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Opinion

Owning a business doesn’t make you an economist

Someone recently that I was wrong about my take on business owners and workers because I don’t own a business.

Recently, I had someone comment on a thread of mine where I had been discussing inequity between business owners and workers. The person disagreed with some of the points I raised, and their final comment was for me to start a business then come back and talk to them.

Never mind that fact that I’ve been self-employed for over 8 years, am still paying off $40,000 in financing for a previous business, and that my current business is my 9th one. We’re going to ignore all that today.

What I want to know is what makes a business owner more knowledgeable about economic theory and labour theory than someone who isn’t a business owner?

I mean, if being a business owner means you inherently are great at understanding economics, why do so many businesses fail?

A Canadian study looking at new businesses between 2002 and 2014, for example, found that 27% of new businesses fail by their 5-year mark, and 57% of new businesses don’t make it past 10 years.

Surely, if business owners understand business simply by being business owners, as this commenter suggested—and to be fair, plenty of others have said the same thing to me—then it should be impossible for most of the people who start businesses to have their business fail.

Yet, here we are.

Look, like I said, I’m already self-employed. I manage my own finances (including my own business taxes). I’ve had to arrange my own business financing. I’ve had to manage inventory from multiple suppliers. I’ve had to procure business services from various vendors. I’ve taken classes in introductory marketing, international marketing, small business management, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and political economy.

Starting another company isn’t going to change my mind.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on municipal, provincial, and federal politics, specializing in investigative journalism and critical analysis from a leftist political lens. He also writes regular editorials on general politics and social issues.

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