The Hard Realities of Entrepreneurship in a Global Economy
The power of entrepreneurs to “create jobs” is overblown: most entrepreneurs fail, and the vast majority of those who succeed create relatively few jobs. The vast majority of jobs are “created” by legacy companies—firms that have been in business for twenty-five years or more. Still, work in a globalized, digital economy has become increasingly fragmented and unstable. Centralized workplaces—be they factories or offices—are still with us, of course, but in declining numbers. Increasingly “noncore” work functions—be it IT or transportation, food delivery or janitorial services—are outsourced to contract providers, or in some cases sent off to be done in lower-cost locations. An increasing number of us are working independently, as freelancers and contract employees. So we find ourselves faced with the challenge of making a meaning of work in which the workplace itself plays a far less central role. In a sense, we are circling back to the time of the independent tradesman, farmer, and craftsman, and toward an economy in which our working identity relies less on any particular institution and more on our relationship to the work itself.