Got 80 million jobs?

The UN says poor countries need to Unleash Entrepreneurship; the Kauffman Foundation calls for entrepreneurs globally to Unleash Ideas. For the Middle East and North Africa, unleashing entrepreneurs is necessary to create the 80 million jobs the region needs over the next decade. Published in 2007, Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity details what – and in many cases who – keeps entrepreneurs on a leash in the Middle East and elsewhere. Tomorrow at 12pm EST, CIPE will launch the Arabic translation of the book in Cairo, Egypt. Audiences around the world can watch the event live via webcast.

As summarized in the video above by co-author Robert Litan, Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism outlines four “types” of capitalism. Rarely does a single economy fit neatly under one category; rather like flavors on a dish one type can dominate the others.

When oligarchs dominate, they keep entrepreneurs from building new industries that might threaten their hold on power. When state-guidance dominates, bureaucrats can import ideas to jump-start development but aren’t equipped to develop new ideas. When big firms dominate, innovation becomes routinized and incremental rather than radical and transformational. The oil-rich countries of the Middle East and North Africa have long been more or less oligarchic thanks to revenues from oil and the patronage they support.

When entrepreneurs have a strong presence, they help break down oligarchies through creative destruction from new industries, generate new ideas to sustain development, and, in tandem with the dispersive commercial capacity of big firms, they radically transform every day lives for the better.

The Middle East and North Africa needs entrepreneurs particularly to create the new firms and industries that will create 80 million jobs over the next decade, but it doesn’t exactly need more entrepreneurs–it has plenty. With the translation of Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism into Arabic, those tasked with unleashing them now have a tremendous tool to spark ideas and discussion on how to make that happen.

Editor’s note: the original version of this post mistakenly cited 18 million jobs needed in the Middle East and North Africa in the next decade. That number refers only to the six oil-importing countries in the region.

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