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The Jobs Engine

Carl J. Schramm, author of Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity, introduces a lesson in power and the sources of good jobs from The Coming Jobs War: What Every Leader Must Know about the Future of Job Creation, by Jim Clifton.

Over the past decade, globalization has transformed many aspects of human life, perhaps none so significantly as economic activity. In China, India, the United States, Brazil, and elsewhere, entrepreneurs are among the principal drivers of this transformation, and they are capitalizing on it, too. Today, an entrepreneur in the U.S. can launch a business that is global in scope from the moment of its inception, and entrepreneurs from other countries come to the U.S. to study and start companies, and return home to start still more companies. This “entrepreneurial circulation” benefits everyone. Its full implications, however, have only begun to be understood.

In the excerpt below, Jim Clifton, the chairman of Gallup Inc., identifies what might be the most important consequence of global entrepreneurship: job creation. Without the initiative and energy of entrepreneurs, the job engine sputters. When that happens, Clifton explains, we feel the effects across every sector of society, including education and the military. Thus, entrepreneurial circulation — bringing with it job creation and intensified competition — is the key development shaping our collective economic future.

— Carl J. Schramm


An excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Coming Jobs War: What Every Leader Must Know about the Future of Job Creation


What the whole world wants is a good job.

This is one of the most important discoveries Gallup has ever made. At the very least, it needs to be considered in every policy, every law, and every social initiative. All leaders — policymakers and lawmakers, presidents and prime ministers, parents, judges, priests, pastors, imams, teachers, managers, and CEOs — need to consider it every day in everything they do.

That is as simple and as straightforward an explanation of the data as I can give. Whether you and I were walking down the street in Khartoum, Cairo, Berlin, Lima, Los Angeles, Baghdad, or Istanbul, we would discover that the single most dominant thought on most people’s minds is about having a good job.

Humans used to desire love, money, food, shelter, safety, peace, and freedom more than anything else. The last 30 years have changed us. Now people want to have a good job, and they want their children to have a good job. This changes everything for world leaders. Everything they do — from waging war to building societies — will need to be carried out within the new context of the need for a good job.

The word “good” is important. Some job, any job, isn’t enough. When people talk about a good job, they mean a job that gives them the amount of work they want. Your cousin may pay you for helping out at his roadside food stand, but that’s far from a job in a company that’s officially registered with the government and where you have regular work for 30 hours or more a week.

The desire for a good job is the current will of the world, and whether or not you have a good job defines your relationship with your city, your country, and the whole world around you.

A great question for leaders to ask is: “Why is knowing that the whole world wants a good job everything to me?” The answer is: Leaders of countries and cities must make creating good jobs their No. 1 mission and primary purpose because good jobs are becoming the new currency for all world leaders. Everything leaders do must include this new global state of mind or they’ll put their cities and countries at risk.

• Lawmakers need to know whether new laws — such as taxes, healthcare legislation, and environmental regulations — attract or repel talented entrepreneurs. If enough talented people are repelled, then the new laws will cause brain drain and undermine job creation.

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This Reviewer

  1. Carl J. Schramm is the former president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest private funder of firm formation and growth research, and a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia. His recent books include Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity (with William J. Baumol and Robert E. Litan; Yale University Press, 2007), and The Entrepreneurial Imperative: How America’s Economic Miracle Will Reshape the World (and Change Your Life) (HarperBusiness, 2006).

This Excerpt

  1. The Coming Jobs War: What Every Leader Must Know about the Future of Job Creation (Gallup Press, 2011), by Jim Clifton
  2. Jim Clifton is chairman and CEO of Gallup Inc., a leading research firm that collects public opinion in 150 countries, and creator of the Gallup Path, a metric-based economic model used in more than 500 companies worldwide. He is chairman of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The Coming Jobs War is his first book.


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