PEOPLE-SELF REALIZATION IN NEW FORMS OF ENTERPRISE
An examination of the role and importance of individuals in enterprise, despite the changing face of business in the 21
In his famous treatise,
The Wealth of Nations
, Adam Smith wrote that “
the propensity totruck, barter, and exchange one thing for another
” is an intrinsic characteristic of humannature. In recent times, this propensity to trade has become the major determinant of thekind of relationship existing between not only peoples, but also nations. New alliancessuch as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the EuropeanUnion (EU) threaten to monopolise the direction of trade among individuals and nations.The recent drama in which the European aeronautic company, Airbus, overtook itsAmerican counterpart, Boeing, after years of manipulations by the EU is proof of the power such alliances now wield over us. Also battling for this position (or perhaps theycomplement each other) are the series of multinational corporations (MNCs) now dottingthe horizon. In future years, these corporations might dictate to us how we sleep, eat anddress. The spectre of these organizations are not false and their impact on nations and people could be disastrous: Nigeria’s crushing debt of about $35 billion dollars to theParis and London clubs and the way it has shaped our national and economic policies is acase in point. Gone are the days of the entrepreneur. Gone are the days when a man couldsingle-handedly decide what to produce and what to trade and barter. We seem to have become mere pawns of these conglomerates and regional powers. At least, this seems to be the prevailing attitude of the times.But is it entirely true, that in the equations of 21
century enterprises, in the age of globalization and free trade, that the human factor is so insignificant? Careful studies of past and recent trends indicate otherwise. Like old times, the world still belongs toindividuals who venture out with the strength of their convictions.In ancient times, commerce was restricted mainly to local markets. What peopleneither grew nor gathered themselves, they obtained through trade. But as human wantsand needs grew, commerce began to traverse the boundaries of local markets. Individualswho needed new markets in which to offer their products, and so escape suffocation by‘mini-cartels’ pioneered this move which soon translated into long distance commerce.