In another trip down Memory Lane, we recall a 1999 meeting in Portland, Oregon of high-tech venture capitalists and an audience avid for tips on how to get money for their companies.
The VCs were frank. “Oregonians are mostly “B” level,” they said. “We only fund “A” level business people.” The silence in the room told this reporter that the audience knew it was true, but some in the room asked for details.
Intensity, ability to do hard work, brilliant technical ideas and a team sharing those charactistics, they said, then added a surprising item: failure.
“We look for people who have failed at a business venture. Preferably two or three,” they said. “There is no end of information you can gain through failure. But in Oregon, you fail once and you’re done. No local businessperson will hire you or fund you.” Interesting, no?
This socialist notion of not allowing failure permeates the world, but it is easier to see in a smaller system. Little Greece is refusing to reform their economic system – cut back on public sector, privatise existing public sector functions. Large systems take longer to decline and fall apart.
Witness Ancient Rome. Died about 250 A. D., but didn’t fall over until 410 AD, when Visigoths sacked the city. Witness the U.S.S.R., which pretended for decades that all was well, but commissars struggled after killing most productive people in the country.
Neither dictatorship realized that physical and informational infrastructure has to be kept up. Only productivity provides the means to do that. Slavery is non-productive. You may be getting free labor, but no one is thinking. Productive thinking is the engine of wealth.
Here in the U.S. examples abound. Government people hate and distrust private sector people, though they don’t often reveal that psychological tic. One time, we proposed to a city engineer, great guy, good sense of humor, etc. that the ambulance service should be privatised.
“Oh, no!” he exclaimed, with uncharacteristic vehemence. “The ambulance gets calls at all hours of the day and night. A private service wouldn’t do that. They only would work from 9 to 5.” He was apparently not aware that just 36 miles up the road, Portland has three or four private ambulance services operating. Not aware that phone services have answered emergency calls since they were invented more than 100 years earlier. Did he remember the Emergency Room at the local, private hospital?
This is one of many reasons why “public-private partnerships” should be avoided at all costs. Another reason is that the public side has the power to coerce.