Archive for June, 2010

Economics and economists

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Cleetus posts

Economics and economists are being beat up really bad from both the left and right these days. We do not like to generalize about an entire academic field and perhaps the problem is not so much economics as it is some of the people calling themselves economists. Since we belong to the fringe division of economic thinking (which includes OLD institutional economics, Austrian economics and the voodoo field of development economics and Stockholm School of Econ. inspired thinking) it is always entertaining to see how “mainstream” economics deal with their issues. So when the politically correct Krugman writes (in 09) “As I see it, the economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth” it appears as if the problem are really big egos and the inherent problem of taking theory and turn it into policy. (read the full NYT column here) Interestingly the mainstream is now attempting to band aid its issues by coming up with new fancy terms and ideas to move forward. This is good, but new? For example, here you can read about Austrian economist Peter Klein’s (at Mizzou) irritation with behavioral economics. We like to think of entrepreneurship as irritation so perhaps a good beating is what is needed at this point.



Election time

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Cleetus posts

The worlds most individualistic and rational country is having national elections soon. I found this interesting slide show of yard signs and posters from previous elections. Given the current turmoil in Europe right now no. 25-27 come across as interesting forecasts made 7 years ago.


Hipster philosophy

Posted: June 28, 2010 in Cleetus posts

Today I have listened to hipster favorite Slavoj Žižek. I’m not sure if his analysis brings anything new but it is interesting to watch how the head bobbing in the audience increases in frequency the more paradoxes Žižek presents. Here is a recent interview with the man in The Guardian.



Posted: June 27, 2010 in Bubba & Cleetus

One of our favorite characters in discussing entrepreneurship semantics is Humpty Dumpty. The famous phrase “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less” fit several of our social enterprise friends who commonly refuses to define entrepreneurship in their articles. Another problematic word is innovation. Thankfully, Bloomberg Businessweek can tell us which 25 companies that are most innovative in 2010.

Take a look at this list, come on, Coca-cola, Ford, Wall-Mart. Don’t we kiss the behind of big corporation enough already. Also, we are still trying to find a good example of what more and most innovative really mean.

B & C

Vision and mission

Posted: June 26, 2010 in Bubba posts

Yesterday I discussed vision and mission, and their application in nonprofit entrepreneurship. An organization’s vision is all about what is possible, all about that potential whereas the mission is what it takes to make that vision come true. Vision is a central component for the entrepreneur and entrepreneurship but from an organizational perspective a mission will be equally important. At some point they meet, the entrepreneur and the organization, and too often the (often self-proclaimed) entrepreneur just leave the vision “floating” making it virtually impossible for anyone else to figure out what the organization is actually doing. The purpose of yesterday’s seminar was to revisit the significance of both vision and mission in nonprofit organizational life. To date, little research has been devoted to this issue, especially in terms of understanding nonprofit entrepreneurial success. For our discussion I used the Swedish organization Charity International:

“Charity International is a politically and religiously independent organization. It is the first and currently the only utilitarian organization in the world. Utilitarianism is a moral theory with the purpose of creating the happiest world possible.”

“At Charity International, we believe that change guided by utilitarianism. According to utilitarianism, all actions should be made in an effort to make the best possible consequences, not just about the consequences for us living now, but also for coming generations. For this reason, maintaining a healthy environment ranks high on our agenda. Other areas that we may put resources into are the fight against starvation, torture, animal abuse, and oppression.”

“In Charity, we wish to expand this way of thinking, so that as many people as possible will act responsibly and carefully, in order to create the greatest benefit for humans, animals, and the environment.”

The seminar participants then answered the following questions: Is this organization entrepreneurial? How would you formulate a mission for this organization? Will it be successful? Interestingly, 94% believed that the organization will fail.


The ghost of Schumpeter

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Cleetus posts

For many entrepreneurship researchers, Schumpeter is God and every now and then they meet and rub shoulders in the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society. The 13th ISS conference just ended in Denmark. Even though many of the paper titles are so pretentious that you know an economist came up with it there is some interesting stuff. Mark Knell, Norwegian Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education discusses whether Schumpeter is a Schumpeterian or not. Here is the abstract:

“To be Schumpeterian does not mean that the analysis follows directly from that of Schumpeter, but it should resemble the arguments made by Joseph Schumpeter in some way. Yet many of the ideas described as Schumpeterian are often far from what he actually said. This is especially the case with many ‘heterodox’ economists, mainly those interested in industrial organization, evolutionary theory, and economic development, who claim that Schumpeter makes a radical departure from mainstream neoclassical theory. But is it also the case among many ‘orthodox’ economists, mainly those that place Schumpeter in with contemporary neoclassical economists, which are different from the early neoclassical economist that influenced Schumpeter, such as Alfred Marshall, Karl Menger, and Léon Walras. Both groups see Schumpeter as being ‘evolutionary’ without much concern for what evolutionary really means beyond the idea that the technology changes over time. This essay will explore some important issues that are central to Schumpeter’s thought and are often described as Schumpeterian. It will focus in particular on the Walrasian foundations of Schumpeter’s thought and how he extended this theory to include changing technology and the role of finance in this process. A secondary focus will be placed on the idea of the entrepreneur as innovator and the manager as financier. The paper will also assess how important the Walrasian foundations are for his theory as well as other important influences on this thought.”

This paper point out the problem with equating social innovation with social entrepreneurship. Knell writes:

“Schumpeter specifically focused on what would happen when the technical alternatives would change without explain what makes it change”

Bubba and I both agree that in order to understand entrepreneurship we must look beyond the innovation and its outcomes. However, for Schumpeter the source of the innovation is some magic impulse that just hit people. Here is the entire paper.


What happens after?

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Bubba posts

The Kauffman Foundation is doing some interesting stuff on the role of entrepreneurship in post-conflict post -disaster environments. Schramm talks about it on PBS.