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Richard Branson Still Thinks Like An Entrepreneur

Virgin founder and Chairman Richard Branson visited BusinessWeek Wednesday to record an interview with Stacy Perman, based on some questions submitted by readers:

Afterward, Branson joined BW staff for an informal chat. In a first for me as a reporter, Branson blogged about the meeting before I did. You can also read BW’s Steve Hamm’s account here.

Branson still thinks of himself as a David taking on Goliaths. Not many people on the Forbes billionaires list can claim to be the little guy, but Branson could make a case. He echoed a refrain we hear a lot from entrepreneurs: The government shouldn’t be bailing out failing companies. Branson has urged the U.K. not to bail out Virgin Atlantic competitor British Airways, which is in bad enough straits that it just got 7,000 workers to give up their pay for a month.

Would it be in Branson’s interest to see British Airways go under? Sure. But I think his comments also reflect a real entrepreneurial view of the economy, where businesses prosper or fail on their own merits, and the government isn’t in the business of keeping failing companies alive.

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