Someone cleverly sent me this link in response to my saying that Krugman never says anything about entrepreneurship. Yes, the guy is serious. He mentions the word more than four years ago, and that is "proof" that Krugman is an expert on the entrepreneur or something like that. As I went through my own search process through Google, the only other link I could find was Krugman's defense of the GM bailouts in which he claimed that "industrial clusters" really were more important than anything entrepreneurs do.
His comments on the bailouts are especially instructive because the Obama administration essentially wiped out the bondholders, gave the United Auto Workers what they wanted, and then dunned taxpayers to make it all happen. While Krugman might claim that the auto bailout was "the single most successful policy initiative of recent years," what occurred was pretty much a simple wealth transfer.
Furthermore, in his Keynesian style, Krugman assumes that capital and whole structures of production simply exist and that entrepreneurship has nothing to do with it. (Yes, he says the "individual entrepreneur," but in that he is creating the straw man, for he fails to understand the larger role of entrepreneurship in the economy.)
The point is that successful companies — or, at any rate, companies that make a large contribution to a nation’s economy — don’t exist in isolation. Prosperity depends on the synergy between companies, on the cluster, not the individual entrepreneur.Yet, it was entrepreneurship over time that created this cluster, but to admit that would mean that perhaps his collectivized view of economics might not fit reality. Furthermore, entrepreneurship is not limited to people who (in Krugman's words) start their businesses in garages. (Notice that he leaves out Steven Jobs and how Apple was started, but that would mess up his narrative.)
The point is that the quintessential business figures of the 80s weren’t creative entrepreneurs. They were big-corporation executives (Lee Iacocca) and takeover artists (Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky). The gazillionaires who started in garages came later.By limiting entrepreneurship to people "in garages," Krugman leaves out the larger understanding of what entrepreneurship is or what entrepreneurs do. Michael Milken WAS a financial entrepreneur, as he gained funding for a number of enterprises that the banks in the cartelized system that Krugman praises to much would not touch. It was Milken who secured start-up funding for CNN, which helped revolutionized how the news is brought into our homes. The creation of MCI, which did an end run around the way long distance calling was done via the AT&T government-created monopoly, came through Milken's funding.
It was Milken that secured the start-up money for McCaw Cellular, which took an idea and laid the foundation for the vast cellular networks we have now. And there were many more enterprises, NONE of which would have received funding from the banking system that Krugman insists was perfectly fine and should have remained in place.
You see, Paul Krugman wants us to believe that modern telecommunications "just happened" or that government would have created a wonderful system on its own. Like the industry "clusters" that really are the source of wealth (and we know that the clusters just appeared on their own -- or were the result of government action along with the farsightedness of the labor unions) in Krugman's view, there really is no need for the entrepreneur, who is just a sideshow, a freak in a garage who takes advantage of what government in its infinite wisdom already has created.
In Krugman's world the telecommunications that we enjoy now would have happened anyway because, well, just because. New technologies just happen and their application to the economy just happen, too. Furthermore, even things like the pre-existent "supply chain" are not subject to entrepreneurial ideas. No, they simply exist and if a company like Wal-Mart is able to change the way that supply chains work, well, that was not entrepreneurship; it was just fate.
I would urge readers to look at what Peter Klein has written in his book The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur. Unlike Krugman, Klein actually is an economist who knows something about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, and who does not feed partisan political propaganda to readers. (Unlike Krugman, Klein does not coordinate his writing efforts with partisan political campaigns.)
Anyone who does take the time to read Klein will see that the scope of entrepreneurship is much, much larger than anything Krugman can imagine. But, then, Klein is not going to tell readers that government spending, borrowing, and printing is the Source of All Wealth.
On another note, I would urge readers to look at this recent Wall Street Journal editorial that lists a number of aspects of labor law in Spain that create barriers to employment. According to the editorial, 99 percent of Spanish businesses have 49 or fewer employees. Why?
Once a Spanish business reaches 50 employees, its workers must also elect five workplace reps to bargain on wages and conditions. These delegates must each receive at least 15 paid hours off monthly for their duties, and the quotas rise as companies grow. By the time a business hires its 751st staffer, it must have at least 21 workplace reps, each getting a minimum of 40 paid hours off per month.No doubt, Krugman would claim that such measures will increase "aggregate demand" because governments create new wealth by forcing up wages. That the Spanish employment laws prevent larger enterprises from enjoying the economies of scale from large-scale capital funding simply gets beyond the thinking of a Keynesian.