By Michael L. Brown – Founder, CEO, and Director of Development of Brown Developmental and MAG-NET MEDIA HUB, LTD.
On December 18, 2011, I was “googling” the phrase “Economic Engine” — a phrase that I have often used in describing the economic development solution that I have been working to bring to market for 8 years — and I soon found myself reading a blog post by Dr. Jeff Cornwall of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee… entitled “The Hidden Economic Engine”. (Click Here to access Dr. Cornwall’s post.)
To summarize: Dr. Cornwall was basically saying that unemployment figures may not necessarily be as high as we might think they are — (Dr. Cornwall cited the official number of the U.S. federal government of 9%, and offered his actual estimation of 16%) — due to the “Underground Economy” and “Black Market Economy”, where entrepreneurs are pretty much just operating on an untraceable cash basis, possibly for themselves, and/or for those that they employ.
Dr. Cornwall references an article by Robert Neuwirth in Foreign Policy magazine, entitled “The Shadow Superpower” (Click Here to access that article) that “investigates the $10 trillion global underground economy, which is also becoming known as System D.”
“By 2020, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects, two-thirds of the workers of the world will be employed in System D. There’s no multinational, no Daddy Warbucks or Bill Gates, no government that can rival that level of job creation. Given its size, it makes no sense to talk of development, growth, sustainability, or globalization without reckoning with System D.”
I found both the article by Robert Neuwirth, and the post of Dr. Cornwall, to be quite interesting, because while we all know that the underground economy exists, and we can all sense that it is in a state of high growth following the continuing economic turbulence since 2007″ (dare we call it collectively the beginning of a “Depression” yet, regardless of how the so-called “economics experts” define it?) — but to sense that the growth of this unregulated, off-the-grid, segment of society was somehow being applauded… was simply somewhat of a new experience for me.
In response to Dr. Cornwall’s post, I offered the following comment:
“The tone in your post, Dr. Cornwall, hints at the idea that you are supportive of the proliferation of the underground economy, and that everything will be okay if entrepreneurs are simply left to their own devices, regardless of what the government does, or does not do. But to think that the government will simply get out of the way of entrepreneurs, and allow them to circumvent registration requirements and existing federal, state, and local tax laws — regardless of whether or not they are creating jobs for people who need them — is a gross underestimation of the tenacity of our government’s will to exert control (through regulation) over all forms of commerce.
Governmental regulation turns entrepreneurs who choose to operate outside of said tenets, into dishonest “criminals” that must spin webs of deceit and constantly look over their shoulders, in order to hide their activities from their governments… and it shouldn’t have to be that way. Therefore, we can’t simply embrace the idea of supporting the wholesale proliferation of an underground or black market economy. — We can’t just say “Okay, government. Do your worst, because you’re too inept or unprepared to enforce your regulations anyway.” — We can’t (as entrepreneurs and citizens) simply adopt a “Catch me if you can!” mentality, and forget the fact that our governments are supposed to be representative of us (meaning all of us) as a collective, and that we all have a “responsibility” to do everything in our power to 1.) abide by established regulations, and 2.) influence positive change within the system, wherever it is needed.
It may indeed be an up-hill battle, but as entrepreneurs and citizens, it is a battle that we must continuously be prepared to fight, because the alternative pushes us further into the realm of chaos and anarchy.
I’m just saying that the vast majority of entrepreneurs don’t want to operate outside of the law — and though we occasionally may find ourselves having to do so in order to survive — we need to maintain a mindset of putting in the work required, to affect positive change within the various regulatory systems.”
Now, you can think what you want. You can call me naieve… You can say that my views on this subject are not in tune with the realities on the ground. — That our governments are too jaded… — Too full of politicians beholden to big business, special interests, and political lobbyists… — That regardless of what we might say or do, that the political and regulatory behemoths behind the Federal U.S. Government, and each of the state and local governments, can not be swayed from their desire to control EVERYTHING that happens within their jurisdictions — both commercial and private.
I’m just saying that when Thomas Jefferson wrote that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”, he was not only referring to revolution in it’s most extreme and violent form, but merely to the fact that sometimes you simply have to take action and stand up, make yourself heard, and try to affect positive legislative and regulatory change, in a peaceful manner, as part of that process… — And that that too is part of every patriot’s responsibility, in his fight to preserve freedom for all… — And so we shouldn’t forget it regardless of what we have to do and endure, within our current economic climate.
Break the law as an entrepreneur if you have to, in order to survive… but don’t applaud it, and don’t become satisfied with the idea that that is the only way. Remember your responsibility to try to affect positive change within the system, so that the system can be improved for everyone’s benefit.
Remember — The government belongs to “The People”, and is supposed to be representative of, and working for, “The Good of the People”. So, do your part, and do everything you can, to make the government do it’s job right.
Michael L. Brown is the Founder, CEO, and Director of Development of Brown Developmental and MAG-NET MEDIA HUB, LTD. He is a self-educated expert in business development, strategic planning, economics, and marketing, and has more than 25-years of professional business and operations efficiency experience, along with a keen insight and 8 years of R&D experience in economic development.
Through the MAG-NET MEDIA HUB’S Geographic-Based MAG-NET LOCAL System, he seeks to bring “A New Economic Engine for a New Economic Age” to the World, and is also available for consulting projects and speaking engagements. To inquire as to his availability for your project or event, send a request for more information to firstname.lastname@example.org
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