What happened to America’s nerve? The US has long prided itself on its gumption, its pluck, its dynamism. But risk-taking is out, the Wall Street Journal reports, and that doesn’t bode well for our economy:
Three long-running trends suggest the U.S. economy has turned soft on risk: Companies add jobs more slowly, even in good times. Investors put less money into new ventures. And, more broadly, Americans start fewer businesses and are less inclined to change jobs or move for new opportunities. […]In 1982, new companies—those in business less than five years—made up roughly half of all U.S. businesses, according to census data. By 2011, they accounted for just over a third. Over the same period, the share of the labor force working at new companies fell to 11% from more than 20%.
The problems likely start in childhood. Our school system is designed to create confirmist and approval-seeking kids. This makes for risk-averse children whose self-esteem is grounded in paper credentials and the approval of their elders. Plus, these days the kids often come out of college with such heavy loads of debt that risk is the last thing they can think about.There are many good things about the US educational system, but it is not the system that we need today. These signs of risk-aversion are further confirmation of that.[Childproofing image courtesy of Shutterstock]