There is a television show on ABC called Shark Tank. It started in 2009 and is still on the air now. It provides some great lessons in business and entrepreneurship. Inventors, business owners, and budding entrepreneurs get to pitch their business/ idea to the “sharks”. There are usually 5 sharks, all of whom have had their own share of success.
The person(s) pitching their idea/ product will usually ask the sharks for money, typically in exchange for part ownership. The people presenting their idea are usually looking for capital to develop and market their product, along with the expertise of the sharks. The sharks will then give their own offers, which can often include not being interested.
While they are called “sharks”, and it can get a little hot under the collar, it is really a two-way street. The parties are looking to come to a deal. The sharks want to make money. They are putting up their own money to take a risk. They want the reward to be worth it. If the person(s) presenting their idea doesn’t like any of the offers, they can just walk away.
I generally like the show. I’m not sure how much of it is staged, but it is still good entertainment. It also teaches valuable lessons about creativity, negotiations, marketing, entrepreneurship, and business in general. It is a good real-life lesson on the free market.
I wonder how well the show would do in other countries. I suppose it would depend on where.
Most people on this planet want to make money. They understand that it represents wealth. Most people desire a higher standard of living. But it is interesting that entrepreneurship is not looked at with the same enthusiasm in other parts of the world.
While there is a lot of red tape and a major overabundance of obstructive government (at all levels) in the U.S., there still remains a strong spirit of entrepreneurship. I know it seems like there is a lot of class warfare, particularly with all of the talk about taxing the rich. However, most Americans really do not look down on people who are creative and looking to make it rich, as long as it is being done honestly. Bailing out financial institutions on Wall Street does not represent free market capitalism, so there is some legitimacy in not liking the rich, at least for a certain class of the rich.
Americans take for granted that not all of the rest of the world is like this. In some parts of the world, being successful and wealthy is not necessarily something to be proud of. It is the culture. While people look to make money, the poor people are always looking down on the rich people. Perhaps it is because they know they have little shot of ever becoming rich themselves. In America, it is possible for nearly anyone to go from rags to riches, even if it is made more difficult by big government.
The fact that Shark Tank is a successful show should tell us something. Americans still like to see a good rags-to-riches story. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is something to be proud of. The entrepreneur spirit is still alive and well in America. That is why I think America will lead the way towards greater liberty in the 21st century. Overbearing government has not killed the American spirit yet and I don’t believe it will.