Archive for February, 2016

CEE Review: Regulation, innovation, & entrepreneurship | How Elon Musk started, and more

Monday, February 29th, 2016

News and Opinion

skyscraper-450793_1920_(1)__scaledNew study links African-American entrepreneurship with decline in youth violence. Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

Virtues in Business. Business Ethics Highlights.

Regulation, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship: A Review of the Literature. Regulatory Studies Center.

Ontario universities struggle to bolster entrepreneurship programs. The Globe and Mail.

Whistle-blowers: Alone against the system. A documentary at Deutsche Welle.

elon-muskHow Elon Musk Started. Funders and Founders.

5 Signs You’re Infected With the Failure Virus. Medium.com.

Global Venture Capital Distribution. AVC.

Martin Shkreli on Drug Price Hikes and Playing the World’s Villain. Youtube.

The Accumulation of Regulatory Restrictions Across Presidential Administrations. Mercatus Center.

Announcements

Self-imageCall for papers: Abstracts are invited for a conference on The Ethics of Bodily Commodification to be held at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, on Saturday, April 2, 2016.. Presented papers could address relevant issues in practical ethics, such as ethical issues associated with the buying and selling of human body parts (kidneys, blood, plasma) or with commodification of reproductive and sexual services (e.g., surrogate pregnancy, the sale of ova, and prostitution). They could also address relevant issues in theoretical ethics, such as the nature of autonomy or of consent, the question of whether offers could ever be coercive, and issues associated with paternalism. Abstracts should be 250 words long and submitted by March 15th, 2016 by email to James Stacey Taylor at jtaylor@tcnj.edu.

Idea: “If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult.” Heraclitus, Fragment 19

See you next time with our digest of new and interesting items in entrepreneurship, ethics, and political economy. Here are the previous editions of CEE Review.

What’s Wrong with China? Robert Garmong to visit Rockford University

Friday, February 19th, 2016

IMG_2810On Friday, February 19, Dr. Robert Garmong will give two lectures at Rockford University on the good and bad in contemporary Chinese business ethics. Is China improving or deteriorating? Should one be bullish or bearish about China — not just economically but in terms of ethical conduct?

The first lecture is at 2:00-2:50. The second is at 3:00-3:50. Both located in Scar 220. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Dr. Garmong is Lecturer of Business Ethics at the Surrey International Institute of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dailan, China. He is also Executive Director of the Ouray Initiative for Reason and Individualism in Hong Kong.

View a PDF flyer for the event here.

Sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

E-Sophia Review: The joyful, illiterate kindergarteners of Finland | Japanese students’ high suicide rate, and more

Monday, February 15th, 2016

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News and Opinion

kindergartenerCollective thinking and Japanese students’ high suicide rate. CNN.

Has the decline of play led to more mental disorders in children? Psychology Today.

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. The Atlantic.

Virginia Postrel: Don’t ban kids from roughhousing.

The techies who are hacking education by homeschooling their kids. Wired.

The Silicon Valley Suicides: Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves in Palo Alto? The Atlantic.

Teacher Uses LEGOs to Explain Math to Schoolchildren. Bored Panda.

Dr. Yong Zhao on public education in China. Vimeo.

 Announcements

appleThe Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship will be hosting a conference at Rockford University, Illinois, on March 14, 2016, on Entrepreneurial Education featuring speakers from Silicon Valley, Texas, Poland, Guatemala, Senegal, and Chile. Everyone is welcome to attend free of charge. Register for the conference here. For more information, contact Jennifer Harrolle at jharrolle@rockford.edu.

 Idea

parents-silhouettejpgMy power as parent or teacher:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
Haim G. Ginott, in his book Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers

Stephen Hicks article forthcoming on “Entrepreneurship’s Relationship to CSR”

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance: Building New Bridges between Business and Society

Editors: Hualiang Lu (Nanjing, China), René Schmidpeter (Cologne, Germany), Nicholas Capaldi (New Orleans, USA), Liangrong Zu, (Turin, Italy)
Publisher: Springer Books
Date: 2016

Abstract:

Entrepreneurship’s Relationship to CSR (Prof. Dr. Stephen R.C. Hicks)

This chapter rethinks the start of business ethics. The author agrees that the Corporate Social Responsibility model of business ethics has been a leading paradigm. But the author notices that practitioners usually take large firms as representative of business and address their ethical issues; this, he believes, leads to over-generalizing. But most people do not work in mid-to-large corporations; rather, they are sole proprietors, in a partnership, in a family firm, or in an entrepreneurial venture. Also, every large corporation began as an entrepreneurial venture. Therefore, the author argues that business ethics should begin where business begins. In other words, business ethics begins with entrepreneurship. The author first situates ethics in an entrepreneurial context to identify the core values, virtues, and vices of business. Then he addresses how those ethical issues scale as the business succeeds or fails at growing into large corporation.

