Introduction

During the crisis years of 1970–1980, public policy shifted decisively towards business creation as a tool for making economic structures more flexible, promoting innovative capacities and ensuring the social and economic integration of individuals. The return of the entrepreneur as a key player in economic revival and growth manifested itself in two ways: one concrete, with public policies to support business creation and new flexibility strategies for organizations and large businesses; the other abstract and symbolic, with the full-scale mediatization of the image of the entrepreneur. The new forms of employability created by the rise of entrepreneurship are related to two seemingly contradictory stances: on the one hand, the individual entrepreneur must feel “self-made” and able to assert himself as a “self-made man”, while being aware of how much he owes to the state, the banks, and the associations that drive and finance him; on the other hand, he must view his economic and social situation in the ideal reality of a “project creator” and a “captain of industry”.

In economic literature, the entrepreneur assumes the fundamental role of opening and renewing markets: he invests, creates jobs and wealth, innovates, and contributes to technical, economic and social progress. Thanks to him, the economy emerges from a state of endemic paucity. The work of the three economists who developed the economic theory of entrepreneurship (Richard Cantillon, Jean-Baptiste Say ...

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