Wednesday, 30 December 2009

HMS Enterprise?

Whatever the taxation arguments, the John Redwood post was really about enterpreneurialism.
Many people, and respondents on his blog, get confused between enterprise and entrepreneurialism. Essentially enterprise is a quality that most of us possess to one degree or another. Very few people though possess entrepreneurialism. To be an entrepreneur you need to see things in a new way. To spot the inefficiency or the opportunity for a new good or service. You need to be really creative.
This differentiation between enterprise and entrepreneurialism is evident in the employment statistics. About 4 million workers are self employed. But very few of those actually created a new business based on a new product or service idea. Many just do what they did for an employer on their own account.
Entrepreneurs are those that disturb the steady state economy and send it off in a new direction. Enterprising people are not necessarily entrepreneurs, but they can be very successful, and excellent job creators in their own field.
The point of this ramble is that it is genuinely possible to teach people to be enterprising, you just need self belief, energy and ambition; but much more difficult, and I contend not really possible, to teach entrepreneurialism.
The root of our problem is an education system designed to create bureaucratic jobsworths and to supply supplicant and pliable cannon fodder into the maw of the bureaucratic state. It also has the added benefit of not creating people who will challenge the bureaucracy.
I was fortunate I went to one of the last true Grammar Schools. Loads of Old Boys of that school showed enterprise and some genuine entrepreneurialism.
So if you want more enterprise, liberate education. Trouble is the turn round round time for the UK is therefore generational, not just a couple of years.
(This is an edited version of a comment made on Mark Wadsworth's blog here)

And Happy New Year to You...

Well, that's it. Just been told by a contact that the Inland Revenue is not negotiating on tax payments for businesses and the self employed. Pay up now or that's it. 'Course they aren't. One, Brown has run out of our money and two, someone has to pay the IR staff. After all they don't pay any income tax themselves, do they?
Income tax is a terrible thing. It was foist upon as as a con job by a long past government probably to pay for a war on the basis that it would only apply to the 'rich'. But of course once out there the temptation of politicians to creep downwards with the limits was all too tempting until we now have the situation that even someone on minimum wage pays income tax. (Note. I do not support the idea of a minimum wage.)
And as far as State jobsworths is concerned it is just part of the mad money go round of the bureaucratic state. Since, as PAYE, income tax is a tax on employment it is the IR - part of HMG - that pays the employees tax, not the employee. And just where did the IR (or HMG) get the money to pay its employees? Yup, from the workers adding real value in the real economy. So the IR collects money from us, pays some of it to their employees and keeps back the rest. In other words it is just a saving on the employment cost of the state employee, as opposed to a cost for all of us private business employers. On top of that the profligacy of their pension benefits, at a cost of between 20% to 30% of salary roll means that this saving to us, wealth creators, is simply swallowed up in funding (or not fully funding) extremely generous pensions to state employees.
This mad money go round exposes the inequity of income tax. One, no state employee pays it. And two, it is a destroyer of employment in the non government employment sector - private business. On top of my New Year wish list is the announcement that one or other party recognises the massive unfairness and destructive nature of Income tax and will make an absolute commitment to abolish it by a certain time, say five years hence.
A first step is the introduction of a flat tax at a rate of about 20% starting at a higher threshold of about £15,000.
It won't happen. Will it?