[EM] (2): UK 'post mortem', 2nd discussion between Steve and Fred Gohlke

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Tue Jun 30 08:42:40 PDT 2015

Good Morning, Alexander Praetorius

re: Becoming "Self Employed" is as easy as it was NEVER BEFORE.

That's interesting.  I've had four businesses during my lifetime.  I 
guess you could say starting them was not real difficult, but keeping 
them going was a challenge.  I lost that challenge the first two times I 
tried.  The third business was stable enough that I gave it to our 
oldest daughter when the demands of the fourth started to require my 
full attention.  It's still functioning.  I shut the fourth one down 
when I was forced out by one of the executives in my only client (i.e., 
one of my bosses).  Ah, well, by then it was time to retire, anyway 
(although I didn't think so at the time).

These businesses allowed me to maintain my independence, and, with the 
blessing of a wife who handled money much better than I - allowed me 
(us, actually) to provide for and raise a large family.  However, it 
wasn't without its problems.  I suppose I could list the difficulties, 
but that would be boring.

re: While self-reliance is possible as an employee, it's
     totally passive.  You do as you have been told.  You
     execute goals set by employers.

When you have a business, you do what your customers tell you to do.  In 
my business, when a customer told me he wanted a truck to pick up this 
afternoon and deliver Thursday, that's what I had to do,  My goal was 
execute my customer's goals.  I doubt that a restaurant is much 
different.  If a customer wants bacon and eggs, he probably won't accept 

re: You do not judge what you have been told to do, you
     execute and use your skills and knowledge to do so to
     the best of your ability and in return you get paid.

I think that's true - both of employees and small businesses.  There are 
differences between having a small business and working for someone. 
The biggest is the amount of risk you have to accept.  We should note 
that the more people who depend on you for their existence, the more 
difficult it is to put their welfare at risk.

re: With regard to your comments about the difference between
     employees and self-employed people shaping reality:

    "Employees do not participate in shaping the world around
     them based on their values/morals/philosophies/worldview/...


    "Self-Employed ... in the sense of being a small-scale
     entrepreneur amongst many many other entrepreneurs have
     to participate in shaping reality consciously.

These ideas are a bit expansive.  To the extent that I understand them, 
they do not square with my experience.  It's true that I met with many 
other people because of my business; my customers, their employees, my 
competitors and their employees, and a multitude of others ranging from 
waitresses to salesmen.  Our discussions were dominated by the business 
that brought us together.  Philosophy and morality might occasionally 
come up, but only as they affected some incident or aspect of our 
business.  The most common alternate topic was sports,  There was no 
discussion of democracy or politics.

The reason we didn't discuss democracy or politics is because we could 
do nothing about them.  We could not change anything.  Our time was too 
precious to waste discussing things we couldn't change.

While I don't think self-employed people are in any better position to 
influence the development of democracy than anyone else, there is 
extensive work being done, by scholars and others, in the use of 
collaboration to achieve democratic results.  Participedia 
(http://participedia.net), for example, is dedicated to strengthening 
democracy through shared knowledge and contains a multitude of examples 
of work being done around the world, by all kinds of people.

If we are ever to achieve the kind of collaborative discourse you 
envision, the very first and most important feature must be to provide a 
way for the discussions to bear fruit, to change things.  Absent that, 
it will never be anything but talk.

Do you have some experience in making this kind of thing work?  Can you 
explain the specifics?

Fred Gohlke

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