Ask any minority sports fan and they’ll confirm that for their sport to survive it needs the oxygen of publicity to draw others to their passion. As business is the toughest ‘sport’ on the planet, where failure can cost you more than a medal, we in ISME believe that anything that helps promote business and entrepreneurship should be encouraged. Understanding business is vital before getting involved in business. The role of the public service and the taxes needed to run it comes under the same umbrella of understanding – someone has to pay for public services, they don’t just drop out of the sky.
The more people understand the basics of business and economics the more it demystifies the subject and the more people may be tempted to try their own hand at running an enterprise. There are nearly 200,000 SMEs in the country, a figure that grew by over 3,000 in the normally quiet month of August. Something or someone is helping drive the nation’s zeitgeist, making people want to take control of their own economic future by becoming entrepreneurs. Could that push be coming from the Irish Times Three?
In the last few weeks we’ve seen an article by social commentator and theatre critic Fintan O’Toole @fotoole about the need to raise more taxes to pay for our public services, Eamonn McCann @eamonderry , a columnist who has been consistent in calling for the socialist storming of the barricades since the heady days of 1968 but who this time diverted to discuss the role of markets in the economy and Karlin Lillington, @killington who wrote an excellent column about failure in business. We may not agree with much of what was written but at least it was about business.
There was the usual lack of rigour in arguments put forward. There was no discussion about the moral necessity for a public service to be efficient, to adopt technology, to cut out wasteful and expensive work practices. There was no acknowledgement that growth in the economy can obviate any need for growth in personal or business taxes to pay for expansion in services. Worryingly from the perspective of how the real economy works, there wasn’t a mention of the truism that the raising of taxes kills off the businesses and the jobs that feed the State apparatus.
Self-interest is at the heart of our commendation of the Irish Times Three. It’s partially because we want to see more people go into business because they’ll need to join our (not for profit!) business organisation. In fact if Messrs O’Toole and McCann, who regularly call for equity in all things, wanted to help the ISME campaign to get tax equity for self-employed risk takers and job creators, we’d be delighted to have their support.
But more importantly, ISME members are citizens of the Republic and we want our economy to prosper and the more people who take ownership of their own destinies; the harder they’ll work for themselves, then the greater the reward to the nation. There isn’t a social commentator, left or right, who doesn’t accept that meaningful paid work is a pathway out of poverty. Helping the creation of real work, not reckless featherbedding via nonsensical ‘job creation’, is the only way for an economy to prosper. And at ISME we believe that anything that stops work creation is both malevolent and misanthropic and should not be tolerated by those who want fairness in our society.
That is, as long as that wealth is not squandered by the dead hand of the State, whose propensity to do so is legendary. Now there’s a topic that we’d love to see discussed by the Irish Times Three. @irishtimes @irishtimesbiz @irishtimesoped