07/07/2004: Millionaires: Self-made men?
A new report, "I Didn't Do It Alone: Society's Contribution to Individual Wealth and Success," spotlights successful entrepreneurs and concludes that the myth of self-made success is destructive to the social and economic infrastructure that fosters wealth creation. You can download the report in PDF form from the Web site.
While these three seem typical examples of self-made success, they're not. None of them believes they did it on their own. Like others profiled in the report, they attribute their success to many factors, among them public schools and colleges, government investment in research and small business assistance, contributions of employees, and strong legal and financial systems.
- Martin Rothenberg, the son of a housepainter and sales clerk, grew up to become a multimillionaire software entrepreneur.
- Investor Warren Buffett is the world's second-wealthiest person.
- Ben Cohen co-founded Ben & Jerry's with no business background and walked away with $40 million when the company was sold years later.
"How we think about wealth creation is important since policies such as large tax cuts for the wealthy often draw on the myth of the self-made man," says "I Didn't Do It Alone" co-author Chuck Collins. "Taxes are portrayed as onerous, unfair redistribution of privately created wealth--not as reinvestment or giving back to society. Yet, where would many wealthy entrepreneurs be today without taxpayer investment in the Internet, transportation, public education, legal system, the human genome and so on?"
Len on 07.07.04 @ 12:32 PM CST