I got an email from a man who did some work for me a few years ago - quite successfully until it became too expensive for the project and he had to go.
He has set up a new business on his own in the Internet field ( which seems to be the only area worth visiting nowadays - I don't see many people setting up machine shops or foundries).
I had a long conversation with him about our own domain business, and we are to meet in a couple of weeks time.
For a period of I had really enjoyed his company, and the intellectual stimulus his persona gave me. Unfortunately, at that time he was working for someone else who insisted on certain criteria, which, when applied to the business he and I were trying to get started, meant there was no point.
Now he's on his own, so I hope the market will decide the price - which varies from business to business.
I would compare this with how Doctors operated before the NHS started in 1947. Richer patients paid more or lots, poorer patients a little or virtually nothing. One of the capitalist lessons the East has learned well is about the marginal cost of production, both in services and in hard goods.
One of the more interesting jobs in his early life was when he worked for Mossad. He was an intelligence officer working in Jerusalem, who spent much of his time trying to persuade his older senior officers not to call in more air strikes. He also wanted the Palestinians to have a proper economy with jobs, which would mean lots of young men would not be hanging around being bored - and deciding to throw a few bombs at Israelis.He eventually got fired for not being hard-line enough ( and helping a Palestinian family), and left Israel shortly thereafter.
But what strikes me about him is that he has had to reinvent his life at least four or five times. His family escaped to South Africa from Zimbabwe when he was young, taking virtually nothing with them. He had to leave South Africa when he turned 18. He left Israel in his late 20s, and has had to change his career direction three times in the UK since. What it has done is make him resilient, open-minded and forward looking.
I was contrasting this with many of the people who remain in one place all their lives, doing the same thing, who turn 60 and then go into a decline. When they stop work, they seem to lose all interest in what's happening around them.
I know my reacquainted friend will never be like that.