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Since When Is Failure No Longer An Option?


Capitalism offers chance of success, not a guarantee.


I travel to New York frequently and while I'm there I can't help but think about what made the city what it is today. It's the nostalgia of days gone by that really gets my blood pumping and puts an extra bounce in my step.

While most desire to fly in at night and see the skyline lights, I try to schedule my trip during the day so that I can view the Statue of Liberty standing tall as I make my way toward the airstrip.

When I see her, I can't help but think of the millions of immigrants who traveled the sea in search of freedom and opportunity in the great country of America. I try to catch a subtle dash of what it must felt like to see this symbol of new life after what was often a very long and dangerous trip.

We have all heard the stories of those who first set foot on U.S. soil with nothing more than a few dollars and a dream, parlaying this into a good life after much hard work, determination and a system that offered this opportunity. Some became rich while others merely scraped by, but all seemed to become wealthy in the true sense of the word: Their future was now free to be one of great success or one of equally great failure.

As I recall what it must have been like to be among those starting fresh, I too find it exhilarating when I ponder the opportunity before me in this great land. However, when I see images of protesters in the Bear Stearns (BSC) office, economic stimulus checks being distributed or talks of government subsidizing of mortgages, I wonder what those past immigrants would think of what is taking place today.

While I don't like chaos or calamity, I can't help but wonder if what once made the U.S. great is now starting to deteriorate as we consistently take personal responsibility out of the equation.

Why is it that we now can't let companies fail? Why are we now playing the blame game for the housing bubble? Why must we use a manufactured method to stimulate the economy?

Have we all really become so comfortable in our lives that we'll move more toward a socialist structure just to smooth out ripples resulting from our freedom?

As an entrepreneur, it's the opportunity that drives me, but I must also embrace the potential for failure. In a sense, every American must also embrace these same truths, but it seems we have forgotten the latter and now feel success is a right, not just an opportunity.

Capitalist entrepreneurs will always overcome, but the system must still provide the same opportunity for failure as it does for success. At some point we'll move through these challenging times, but my fear is that we're only prolonging the inevitable by taking it upon ourselves to bear the responsibility of others and lift the burden from decisions they have made.

At some point, do we stop to ask ourselves if this new structure is what the U.S. was founded on? Would it make our ancestors proud?

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