Cultures of Entrepreneurship, East and West

by Samuel R. Staley

President Obama and his progressive political brethren seem to be taking the U.S. closer and closer to the European model of a managed economy and welfare state, but those moves may be very much out of sync with America’s basic entrepreneurial economic culture. Indeed, we should probably look to the Far East to find cultures with similar affinities for entrepreneurship and the innovation and creativity it breeds. Not Japan, but China.

At least, that’s a plausible interpretation from poll data reported in the June 2011 issue of the American Enterprise Institute’s Political Report. Like Americans, the Chinese are significantly more positive about entrepreneurship’s role in the economy, more willing to start a business in the face of risk, and more active in starting up their own businesses. Also, Chinese and Americans, unlike their European counterparts, believe their schools have equipped them to strike out on their entrepreneurial own, instilling a positive view toward initiative, giving them skills to start a business, and presenting a positive role for entrepreneurs in the economy. Xie xie, AEI.