WSJ: The Entrepreneurial Way to 4% Growth

NOVEMBER 16, 2016

This week more than 160 countries are celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Kauffman Foundation, which I once led, created this event eight years ago to encourage other nations to follow the American tradition of bottom-up economic success. Yet this example has been less powerful in recent years, as American entrepreneurship has waned. Fortunately, President-elect Donald Trump has plenty of options if he wants to resurrect America’s startup economy.

SYRACUSE.ORG: Carl Schramm on leadership: Make sure your employees know their work is meaningful


SEPTEMBER 21, 2014

Were you in leadership positions growing up?
"I didn't have particular ambitions in that direction.

Generally, people have liked working for me, because I try to make their work meaningful. I'll tell you exactly where that happened. In my sophomore year at Le Moyne, I worked at the State Office Building. I was an engineer intern for the summer.
They were building the interstate. My job was at a big drafting table figuring out how much dirt had to be moved through a part of Cortland County. It was colossally boring work.

Quitting time was like 4:30. The entire floor would form this huge semicircle of maybe 200 people at the elevators around 4:15. So I knew I wasn't by myself -- everybody hated their jobs. I told an uncle who was influential: This is the worst work I could imagine. I'm going to quit.

I got transferred to the division of canals and waterways. It was like going from hell to heaven, because you got a boat and you worked with field engineers. I learned about engineering and surveying.

I said to myself, if I am ever the boss, people are going to love their jobs, because this type of stuff doesn't have to happen. In my family, achieving college was everything. For the first time, after my freshman year, I thought holy smokes! This is what happens if you go to college? I want interesting work, and it scared me to death.

There was no sense of "We're building safe roads, we're building beautiful roads, we're building roads that will endure for centuries." There was no sense of what you were doing.

That was a searing moment."

FORBES: Why Immigration Is Crucial To The Revival Of America's Cities

JUNE 1, 2014

A few years ago I stopped to have dinner in Porretta Terme, a small river town in the Romagna region of Italy. One of the restaurant’s five tables was occupied by four men talking business. They spoke in English with four different accents. When I asked them where they were from, they proudly announced “Chicago.” One, who was born in South Africa, asked where I was born. When I said Syracuse he declared “That’s the Porretta Terme” of America!”

Harvard Business Review: Expanding the Entrepreneur Class

july-august 2012 issue

The world needs more entrepreneurs: They make innovation real and advance what Brink Lindsey, of the Kauffman Foundation, has called the “frontier economy.” If their ranks are too thin, it is a failure of society—particularly because the knowledge and skills of a successful entrepreneur can be taught.

WSJ: Teaching Entrepreneurship Gets an Incomplete

MAY 6, 2014

Many colleges and universities across the country offer courses and programs in "entrepreneurship." Are they worthwhile? Entrepreneurship is apparently an occupational category now, yet when it comes to judging the value of what they teach, its practitioners are flying blind. They and their students could learn a lot from how the medical field evolved.

WSJ: An Irish Wish for St. Patrick's Day

MARCH 16, 2012

It's sometimes said that everyone's a bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day. But this St. Patrick's Day the Irish economy wouldn't turn anyone green with envy. Unemployment is near 15%, emigration is rising and taxes have gone up as the government in Dublin attempts to live under the austerity the EU and IMF demanded in exchange for a 2010 bailout of its banks.

WSJ: After the Revolution, Economic Reform

FEBRUARY 2, 2011

The street protests in Tunisia and elsewhere in the region are momentous not just for the Arab world but have the potential to foreshadow a brighter economic future for the globe. The protesters' basic message is not to stifle the economic aspirations of the younger generation, especially one as well-educated as Tunisia's. Shackle them at your own peril.

WSJ: Afghanistan's Most Important Natural Resource

JUNE 17, 2010

Recent reports that Afghanistan holds roughly $1 trillion in mineral resources has sparked a wave of strategizing on how NATO forces can help stimulate the extractive industries as a way to stabilize the country. But to pin the country's economic hopes squarely on the iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium believed to lie within its soil reflects a serious lack of imagination.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Expeditionary Economics


The United States' experience with rebuilding economies in the aftermath of conflicts and natural disasters has evidenced serious shortcomings. After seven years of a U.S. presence in Iraq and over nine years in Afghanistan, the economies of those countries continue to falter and underperform. Meanwhile, the damage caused by the earthquake in Haiti early this year revealed deep economic problems, ones that had confronted earlier U.S. efforts to boost Haiti's economy, and they will plague reconstruction efforts there for a long while. Economic growth is critical to establishing social stability, which is the ultimate objective of these counterinsurgency campaigns and disaster-relief efforts. Various obstacles, such as insurgencies and inadequacies in infrastructure, have made economic development difficult in these countries, of course, but these difficulties cannot be blamed exclusively on such obstacles. A central element in the failure to establish robust economies in war-torn or disaster-stricken countries is the prevailing doctrine of international development, according to which strong economies cannot emerge in poor countries.

WSJ: New Business, Not Small Business, Is What Creates Jobs

NOVEMBER 6, 2009

While a slight improvement over last month's numbers, today's employment update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics presents a dismal picture for American workers. As policy makers search for the best remedies to strengthen our economic performance, they can't afford to overlook new firms and young firms.

WSJ: Schumpeter's Moment

MAY 29, 2009

We continue to be in the middle of a frightening economic drama, one that is putting the core tenets of modern capitalism at the center of the global debate. That is an important debate to have, considering that the fundamental assumptions of modern economics -- that governments have appropriately designed counter-cyclical tools, that central banks are omnipotent, that the business cycle has been tamed and that our securities markets have finally rationalized risk -- have been shattered.

WSJ: Where Companies Grow

DECEMBER 4, 2008

The world sorely needs an economic revival. Where will it come from? If history is any guide, entrepreneurs will help lead the way. The truly radical or disruptive technologies and business processes that drive economic prosperity -- whether in information technology so far, or in clean energy in the years to come -- are most likely to be commercialized by entrepreneurial firms.

WSJ: Phelp's Prize

January 29, 2017

The Nobel Prize lectures given last month by the economics and the peace laureates strikingly emphasized entrepreneurship. But the kinds of entrepreneurship espoused by the laureates are profoundly different. The economist Edmund Phelps's lecture highlights the contribution of entrepreneurial individuals, firms and financiers in transforming stagnant societies dominated by small-business owners into dynamic economies with large and highly productive commercial enterprise.

Foreign Affairs: Building Entrepreneurial Economies

July/August 2004 Issue

The United States, using its own direct-aid programs and its influence over development agencies, has encouraged other nations to adopt the features and institutions of post-Cold War American capitalism. But this approach -- the so-called Washington consensus -- has often yielded disappointing results. Many economies in Latin America, eastern Europe, and elsewhere are stagnant or backsliding, and most of the world's poorest economies show few signs of new life. Going forward, the American economic model should not be abandoned, as some development economists advocate, but it must be improved. The current template is incomplete. In particular, it fails to reproduce a vital element of the U.S. economy: support for entrepreneurship.