One of my students sent along an telling tale from Spain. It seems that when times get tough enough, 26% unemployment in the case of Spain, people become incredibly resourceful.
From the Taipei Times:
The crisis sparked by the collapse of Spain’s building boom had wiped out a lot of self-employed entrepreneurs: 625,000 between 2008 and 2011, said Lorenzo Amor, president of the small entrepreneurs’ association ATA.
Last year, however, as the unemployment rate climbed to record highs, their number grew for the first time in the five-year crisis, with 53,000 new registered self-employed, he said, citing government figures.
These entrepreneurs created 72,000 jobs, he added — just about the only sector to do generate any.
I have not been one to advocate taking economic lessons from the Europeans, but maybe this time we should be paying attention. While those in Washington are busy added layers and layers of new regulations, Spain is slashing regulations to try and encourage new start-ups that will begin to rebuild the Spanish economy.
The Spaniards remind us that it is entrepreneurs who lead us out of economic hard times, not government programs.