Entrepreneurial Education conference at Rockford University, March 14

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

[JPEG] E Conference Poster
The Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship will be hosting a conference at Rockford University, March 14, 2016, on Entrepreneurial Education.

Invited speakers include: Stephen Hicks (Illinois), Bernardita Jensen (Santiago, Chile), Michael Strong (Austin, Texas), Albert Loan (Guatemala), Magatte Wade (Dakar, Senegal), Jed Hopkins (Madison, Wisconsin), Piotr Kostylo (Poland), Khalil Habib (Providence, Rhode Island), and keynote speaker John Chisholm (San Francisco, California) on “An Entrepreneur’s Perspective on Entrepreneurial Education.”

Free Registration here. (Lunch and refreshments included.)

Theme:

On the Entrepreneurial side of the phrase: We live in entrepreneurial times. From the work demand side, there is increasing proportion of employment within entrepreneurial firms and a slow upward trend in the number of startups. From the work-supply side, younger people of this generation express higher levels of aspiration to start their own businesses or to work within entrepreneurial firms. Increasing globalization and liberalization also mean that the entrepreneurial trends are not only regional or national.

On the Education side: How can we best help younger people become entrepreneurial—either to prepare them for creating their own businesses, or to be entrepreneurial within existing firms, or as freelancing artists, writers, and musicians? If the traditional model of education—students sitting in straight rows of desks and all doing the same work at the same time following the directions of an authority figure—does not prepare students for entrepreneurism, then what should we replace it with?

We also live in a time of dissatisfaction with the dominant forms of education, with many complaints about stagnant or declining outcomes, bureaucratization, demoralization and worse, especially in poorer neighborhoods.

And we live in times of disruptive education technologies—from simple email and online chat to pre-packaged podcasts and video series to robust online MOOCs and more.

apple-176x100Putting all of the above together, how do we answer this question: What should entrepreneurial education look like?

Free Registration here. (Lunch and refreshments included.)

Here is a PDF of the Conference Poster.

This conference is made possible in part by support from the John Templeton Foundation.

burpee

E-Sophia Review: What do “future ready” students look like? | Four-day school weeks, and more

Monday, February 8th, 2016

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News and Opinion

baby-readingNeuroscience and brains from baby to age three. The Urban Child Institute.

What Do “Future Ready” Students Look Like? Edutopia.

Touching video short: Why it’s important to let your children learn by doing things themselves. Dubai’s Khaleej Times.

Kirsten Olson: How school wounds. Psychology Today.

Philosophy and math literacy. Britain’s The Guardian.

Education-writingFrom Argentina, Stephen Hicks speaks to: “What Is a Real Education?”

Low-Cost Private Schools Are Leaping Ahead in the Developing World. Alex Tabarrok.

Daniel Starkey: Piracy gave me a future. Boing Boing.

Bill Gates blogs: “Teaching Is About Relationships”.

Do students perform better with a four-day school week? Science Alert.

Announcements

appleThe Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship will be hosting a conference at Rockford University, Illinois, on March 14, 2016, on Entrepreneurial Education featuring speakers from Silicon Valley, Texas, Poland, Guatemala, Senegal, and Chile. Everyone is welcome to attend free of charge. Register for the conference here. For more information, contact Jennifer Harrolle at jharrolle@rockford.edu.

Idea

Trend: “65 percent of today’s grade school kids will end up doing work that has yet to be invented.”
Yet: “The contemporary American classroom is still functioning much like the classroom of the industrial era — a system created as a training ground for future factory workers to teach tasks, obedience, hierarchy and schedules.” Read more at Singularity Hub.

