One advances the hypothesis that I have had for a long time. The second is an explanation for the current long economic doldrums.
In 1974 I started an organization with several other people called the Briarpatch Network. This was a network of hundreds of small hippie startups in a nearly infinite range of businesses. It began as people who came to meet me in a wharf office I had set up shortly after publishing the Seven Laws of Money. Hippies came to me because they knew that I understood finance and that I was sympathetic to their interests. Along with the first coordinator and many subsequent coordinators of the Briarpatch, we built an organization that rapidly reached 600 members and remained at about that size for the next ten years. I would say that our membership was well over 1000 small businesses. Over that period of time there were 5000 to 6000 employees.
It has been my hypothesis that this explosion of small businesses was the source of the very rapid growth of America from the late 1980s until the early 2000's. The hippies learned from me and from each other that the best way to start a business is to cooperate with everyone else in that business and nearby businesses. Cooperation was a very hippie value that gave us nearly 90% success rate for business startups over a five year period. That compared to a 10% success rate among non-hippies businesses.
I know that the Briarpatch methodology of cooperation among start-ups worked because I duplicated the pattern in Sweden starting in 1980.
I think this chart in some ways is a reflection of the hippie interest in starting businesses and the Briarpatch success model that was widely imitated.
The second issue is that the hippies maintained a very optimistic view of what they could do in the world and what their impact on the future would be. This led them to start businesses and led them to start innovative, imaginative businesses.
It is my contention that this optimism is necessary for business startups to be abundant and that this business optimism has been on the wane for the past 15 or so years. Partly due to politics, meaning the Democratic Party, and certainly due to local hostility to commerce evident in the mistreatment of Uber and AirB&B as well as the horrible enactment of a rising minimum wage.
If my hypothesis is correct we will not see rapid economic growth again in the U.S. until we see an optimistic pro-business, pro-commerce climate. The kind one finds in Israel.