Christensen, who directs the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Working Longer program, suspects many aren’t starting their own businesses because they’ve been seized with a vision or a solution to a problem, as the mythologized version of the entrepreneur supposedly is. “From the research I’ve conducted,” she says, “they often lack other options.” Many are conscripts in self-employment rather than volunteers. There’s now even a term for such workers: “necessity entrepreneurs” (rather than “opportunity entrepreneurs”). Though not a whole lot of work has been done examining the difference between these two groups, what little there is suggests that necessity entrepreneurs aren’t always as successful—or as happy.

What's that you say? You mean we are not on the verge of some libertarian fantasy-land where, freed from the shackles of excessive and unconstitutional government regulation and taxation, citizen-entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of innovation and capitalist utopia!

Shocked, I tell you. SHOCKED.

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