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Frank Stronach

Stronach calls for a Revolution of the mind in Austria

by Mark Tuttle

Austrian-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach is continuing his push for a change in society with a talk to 500 of Austria's future managers by addressing students in the Festsaal at the Wirtschafts University in Vienna.

It was standing room only as Stronach started by outlining the three main challenges that he believes the youth of Austria must face if they are to have a brighter future.  The first is the tremendous debt that politicians and the financial community have come to accept as the normal way to do things.  Stronach pointed out that Austria already has national debt of 220 billion Euros, 10 billion Euros is paid just for interests. 

Secondly is the tax system itself, it is so complicated that no one understands it, and it is full of both intended and unintended loopholes.  It should be greatly simplified, “perhaps a flat tax system” he suggests. 

The third major challenge is the bloated bureaucracy of every aspect of business and life in Austria.  Pointing out that this has a “crippling effect on dealing with the dynamic nature of things” these days.  All of these systems have grown way to complex and centralized to be effective.  Magna, as an example uses simple 10 pages contracts, versus the standard 60 or 80 pages contracts that other businesses rely on, and with revenues of over 27 billion USD, only has 30 lawyers employed at its head office, a very respectable example.

Stronach said that if the right people came forward, he was going to support the formation of a political party, and has at the same time widened his approach, to one of enabling the youth to come up with their own solutions.  To stand behind his approach, Stronach has offered to fund any good ideas that are backed by the right team, with a reasonable plan.

Stronach is not identifying these challenges just from a theoretical point, but based on the experiences he has had building his much respected businesses.  He is best known for founding Magna, a group of companies employing over 110,000 employees.  Magna has strong revenue growth, zero debt and is profitable.  He said that “all stake holders must be well taken care of for a business enterprise to work.  Capital, Management and Employees“.  He doesn’t see much need to have governments and unions interfering with this process.  Stronach has been criticized by labor unions as being anti-union.  On the contrary, Stronach takes good care of his employees, without the union being present in the process.   This approach and guidelines can be found in his “Fair Enterprise Pamphlet”.

Addressing the three challenges sufficiently should “eliminate the majority of corruption and interference that impacts both the citizens and businesses in such a negative way in Austria.”

While Stronach spent much time elaborating on the nature of the problems facing Austria, he was remiss in offering up specific solutions for the students to take action on.  He prefers to seed a “Revolution of the Mind” that will lead the students to come up with the solutions that are needed to have a better future in Austria.

More information can be found at http://www.stronachinstitut.at/

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