Is the cotton wool culture killing our economy?

The education system over the past couple of decades seems to be learning heavily towards sheltering children from all aspects of risk. Unfortunately, as risk is an aspect that occurs in almost every aspect of life – particularly in running a business, this is actively discouraging children from becoming entrepreneurial.

Children are not taught to assess risk; so that they understand it can be avoided, reduced, transferred and/or accepted; they’re simply taught that risk is bad news. Interestingly, the most entrepreneurial kids are often punished and many end up on the wrong side of the law. These are the ones that buck against the system and some go so far as to remove themselves from the system altogether, by becoming runaways.

How much more dynamism would our economy have if we could harness the power of those youngsters who are sufficiently strong-minded to do things their way? When they baulk against the ‘batch’ production techniques employed by our education system, they are treated as misfits and as difficult.

Instead of talking about the benefits culture, why aren’t the government encouraging schools to educate pupils about risk, especially entrepreneurial risk? Why aren’t they finding channels for those independent thinkers to express their entrepreneurial instincts?