Immigrant entrepreneurs and the American economy
\nThe people in the picture may look like doctors, but they're actually two small business entrepreneurs from Queens making traditional Colombian flatbreads known as arepas. If you've ever spent any amount of time in the outer boroughs of New York City, then you know the city is positively teeming with these small mom-and-pop type stores run by thrifty, hard-working immigrant families. (To a lesser degree, these immigrant-run businesses exist in Manhattan, but it's much harder to do business next to a bunch of chain restaurants and big-box retailers). Anyway, the New York Times shines the spotlight on these immigrant-run businesses, calling them "entrepreneurial spark plugs" for the economy:
As the flow of immigrants to suburban and small-town America\noutpaces the growth of bustling ethnic centers in New York, many\nforeign-born entrepreneurs... are facing an unfamiliar\ncrossroads. In the city, rising rents and density hamper growth, while\nswelling ethnic enclaves in the suburbs generate competitors. Yet in\nother places, opportunity beckons as never before, as immigrants expand\nthe tastes of mainstream America.\n\n
Whether these businesses\nexploit the new chances to break out or succumb to the new perils, the\ncity’s economy will feel the effects. "Immigrants have been the\nentrepreneurial spark plugs of cities from New York to Los Angeles,"\nsaid Jonathan Bowles, the director of the Center for an Urban Future, a\nprivate, nonprofit research organization that has studied the dynamics\nof immigrant businesses that turned decaying neighborhoods into vibrant\ncommercial hubs in recent decades. "These are precious and important\neconomic generators for New York City, and there’s a risk that we might\nlose them over the next decade."
What's amazing is that the city doesn't do more to encourage these businesses. As the article points out, these businesses tend to get caught up with language barriers, bureaucratic nightmares, and credit problems.\n\n
Which sounds a lot like the state of innovation in many companies today. The people doing the innovating on the "edges" of the corporation are needlessly bogged down with bureaucratic nightmares and hoops to jump through. Yet, it is exactly this type of raw innovation that needs to be nurtured, protected and given an outlet to grow.
[image: Immigrant Entrepreneurs]\n
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The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
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