Fairly short one this, because it’s about a bit of ‘research’ that is palpable nonsense. Blame the University of Colorado.

Toxoplasma gondii is a generally benign parasite that is often spread to humans by cats (what else?). Apparently, if you carry it, you’re more likely to be an entrepreneur. Carriers are 1.8 times more likely* to have started their own business. Then it gets really out where the air’s thin. Students carrying Toxoplasma are 1.4 times more likely* to be studying business, and they’re 1.7 times more likely* to specialise in entrepreneurship.

I’m tempted to take these results with a pinch of salt, because we have the old dilemma, ‘Is this a causal effect, or one of those odd associations that crop up all the time?’ And I’m sceptical of any ‘research’ prompted by an increased risk of car accidents, neuroticism, and suicide among carriers. Why this is taken as evidence of being ‘more inclined to take risks,’ and that this inclination tends to foster entrepreneurship is anybody’s guess.

Then the bit where the sums don’t add up. In the UK, infection rates are at about 8.7%, and we have an ‘entrepreneurship rating,’ whatever the hell that is, of 5.5% Now the researchers claim that in the US, where infection rates are about 20%, and that the ‘entrepreneurship rate is nearly 1 in 10, ie 10%.

Stefanie Johnson claims US entrepreneurship in the US is higher than in the UK. But do the sums, and guess what? Just about double the infection rate, as you do, and you just about double the entrepreneurship. If this is cause and effect, that’s exactly what you’d expect. The proportions haven’t changed at all.

Mind you, I’m still not buying the cause/effect thing anyway. There are far too many possible variables.

*The ‘times more’ is a bit dodgy, isn’t it? What does it mean? Don’t work at it too hard, your brain will explode.