Chapter 7: Entrepreneurship, crisis, critique
Critique starts out from a puzzlement, a bemusement. When it comes to critique of entrepreneurship, here is our puzzle: how is it that our masters think? What, indeed, were they thinking? And what will they think of next? We know how they act – we see it every day. And we hear how they talk, as if in control of vast abilities, while at the same time hapless victims of the dictates of necessities that we could not possibly have the minds to grasp. This situation was understood many years ago by Max Horkheimer, who identified exactly this oscillation. ‘At the heart of the freedom and seeming originality of the entrepreneur’ he wrote, we find equally ‘an acceptance of the blind power of chance’ (1972: 82). He continues: This dependence of the entrepreneur, arising out of the irrational character of the economic process, is manifested in a helplessness before deepening crises and a universal perplexity even among the leaders of the economy. Bankers, manufacturers, and merchants, as the characteristic literature of recent centuries shows, have completely divested themselves of humility. But simultaneously they have come to experience social reality as a superordinate but blind power. (Horkheimer, 1972: 82) Today we seem again to be at the will of blind necessity in a time of crisis. First and foremost, the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent recession, global economic and national debt crises that followed.
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