What Lessons Hippies Can Teach OWSers

Back in the 60’s, young people protesting the Vietnam War blamed everything on the military industrial complex. A number of protesters moved into the drug culture and lived on the fringes of a changing society. Most, however, woke up from the “blame game;” many founded businesses that made positive changes. Here are some examples:

  • John Mackey, former hippie who is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, and a member of the Job Creators Alliance, a nonprofit organization devoted to preserving free enterprise. His recent article in the Wall Street Journal points out the reason for the U.S.’s success is economic freedom: “property rights, freedom to trade internationally, minimal governmental regulation of business, sound money, relatively low taxes, the rule of law, entrepreneurship, freedom to fail, and voluntary exchange.” He also notes that “Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders, including employees and communities.”
  • Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, which is one of the top business books of all time, was formerly a motorcycle-riding, saxophone-playing, poetry-writing hippie.
  • Sam Carpenter, telecommunications professional, multiple business owner, and author of Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, 3rd edition, was also a hippie.

Carpenter summed up his transformation from hippie to entrepreneur, which can be a lesson for many in the Occupy Wall Street movement:

“No longer will I try to change the world by whining about it….From now on there will be no more complaining, no more blaming. Rather than rejecting the world as it’s presented to me, I will get inside it — as it is — and see what I can do with the parts of it that are within my grasp.”

Sure beats pounding the drums.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!


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