SMALL-TO-MEDIUM enterprises (SMEs) around the world face a common problem: obtaining a "sliver of equity" to enable them to achieve growth and positive cash flow. While this might not be an imminent problem akin to international terrorism or to nuclear proliferation, the results could be as catastrophic for America's financial interests as the failure to predict the danger posed by Al-Qaeda prior to 9/11 was to our security interests.
Without economic growth, states are unable to cope with a myriad of challenges, from providing employment to funding social services. In the Summer 2004 issue of The National Interest, Adrian Karatnycky highlighted the threat posed by poor economic performance to democratic polities by noting,
Of the world's 88 free and liberal democracies, 38 have a per capita gross national income of $3,500 or less, and 18 have a per capita gross national income of less than $1,500.... Evidence suggests that disillusionment with liberal institutions can set in if poor democracies are mired in economic stagnation.
Transitioning economies have to produce at a growth rate of 10-25 times that of the United States, which starts with a per capita gross national income of $37,800.