Inflicted mobility

June 2, 2020
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We are approaching the half-year post and so much has already happened. Hong Kong is no more and people are fleeing from the Chinese rule. The USA has its own domestic issues to sort out, and the COVID-19 has opened eyes for many to move away from expensive locations such as San Francisco.

White-collar workers are now experiencing what it feels like to move away because of external forces. Entrepreneurs should do that also if they realise that they are been restrained by their local environment.

Matt Ridley’s new book How innovation works illustrate the regulatory capture, the slow death by risk aversion and overregulation in many societies. The innovative individuals are the once that are fighting against windmills for years.

David vs. Goliath battle may sound noble but often it is a misplaced conviction. There’s a dear opportunity cost while you’re fighting against the conservative forces or against the red tape that is supported by the incumbents.

The world is not holding its breath while you’re putting your energy towards the slow change of society. Eventually, you may win but at what cost?

What if you would have just moved into an environment where they embrace or at least tolerate what you’re doing? You could focus your energy, time and resources on building the very thing you’re passionate about and convinced that the world gravely needs.

This is especially true in some peculiar cases where the local market is an anomaly globally but it just happens to be the entrepreneurs local market that is even too small to make any dent to the actual business at scale.

For example, Finland has its rather unique position in the world towards donations. They are heavily regulated and a solicitation is a criminal act. Even the national carrier Finnair stopped offering carbon compensation earlier this year. In another case, the legal environment puts a new initiative entirely into an impasse.

Bengt Holmström mentioned in his talk a few years back that people have their reasons for their actions even though the bystanders may not understand them. A personal situation or emotional attachments may hold you back even though in the long run it may yield diminishing returns, and losses to the society.

How do you see the products and services that could be benefiting us but are never built? A classic Bastiatian dilemma.