We live in ludicrous times of rewarding good appearance for evil action. President Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while his war efforts intensify. But those who are true promoters of peace need attention, for they will never likely receive such ostentatious recognition for their noble efforts. Such individuals are those who take risks in a world of uncertainty, and who save or borrow capital to start a business. Such entrepreneurs promote peace by serving the customer better than the next entrepreneur through voluntary transactions in the market, rather than commanding bureaucracy in government.
As part of my entrepreneurship courses, I have students who want to start their own business listen to new entrepreneurs discuss their background, their reasons for starting the business, and of their effort to establish the business. Students usually find these speakers fascinating and inspiring, but also come away with a sense of the enormous amount of effort, capital, risk, and uncertainty that is involved in starting a business. Many of these students decide they no longer want to start their own business. They realize that entrepreneurs, too, have a boss: the customer. Mises put it this way: “Ownership of the means of production is not a privilege, but a social liability.”