Saturday, August 16, 2008

Social Entrepreneurs & Business Friendly States

1) Quoted in the front page of this new book is a truism I—and all the folks who read history—have known about for some time, which is: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable men.” (George Bernard Shaw).

The book is The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World, and it appears, though I haven’t read it yet, to be documenting that those persistent and often unreasonable folks who just won’t give up on a problem they see worthy of attacking (they are my favorite kind of people) are those leaders vitally needed by our culture to jump in and tackle the problems most people would just prefer to ignore, but they refuse to.

2) As a capitalistic country, and as one of the most innovative states in that country, California should be among the leaders in its appeal to business, but it is just the opposite. Because of all the various forms of anti-capitalistic rhetoric and legislation that has been a staple of our fair state for a few decades, California is becoming anathema to business; and that is not a very good thing.

It also appears that the states with the most hostile business environment also are now having the most dismal budget problems…a connection…you think?

This article looks at that, and here is an excerpt.

“Shortly after he was confirmed as governor of New York earlier this year, David Paterson told a group of business executives that when he received congratulations from old friends he hadn’t heard from in years, he was surprised how many no longer lived in New York. "All of them basically said the same thing," Paterson told the group. "'Good luck in New York state, but we can't pay the taxes. The opportunities aren't there.'”

“After that experience, Paterson presumably can understand the complaints of corporate executives recently surveyed by Development Counsellors International, which advises companies on where to locate their facilities. More than four in ten of them have ranked New York as the worst state to do business in--second only to California in unfavorable mentions. The most common gripes included high taxes and anti-business regulations. Joining New York and California on the list of most unpopular states were New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.

“The DCI study, coming as it did amidst growing talk of state fiscal crises around the country, is particularly revealing. Of the approximately $48 billion in accumulated budget shortfalls that the 29 states with projected deficits are facing, $33 billion, or two-thirds of the gap, is concentrated in those five states considered by corporate executives to be the least friendly to business. Meanwhile, among the five states ranked as having the best business environment, Texas and North Carolina have no projected budget gaps, and Georgia, Tennessee and Florida are facing shortfalls amounting to about $4.1 billion, or less than one-tenth of the states’ total.”