I am an entrepreneur who lives in a country that has been a part of Yugoslavia, with socialism as “monetary system”. This country has been independent for more than 20 years and we live in democracy and capitalism, but many people still can’t figure that out.
Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia. We had a war that lasted for 5 years and took many lives. Croatia became independent and we embraced democracy. I’ve never truly lived in socialism (born 4 years before the war) so I can’t tell how was it, but I know inflation was high.
Yugoslavia reached a monthly inflation rate of 313,000,000% and a daily inflation rate of 64.6% according to the Cato Journal. At its worst the bank was printing dinars denominations as high as 500 billion.
After Croatia became independent (and during the war), privatization had to take place. Many companies owned by country became private overnight and people didn’t like that, but couldn’t do anything. People who became owners of those companies lacked managerial experience and thr only reason they got those companies was their close connection with the government (I’m making things simple here, but you get the point). So, the rest of the nation started to hate entrepreneurs and everything related to them.
People in Croatia hate entrepreneurs.
But this is… 2015!
In Croatia (to be honest, I think there is a same situation in every post-socialism country) many people think of entrepreneurs as thieves. No matter how old you are and how much money you have, people will connect you with those “entrepreneurs” they first met some 20 years ago. Add recession (for the last 6 years!) to the mix and you ignite the fire. The fire of hate.
We often hear stories about private interest. Whoever tries to do something and starts a new business, people talk that he has some private interest. Of course he has some interest, he wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t any.
Everyone has some interest.
Entrepreneurs take risks, they invest money, they invest their time and of course they want to get something out of it. Not everyone has to (or even wants to) become a millionaire, but we all want to have a little better life. We do have a private interest, but society around us consider that as something really bad. We read a lot about entrepreneurs in US and we envy them. It looks like they have full support from their society and don’t have to explain their intentions.
Private interest is what keeps the economy moving forward.
What can be done?
We need more good examples. People like Mate Rimac from Rimac automobili (created the world fastest electric supercar), Viktor Marohnic (ShoutEm / Five), Ana Burica & Josipa Majic (TeddyTheGuardian), Sandro Mur & Urska Srsen (BellaBeat) and many others. Then, maybe then, people will see entrepreneurs as “heroes”, because that’s how we see Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and others…
We need to wait and slowly build the trust. We need to show people capitalism is not something bad and entrepreneurs are just normal people who want to move forward and make a change. Of course, there will always be some bad entrepreneurs, but who can say government is good?
What do you think, what can we do to change the public opinion about private interest / entrepreneurship?