Book chapter forthcoming: “Entrepreneurship’s Relationship to CSR”

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Stephen Hicks has a chapter forthcoming in this new volume:

CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance: Building New Bridges between Business and Society

Editors: Hualiang Lu (Nanjing, China), René Schmidpeter (Cologne, Germany), Nicholas Capaldi (New Orleans, USA), Liangrong Zu, (Turin, Italy)
Publisher: Springer Books.
Date: 2016

Abstract:

Entrepreneurship’s Relationship to CSR (Prof. Dr. Stephen R.C. Hicks)

This chapter rethinks the start of business ethics. The author agrees that the Corporate Social Responsibility model of business ethics has been a leading paradigm. But the author notices that CSR practitioners usually take large firms as representative of business and address their ethical issues; this, he believes, leads to over-generalizing. But most people do not work in mid-to-large corporations; rather, they are sole proprietors, in a partnership, in a family firm, or in an entrepreneurial venture. Also, every large corporation began as an entrepreneurial venture. Therefore, the author argues that business ethics should begin where business begins. In other words, business ethics begins with entrepreneurship. The author first situates ethics in an entrepreneurial context to identify the core values, virtues, and vices of business. Then he addresses how those ethical issues scale as the business succeeds or fails at growing into large corporation.

[More information forthcoming upon publication.]

Video Interview with Professor Arielle John — Transcript

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Interview conducted at Rockford University by Stephen Hicks and sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship.

Hicks: I’m Stephen Hicks. Our guest today is professor Arielle John, who is teaching fellow in the Department of Economics at Beloit College. Professor John was here to speak with us on culture and entrepreneurship with special reference to Trinidad, her native country. arielle-john-500-px

In your talk you gave us some striking statistics about the relationship between culture and entrepreneurship. You started with a breakdown by ethnicity, or the various segments of Trinidadian society. And, to contrast to that, with the participation in self-employment and entrepreneurship. What were those numbers like?

John: Trinidad is an interesting country ethnically. The two majority segments of the population are Indians, who are descendants from Indian indentured servants; they comprise 40% of the population. African Trinidadians comprise about 37%, so they are about equal. Beyond that, about a fifth of the country, or 21% of Trinidadians, report themselves to be mixed; usually that implies they are a mix between Indian and African. And there is a small minority of individuals who are European descendants, also Chinese and Syrian-Lebanese and they comprise two percent of the population. They are the smallest group in the population.

Now, when we look at self-employment statistics we find that within that minority group [European, Chinese, and Syrian-Lebanese descendants], about 35%-36% of those individuals are self-employed — they are business owners. The next group with the biggest category of business owners are the Indians. About 25% of those individuals are considered self-employed. Mixed individuals, perhaps about 20% of that group are self-employed, and blacks in Trinidad have a below average self-employed rate at about 16%. So that’s the breakdown.

Hicks: So, your area of investigation is the effects of ethnic culture, and possibly racial culture, on the widely varying self-employed entrepreneurial ranges.

You also spoke about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship is complicated in some respects, but you broke it down into two basic moments that you call the Kirznerian moment or the Schumpeterian moment. What are those?

John: Obviously, the decision to become an entrepreneur involves many factors over time and place. For Israel Kirzner, the defining moment of being an entrepreneur is the moment when you discover an opportunity, and usually that happens in a surprise fashion. You are going about your way, and suddenly you realize there are needs that people want met and you know exactly how to do that. So for Kirzner the defining moment is identifying the opportunity.

Hicks: He is emphasizing the cognitive elements in entrepreneurship.

John: Absolutely. For Joseph Schumpeter, what defines an entrepreneur is the doing. For Schumpeter, exploiting the opportunity and actually bringing a product to market or changing how a supply chain works or changing some aspect of production — that is what makes you an entrepreneur. So, in doing something creative, destroying the old way of doing things, the doing aspect of entrepreneurship is what Schumpeter focuses on. So there appears to be two moments of entrepreneurship, the moment when you identify the opportunity and the moment when you actually exploit the opportunity.

Hicks: Okay, so the next question is about culture and those two moments of entrepreneurship. So, in trying to figure out how well or not well a culture fosters the identification of opportunities and the exploiting, right, of those opportunities. joseph_schumpeter You also had a definition of culture earlier, an explication of what culture is. What is culture?

