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Editor's Letter: Northern Exposure

Exploring the link between entrepreneurship and high taxes

Staff

Jane Berentson, Editor of Inc. magazine

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One of the most satisfying aspects of working at a magazine is being able to ask a questıon, then spend time fınding the answer (or at least an answer). That's our actual work. The goal is to ask questions that have relevance to our readers, and to answer those questions through the tools of journalism: good reporting, sound reasoning, and engaging storytelling.

For the past several months, the journalists here at Inc. have been wondering about the relationship between taxes and entrepreneurship. One argument, much covered in the press, is that the taxes levied on small businesses are way too high; in fact, that at current levels, taxes are helping kill small business and the entrepreneurial spirit of America. This point of view has become so widespread that it made us stop and question the basic assumption: Is there actually a relationship between entrepreneurship and tax levels?

We decided to explore this question by looking at entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in the famously high-tax nation of Norway. Norway doesn't get a lot of attention in American publications, except, perhaps, when the Nobel Committee releases the name of its Peace Prize recipient. Norway's just up there near the Arctic Circle, pretty much not bothering a soul, its citizens going about their business, quaffing aquavit, and paying taxes. We bought senior writer Max Chafkin a cheap plane ticket and sent him to the land of the midnight sun. He came back with a story that we've titled "Ja, Socialism."

Max's feature on Norwegian entrepreneurs is the first in a series of articles that will look at how government policy and culture affect entrepreneurship in countries around the world. As American companies expand overseas and foreign companies enter the American market in ever increasing numbers, we at Inc. think it's important, and relevant to our readers, to have an understanding of where entrepreneurs are coming from—to get to know their different experiences and to think about their different points of view. We hope you agree.

Jane Berentson janeb@inc.com

Last updated: Feb 1, 2011




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