In the late 1990's, best-selling author Daniel H. Pink wrote in his book Free Agent Nation about the flattening of the top-down hierarchy in business organizations. He forecast the now entrenched work style in which business is conducted based on horizontal collaborations with other businesses. Last week on the History Channel, they ran a program about the changing face of cities, where the high rise office building will seem like a joke to a generation of workers who think it's not necessary for all of a company's workers to be in the same place at the same time.
As more and more people start small businesses in their homes, public policy can no longer be about business versus private citizen. These two components are no longer mutually exclusive. Even full-time factory workers can own a rental property or run an online hat resale business in their off hours. As a result, the same policies and laws that affect corporate giants like Microsoft and Bank of America also affect the stay at home mom who develops databases and the private investor. S-corporations are IRS-backed proof that private citizens can be businesses, too.
I urge all of you to be aware of what's happening with laws and policies that are in place in your community. With any local or national news item that catches your eye, ask yourself:
- How does this affect me as a parent/student/spouse/employee/homeowner/renter/private citizen?
- How does this affect me as a person with business interests such as rental property, business ventures, investments, or 401k contributions?
- How does this affect the businesses around me and their ability to provide goods, services, and jobs to our community?
How are your public policies affecting you?