John: Culture is one of those words that is ambiguous and hard to make concrete because it’s so abstract. But I think there is a very good definition of culture from the anthropologist Clifford Geertz. He refers to culture as an historically transmitted pattern of meanings, a system of inherited conceptions. So culture is essentially defined as the shared meanings individuals have about the objects and about the people and about the actions in their lives. They share meanings together, and those differ from culture to culture.

Hicks: So one then asks what meaning, so to speak, entrepreneurship has within a group of people, and to what extent there is a history; those will be connections that we want to make.

Coming to Trinidad in particular, you had three hypothesis about the intersection. One was about Kirznerian entrepreneurship — the identification of opportunities and how that is in Trinidadian culture. What is your hypothesis there?

John: Well, my hypothesis there is that Trinidadians across all of the ethnic cultures are fairly prolific in identifying opportunities. I confirm this by doing interviews with Trinidadians, and I sat them down and asked them: Tell me about your job, or your dream job, and instead of people identifying opportunities to be technicians, to be doctors, to be educators, people identified specific entrepreneurial activities. So they saw themselves as being self-employed one day, and not only did they know that they wanted to own trucks and rent trucks, or start restaurants, or start hairstyling businesses, they had actual plans for how they were going to achieve these businesses. They had a diverse number of reasons, but what really struck me was that they were good at discovering gaps where consumers had demands that were not being met. They were very good at identifying opportunities.

Hicks: And that was across all of the different ethnic cultures that you identified earlier?

John: Yes.

Hicks: With respect to Schumpeterian moment in entrepreneurship, what is your hypothesis there for Trinidad?

John: Well, clearly according to the statistics I mentioned earlier, the ethnic cultures are not equal exploiters? According to the data, the white, Chinese, and Syrian-Lebanese Trinidadians are the best exploiters, and the blacks are not necessarily good exploiters. Indians are seen as the emergent business class.

Now there can be several cultural reasons for that. When I looked at the history of the different groups, I realized that there could be some historical, cultural reasons for these disparities. White, Chinese, and Syrian-Lebanese, to some extent, brought their cultures with them, from where they came from, e.g., from China, from Syria. They brought with them their entrepreneurial attitudes.

Not only that, once they arrived in Trinidad they kept close kinship ties and they formed business associations. So, an individual who belongs to that ethnic group has a support system, has a group of people who are aware of what it takes to be a good exploiter. They have technical advice, they keep their kinship network close, and that’s fairly true for Indian Trinidadians as well. But when it comes to black Trinidadians, they don’t have those close kinship ties. They never developed them across their history.

Hicks: Is that because they were largely brought in as slaves?

John: They were.

Hicks: And that destroys kinship connections?

John: That destroys kinship connections. Over the years blacks, as opposed to Indians and Chinese, have given different meanings to certain jobs. Public service, education jobs, and professional jobs are highly valued in the African culture in Trinidad. So an individual who is trying to climb the social ladder or make something out of himself, you know, chases prestige, is not likely to use business to exploit those dreams. They are likely to become more educated and avoid business altogether.

Hicks: Professional jobs in established institutions. You also mentioned some dimensions of dependence versus independence in post-colonial history of Trinidad. Trinidad became a country, you mentioned, in 1962. So this is within a couple of generations that we have a new culture, but nonetheless, dependence and independence are not equally distributed. What are the issues there?

John: I believe that coming out of colonialism, more people started to see business opportunities as something that they could do, they could take charge, they could aspire to be anything they wanted to be, which is why, I think, across cultures, Trinidadians are opportunity identifiers. But they are not necessarily, in terms of the ethnic groups, all equal opportunity exploiters, for these dependence reasons. So blacks and Indians coming out of independence were more dependent on the state, even after Trinidad was not a colony anymore.

There were social programs to try to get them to become businessmen, to take care of them, and I think that decreased their incentive to try to make it on their own. Within those families, living with your family well into adulthood and relying on your parents for money, that is still seem as normal in those ethnic groups. And so, again, that diminishes the incentive to become an entrepreneur and to make one’s own way through life. So, these cultures’ dependence transmits across generations and determine who actually, even though they may have ideas, feels a sort of real need to exploit the opportunities. And those who are more dependent don’t feel that need strongly.

