What If Atlas Shrugs?

It’s interesting to hear how much election conversation centers around what the elected will do to “fix” the economy. That line of conversation is seeded by the politicians, watered by their followers, and fertilized by an uninformed (or worse, misinformed) public.

The public buys into politicians the same way they buy into characters on a TV show (maybe not such a bad analogy, as politics seems mostly to be “American Idol” in suits).

Now hear this: politicians will not “fix” the economy. Only entrepreneurs can do that.

The best thing the politicians can do is get out of the way.

If you want Atlas to carry the world for you, don't keep nipping at his hamstrings. He might decide to shrug.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Serge Grenier

    If entrepreneurs want to «fix the economy», they better clean up their act, because they don't have a much better track record than politicians in my opinion. Behind every military conflict there is a commercial conflict. Most of the pollution is due to greedy entrepreneur who don't give a shit about the environment. Tell me one good thing entrepreneurs have done recently.

    Serge grenier

    • Provided you with a paycheck to pay for your Internet connection so you could share your uninformed opinion on my blog.

      Ray Edwards

      • Serge Grenier

        I'm self employed since 1981, I earn my own paycheck. I build mission critical software for small and medium size enterprises, so I know very well how businesses and human minds work. And I've read Ayn Rand long ago, but never agreed completely with her view of the situation. I've seen many cases where the business is still running thanks to the employees defending the enterprise against an incompetent boss. Not all entrepreneurs are bad of course, but they certainly can't «fix the economy» without 1. the people and 2. the state. If no customers, no business. If no state, each company print their own money, each company has its own police and army and we come to complete chaos and anarchy. If entrepreneurs want to quit, I don't care : contrary to Ayn Rand, I think the world would just go on fine without them (maybe even better).

        • I they just quit, the businesses that support out economy would vanish. Some quickly, some over time. But vanish (fail) they would. Then what would we do for trade? Start swapping sheep and crops again? Head back to the desert where we guard water wells and chop off one another's heads with swords?

          • Serge Grenier

            The point I wanted to make was simply that society works because of all of us, not only because of entrepreneurs. To make the point, I may have gone overboard and put all entrepreneurs in the same boat. Sorry, if I hurt some feelings. But I still believe that we, the population, grow the foods, build the houses, make the roads, etc. Some of the people work as coordinators, some work more with their hands, but in the whole, it is team work. If the person who acts as the coordinator wants to leave, we'll put another one and that's all. Even though everyone is important, nobody is irreplacable. Entrepreneurs are not less, but not more important than the others. This is my opinion.

          • I appreciate your graciousness – no offense taken. Just lively discussion.

    • I think it's fair to say that there are criminals in both politics and business. Hard to pin the blame on any one group of people.

      • There are of course criminals on both sides. But that was not the topic of this post – and it IS easy to assign responsibility where it clearly lies.

        Ray Edwards

  • Perry Musseau

    Hi Ray,

    There is a lot of truth in your post….but your gives the impression that polititians have no roll….well of course they do, its what they are supposed to do but almost never do, they are supposed to provide the rules, the parameters that us entrepeneurs operate within, so that things like the banking crisis dosn't happen (oops-sorry, we were busy getting out of the way & letting the banks do their thing) & the oil disaster (ah, oops again, we were busy getting out of the way & making sure there aren't too many regulations in the way of the oil companies)
    So yes we do need the politicians…we ned them to do the job we elect them to do, which is to look after the overall good of society, because us entrepeneurs have a tendency to do really, really stupid things sometimes.

    Perry Musseau

    • Politicans were completely in the way which is precisely why those events occured. Had they been doing their jobs instead of meddling with/cuddling with the banks and oil companies those breeches of responsibility may not have happened.

      Ray Edwards

  • Or, from another point of view, “What if God destroys Mystery Babylon?”

    • Well now that's a larger framework but it doesn't change my point, as I believe my point fits within that framework.

      Ray Edwards

  • dom mcfarland

    A.S. stays with you. I have read it several times over the years; I read it when it first came out and am still digesting and considering.
    I don’t know how anyone can read the table of contents and not get hooked by the chapter titles alone.
    I am a Body worker and when the issues come up for consideration during a session, they exert a positive and guiding influence on the quality of our results.
    Don McFarland

  • Ray…that was a short and powerful point you made! And from my experience (and I'm talking decades of real world personal experience here, not to mention the centuries of giants of industry that have graced my life in one form or another, past and present), the majority of entrepreneurs deeply care and would relish more business and to do their part, even if they themselves are unaware of their impact on the economy.

    Unfortunately, entrepreneurs are taking the brunt of politics and we are witnessing the results today. That's just my $13 trillion worth of input… 😉

  • Deanp

    Ayn Rand Rules and you are correct – small business is what creates the majority of jobs! Give tax breaks where needed and get people working! We (entreprenuers) create things out of NOTHING!

    • Question is, how much of what we create will we let them take (steal) from us before we say, “Enough!”

  • Ray – As to your main point, I fully agree that entrepreneurs create jobs, not politicians. But in order for entrepreneurs to be able to “fix” the economy, there has to be a sound money system. Unless and until the money system is fixed, it will be impossible to truly fix the economy.

    • Politicians can't fix that either. Only a king can do that job.

      Ray Edwards

      • Agreed. You'd think that we'd have honest money after 6,000 years of human history. So long as humans are making the rules, I don't think it's possible.

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  • Dan Tredo

    Its amazing how often we keep forgetting this truth. The nanny state is killing us. Free enterprise, free markets, and less government are always the best formula for prosperity and greatness.