Like the local entrepreneurs I know who are passionate about what they do and work long, hard hours in an attempt to bring their dreams to fruition. Some of them may, indeed, be on the path to huge financial rewards and I hope they bring some of their workers with them, but that path is rarely easy and is far from certain.
These are the real job creators, the people who produce goods or services that satisfy the needs of their friends and neighbors. This is the way economies grow and businesses thrive. In current parlance, these are the makers.
While it is also common in current parlance to refer to some among us as takers, that description is too often used for the least fortunate among us, those people who have lost their jobs or their will or capacity to work and must rely on others to provide the basics of human life.
I have a slightly different definition of takers. To me the term describes the people who, rather than producing anything of real value, scheme to find a way to appropriate the rewards of the makers.
Woody Guthrie warned of these takers in his song, Pretty Boy Floyd:
"...as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen."
There are lots of "fountain pen takers" around, luring their prey into their web with promises of convenience and/or quick profits with little effort. The best of these are little more than middlemen (think Ticketmaster), saddling their victims with expensive layers of bureaucracy with little or no net gain.
Consider Wall Street, for example. Perhaps you believe in a company and want to support it. You become an investor. In exchange for your investment, the company pays you an occasional dividend. If the company does well, you do well. You're sharing in the company's success.
Now, add in the services of a stock broker. For a fee, the broker will help you buy, sell, or manage your investments. You're getting the same benefit from your initial investment, but now you're sharing your proceeds with a broker.
Investment in a single company can be risky, though. You could lose everything if the company goes under. What if someone who watches these things closely can virtually eliminate your risk? Lucky you. How about mutual funds, asks your broker? This collection of stocks of dozens of companies across the economic spectrum is paid for by a pool of investors similar to you, people who want to get a good return on their investment but don't want to take chances.
Of course, these mutual funds are complicated and expensive so it takes a special sort of manager to watch over them. This costs money so now you're sharing your money with the mutual fund manager, too. Of course, there are other, more exotic options available to you, too. For a fee, or two.
In a simple nutshell, this is what Wall Street does - it takes the profits from the true makers and distributes them through layer after layer of middlemen, each one taking a cut, before finally delivering what is left to you. Even though the actual profits of the company in the first example may not have changed, now you've got all these extra white-collar mouths to feed.
All this slicing, dicing and re-heating of a single pie falls well short of honest job creation to me. If a person's wealth (or job) is created by glomming onto someone else's without offering something of commensurate value in return, that person qualifies as a taker in my book.