“More Americans, 42%, say they are financially worse off now than they were a year ago, reversing the lower levels found over the past two years,” Gallup announced Wednesday. _DC
Americans also told Gallup that the government and an economy closely tied to government, are their greatest worries.
More on the popular perception of government as threat from ZeroHedge:
This perception is a rational one, given the massive level of spending by the current government, with none of the promised benefits to the economy or the employment picture.
This is precisely the situation which Al Fin predicted over 5 years ago, when Obama was first elected. Worryingly, the problem is far worse than the public understands.
Dozens of millions of Americans have given up on the economy and jobs market. Some have turned to early retirement, others to disability claims, and still others have tried to start their own businesses — both legitimate and otherwise.
For those who want to work for themselves, here are some things to remember:
Here is a list of 10 features of enterprise that entrepreneurs exhibit or discover in the course of their great adventures.
1. Business starts with the desire to do something wonderful, not just to make money. This seems to be a universal trait. But it flies in the face of nearly all propaganda you hear about capitalism, which is supposed to be based on greed and material acquisition. Actually it is rooted in the desire to make the world a better place, and you can tell it in the voices of these achievers. Profits are the sign and the seal of a job well done, but not the driving motivation. The dream is what entrepreneurs chase.
2. Most people will tell you a million reasons why you will fail. Before jumping in to make a business, these people will typically survey their friends. Their friends always warn against it. No one will want that product. Someone already offers that product. That’s way too risky and it won’t work. Why not get a regular job like everyone else?
Finally, the person realizes that he or she has to go it alone.
3. All businesses face the universal terror of uncertainty of the future. The only certainty we have is in looking back at history, at the stuff that already unfolded. What tomorrow will bring is guesswork. You can get close. You can make forecasts. But in the end, humanity is fickle and unpredictable.
And by the way, every single business faces the same ghastly reality of uncertainty. They are all rock climbing with blindfolds on, feeling their way up as they go.
4. You can’t really know the market until you test the market. Of course you do market surveys. You ask friends. You look for other examples of success. You follow your own instincts. But surveys, examples, and instincts can’t substitute for the live test in which you are asking people to give up their stuff for your stuff. Every success seems like a no-brainer in retrospect (“Of course people want to buy books online”), but this is wholly illusory. You never really know until you try.
5. All entrepreneurs are maniacally focused on serving others. This also contradicts the conventional wisdom that business is mainly self-interested. That cannot be true because the whole impetus of business is to seek out the interests, desires, and motivations of others. It’s the only way to discern the path to success. The consumer is king, and the entrepreneur serves.
6. Every business needs dreamers and accountants. The dreamers are the people who imagine a future that doesn’t yet exist, a configuration of the world that is different from today. They take nothing and make something of it. That requires a wild imagination.
But more is needed to make any project work. Your balance sheet, along with someone who can skillfully manage and interpret it, is essential. The accountant is always the one with the bad news.
7. Don’t try to start from scratch. One of many benevolent gifts of capitalism is that it offers us examples of success. These examples are publicly available to be studied and understood. The best entrepreneurs know how to copy success and then improve the model on the margin, just enough to cause a switch in consumer loyalty or recruit new consumers. You can’t be shy about this. Great business people “steal” ideas; ideas are part of the commons.
8. No matter how digital the service or product is, success comes only peer-to-peer. Internet successes do not think of their customers as nodes but as people who need love and care. Nor are customers cash cows; they are real people with real needs and must be treated as such. All appeals are personal appeals. All marketing speaks to individuals.
9. Enterprise is an incredible amount of grueling work. To be an entrepreneur means to be all in. There is no time off. Nothing takes priority, especially in the start-up period. You need fanaticism, a near-maniacal devotion to making sure that all that can go right will go right. Nothing is assumed, ever. These people know that their odds are never in their favor. So they must apply themselves as never before.
10. You never finally win. Enterprise is not like a board game with a beginning and an end. Every day the struggle starts anew. Every season might be your last. And it gets ever harder because the more you succeed, the more people will copy you. They let you do the test run, then copy your methods, tweaking them to enhance efficiency or reduce costs. There is no “final release” in business—not in any business that plans to stay alive.
Source: Casey Research
There are many economic uncertainties regarding the near and intermediate future. The US stock market is being artificially inflated by $trillions pumped into an artificial stimulatory process overseen by large governmental, inter-governmental, and private international financial institutions, along with the planet’s very wealthy. You cannot use stock prices to gauge the health of the US economy at this time.
From the perspective of more and more Americans, the US economy is doing badly. But it would be in much worse shape if not for the fracking shale revolution taking place from Texas to North Dakota to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Low natural gas prices have stimulated US manufacturing to some degree, and have freed up funds for other spending for a wide range of businesses and private households. An increasing number of European industries are looking to the US as a location for new factories, as a result of cheaper energy prices.
US oil & gas production has been increasing so rapidly, that many analysts are concerned about the prospects of anoil glut in the short to intermediate term. The linked article discusses some of the global financial ramifications, should such a glut occur.
The reduction of US dependency on overseas oil producers is causing some thinkers to mull over the possibility of “autarky,” a type of “anti-globalism.” Is it possible for energy-rich nations such as Canada, Australia, and the US to “go it alone,” if they had to? More below:
That does not seem to be Obama’s plan for the US. Rather, Obama seems to want to turn the US into a disarmed protectorate of the United Nations, presumably with himself as Secretary-General for life.
Now that Iran has been given tacit US approval to move ahead with its nuclear weapons program, global proliferation across MENA and Central Asia is likely to pick up. Nuclear weapons combined with religious delirium and brutal third world tribalism make a volatile mix.
You might think about clearing a patch of land for a garden this year, if you haven’t already. And rather than giving away all of your fresh grown produce to friends or relatives, consider learning various ways to preserve food.
Al Fin continues to advise readers to hope for the best, but to prepare for the worst.
More: Don’t miss Nick Land’s Prognoses for 2014
Meanwhile on the university front:
Who would want a PhD in Humanities or Social Science? Jobless, indoctrinated, and deeper in debt.