What´s the central crisis/drama of our time? Bankrupt public sectors, the world over. State and municipal governments just overextended themselves, spent too much, borrowed too much, wasted too much. The impact of this was not neutral. An unaffordably overextended public sector has in the end implications for everyone: cut backs on promised services, higher tax rates, unpaid bills, financial contagion, tons of workers who may not be employable anywhere else, and overall social malaise.
While it´s hard to deny the need for a public sector, it´s equally hard not to fear the consequences of a wastefully bloated one. From Athens to California, from Lisbon to Buenos Aires the tale is the same: unmeetably huge public debt burdens, dragging down the place.
The importance of a healthy, wealth-creating private sector has thus never been more critical. And at the end of the day, taxes and debt backed by the prospect of taxes pay for state and municipal budgets. It´s as simple as this: if you want to afford a large public sector, and if you don´t want to have to make use of tools that may lead to Zimbabwean inflation, you need a healthy private sector.
Yet, so many young people want to avoid the private sector like the pest. The last poll I read said that up to 2/3s of Spaniard university students wanted a public sector job, perhaps assuming that someone somewhere will always find money to pay them.
Enter b-school students. MBAs, MSc, and the like. Here we have a group of youngsters from many different countries who have all (ok, almost all) voluntarily and eagerly decided to make the private sector their professional life. Heck, they are even borrowing a lot of to make that dream come true. Far from avoiding the private and seeking the public, they are willing to borrow up to 100-200k to guarantee a private sector existence. They are voluntarily and eagerly (fanatically, even) willing to be the ones funding the public sector, rather than be the ones being funded. Many are not even satisfied with joining an established private sector firm, they need to entrepreneurially create a new one from scratch.
B-schools are thus wonderful oasis in what can be a pretty deserted landscape. We need these MBAs and MSc to succeed. We need them to keep existing private sector firms afloat and prosperous and to invent new ones out of nothing (with the new jobs and wealth that that entails). Public sector staff should be cheering them on, as an innovative and growing economy can do wonders for tax collection.
MBAs and MSc should every morning look at themselves in the mirror and applaud themselves, congratulate themselves. Every morning. For they are among the courageous ones willing to go out there to preserve, create, and invent the wealth that keeps us all going.