Dave Pollard advances in How to Save the World that the education system predisposes us to a sense of learned helplessness. Corporations, we are communicated, solve our problems, and that we should join them to ﬁx them; entrepreneurship is not championed.
These aren’t Dave’s words exactly, and they are a crude summary (it’s best to read his post), but there is a lot of truth to his view. At business school, we were usually more impressed with cases that involved KFC or General Electric or Xerox, not the regular guy in the same town who was exporting 90 per cent of his products, taking risks.
New Zealand may be more fortunate in that there are university papers that deal with the smaller companies. Although I had disagreements with some of the course content at the time, the 200-level management paper at Victoria University had elements on innovation and entrepreneurship. I know that AUT in Auckland even has a Stanford grad as an entrepreneurship professor.
However, it didn’t stop the same phenomenon from happening, which Dave writes as:
So we have people coming out of high school and university who must rely on ﬁnding menial corporate jobs or exploiting connections in high places to get plum jobs they don’t deserve, since they cannot provide for themselves. They do not know how to ‘make a living’.
Ergo, most of the folks in my class wanted to join big ﬁrms. No point stressing out for yourself and being your own person. Very few wanted to make a real change in a smaller outﬁt. Same at law school: join a big ﬁrm and get lost in the paperwork.
Yet all great economies, including the western ones, were founded on a sense of risk-taking and entrepreneurship. History has shown us that. And we can only stay ahead of the curve and keep living standards high if we continue to innovate and create new ventures.
I agree with Dave that there’s no conspiracy per se, but the right things aren’t getting communicated. In most things, we are not helpless, but we are trained to be, so we don’t question the communiqués of big businesses. And maybe we should question. Question convention. It’s the only way to break through the social conditioning that limits so many of us. Posted by Jack Yan, 00:49
PS.: Ric, so you know, your coComment didn’t appear among the comments to be moderated in Blogger.
Interesting - I guess that's why it's called 'beta' (or maybe I got the word verification wrong?)! Here is the comment (cut and pasted from CoCo):
So that's why I got into so much trouble in school! ... and still find trouble at the office.
Not sure, but you’re not alone. On some blogs, I’ve had to submit twice: once for coComment, then reload the page, and once for the blog.Post a Comment
It’s a pain here since I have to approve the comments, but better doing that than having the spammers come in.
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