Hicks: They are striking — the statistics on differences in entrepreneurship participation across ethnic groups and racial groups. Also, according to the degree of education.

You also had to break down by sex, and there is a marked difference in the participation between males and females in all ethnic groups and all levels of education. What are your thoughts on the gender or sex differentiation stats?Flag_of_Trinidad_and_Tobago.svg

John: There are gender differences in employment across cultures, across nations, across time, and across jobs, right, so not just self-employed versus employed. Most fields, right, you see that choice gap. And I am not clear what the reason is, but I do think sometimes men have different goals. Sometimes women have more family goals, whereas men may aspire to be businessmen or to be very involved in their jobs. And I think there is a fundamental difference when it comes to the actual choices men and women decide to make on their own.

Hicks: The male/female rates in Trinidad aren’t different from male/female rates in other cultures and places?

John: I don’t think that they are, even here in the USA, I don’t think that they are. Well, there may be a higher percentage of women becoming entrepreneurs in the USA, but women here also generally are more self-sufficient and have a higher income.

Hicks: Okay. Toward the end of your talk, after emphasizing various elements of culture, you said your research shows an importance of institutions of certain sorts in fostering or squelching entrepreneurial participation rates. What do you mean by institutions in the Trinidad context? How does that fit in to your research?

John: When I talk about institutions, I am talking about the formal rules of the game within a society. The rules that tell you what you are allowed to do, where you are allowed to participate and not allowed to participate. I am not really talking about informal rules. I am talking about formal, official rules within Trinidadian society.

Hicks: Would informal rules be on the cultural side? And formal rules would be institutions?

John: Yes, informal rules refer to norms. The formal rules, the institutions operating in Trinidad, certainly apply to everyone. Of all ethnic groups in Trinidad, these are rules that are on the books. They don’t apply to blacks any more than they apply to whites or Indians. So there are institutions in Trinidad and Tobago that I believe, and that I think economic theory would predict, that are beneficial to entrepreneurial identification and exploitation in the first place. In Trinidad and Tobago, private property rights are respected and enforced, so if an individual decides they see an opportunity and they want to follow through with it, they can purchase the piece of land, they can purchase the building, and they don’t have to worry about it being confiscated. Private property rights are perhaps not as strong as in more developed nations, but, still, if individuals want to own properties, they could. Also, in Trinidad, I think the rule of law is respected, so individuals aren’t treated differentially. And so I think in Trinidad, as economic theory predicts, this incentivizes people to be comfortable with coming up with business ideas and going after these ideas because they know that, if they do the face the law in any point in their business dealings, they won’t be treated unfairly or differentially,

Hicks: So the law is noble and consistent, and so people can factor that in and that encourages entrepreneurship?

John: Definitely.

Hicks: All right, a fascinating set of issues. Thanks for being with us today.

John: Thank you, thank you very much. It was great to talk at Rockford University.

[The original video interview with Professor John follows.]

CEE Review: Silicon Valley can’t be copied | Profits: good, bad, and obscene | Life lessons from a skydiver, and more

Monday, February 1st, 2016

News and Opinion

space-shuttle-launchEngineering, integrity, and decision-making in the Challenger space shuttle disaster. NPR.

Silicon Valley Can’t Be Copied. MIT Technology Review.

Profits: Good, Bad, and Obscene. Stephen Hicks at EveryJoe.

In ‘Joy’, Hollywood Lets Entrepreneurship Smile. Bloomberg View.

Short clip on a Ghanian entrepreneur who makes bicycle frames out of bamboo.

Life lessons from a skydiver.

man-skydiving_3321440bProfessors Diane P. Bischak and Jaana Woiceshyn of the University of Calgary with a novel take on leadership: virtues and lessons from rock climbing. Abstract here.

Is mediocre business ethics good enough? Business Ethics Highlights.

High Turnover Among America’s Rich. HumanProgress.org.

100 Best Websites For Entrepreneurs, 2015. Forbes.

A One-Minute Explanation for How to Always Have a Great Day. Huffington Post.

Vital-Anna--Why-Give-UpIdea: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

See you next time with our digest of new and interesting items in entrepreneurship, ethics, and political economy. Here are the previous editions of CEE Review.