Austin Bay

Because their success or failure fundamentally depends on how they dynamically influence wealth creation, government economic policy and tax policy are second-order subjects. You wouldn't know that scanning political headlines.

Apparently Greece's government still doesn't understand that spurring entrepreneurial creativity is absolutely essential to economic recovery. In a recent Bloomberg View economics column, Megan Greene dismissed headlines touting a Greek turnaround. Greece's business operating environment "remains unattractive because of high levels of red tape, an unstable regulatory environment, an opaque legal system" and judicial corruption.

Greene's list of Greek business afflictions would resonate with Neuwirth's System D entrepreneurs. Rejecting poverty, they operate beyond the reach of crooked politicians levying confiscatory taxes. Rejecting poverty, they sidestep expensive legal business registration costs.

Fair bet The Great Recession and our onerous "authorized regulatory administrations" have vexed American debrouillards. Indeed, our System D has grown. In a recent New Yorker column, James Surowiecki asked why Americans didn't report $2 trillion in income to the IRS. Economist Edgar Feige mentioned red tape and distrust of government. Irked Americans want to avoid regulators' "elaborate hoops."

Surowiecki bewails lost tax revenue and the social hazards tagging underground economies. However, he is oh so reluctant to confront the source of Yankee debrouillard distrust: a self-serving political class overseeing self-serving administrative bureaucracies selectively enforcing a burdensome and opaque regulatory regime.

America isn't Greece. Not yet.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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