Saturday, February 7, 2009

One Solution To Joblessness: Be Your Own Boss

With all the highly educated jobless and career-less professionals out there, it makes me wonder why there isn't more discussion about starting your own business.
It presents its own challenges, but in the end, can be extremely rewarding.

Let's face it folks! The glory days of the corporation are over. They will still exist, but the times of viewing them as demi-gods or "persons" will seize to exist certainly by the middle of the 21st century.

In the United States, government chartering began to fall out of vogue in the mid-1800s. Corporate law at the time was focused on protection of the public interest, and not on the interests of corporate shareholders. Corporate charters were closely regulated by the states. Forming a corporation usually required an act of legislature. Investors generally had to be given an equal say in corporate governance, and corporations were required to comply with the purposes expressed in their charters. Many private firms in the 19th century avoided the corporate model for these reasons (Andrew Carnegie formed his steel operation as a limited partnership, and John D. Rockefeller set up Standard Oil as a trust). Eventually, state governments began to realize the greater corporate registration revenues available by providing more permissive corporate laws. New Jersey was the first state to adopt an "enabling" corporate law, with the goal of attracting more business to the state. Delaware followed, and soon became known as the most corporation-friendly state in the country after New Jersey raised taxes on the corporations, driving them out. New Jersey reduced these taxes after this mistake was realized, but by then it was too late; even today, most major public corporations are set up under Delaware law.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, government policy on both sides of the Atlantic began to change, reflecting the growing popularity of the proposition that corporations were riding the economic wave of the future. In 1819, the U.S. Supreme Court granted corporations a plethora of rights they had not previously recognized or enjoyed via Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819). Corporate charters were deemed "inviolable," and not subject to arbitrary amendment or abolition by state governments. The Corporation as a whole was labeled an "artificial person," possessing both individuality and immortality.

But in spite of all the attention corporations get these days, good and bad, it is still small businesses that employ the greater percentage of people and provide the greater opportunity for personal and professional growth. For my money, the Entrepreuner's Source is the best business consulting organization out there. Give it a try!

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