Who’s the real risk taker?
A man worth $10 million who lends $1 million to his son to start a business is not a risk taker; he is an investor. The investor expects a return on his investment, and if his son’s business is unsuccessful the man is still worth $9 million.
A peasant who leaves his home in Mexico to work in the lettuce fields of California is a risk taker. His journey to the United States includes payoffs to corrupt officials, evasion of bandits and the threat of dying of dehydration in the desert. If the peasant crosses his boss by asking for a few more dollars or shelter from the heat, he will get a ticket back to abject poverty in Mexico.
The difference between the investor and the peasant is that the investor has money to purchase influence in the American political system while the peasant has only cheap fresh lettuce to offer Americans and meager wages to send to his family in Mexico.
The next time you hear Mitt Romney or Rep. Paul Ryan mention the “risk takers,” think about what your own definition of a risk taker is.