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As overprotection goes up, entrepreneurship is going down

American entrepreneurship has been declining for decades. The country that gave us Ford, Apple and the Thigh Master has seen new business formation fall by 50% since the late 1970s, according to the Census Bureau.

Economists and business leaders point to any number of possible reasons for this: Excessive regulations, limited access to capital and market concentration. What they don’t usually think about, though, is the most basic factor of all: entrepreneurial psychology. This drive begins as soon as children start to explore the world. But what happens when they don’t?

What happens when, from birth through post-college “adulting” classes, there’s always a well-meaning parent or professional standing right next to them, coaching, teaching, high-fiving, helping them get a leg up – sometimes literally?